In our Baptist church most Sundays people don’t go to the altar. I usually do to pray for myself, the church, lost souls and sick people. I am planning on doing another sermon in Oct on “The Church-The body of Christ”. In that sermon I want to bring up the importance of coming to the altar. Yes, I know that salvation, repentance, and prayer can come from anywhere, including when they are sitting in the pews, but there is nothing like the power of going to the altar. I would like to express this, but honestly can think of anyway of doing it. Most “Altar” referals go back to the Old Testament and Law. Any ideas? Anologies?
It does everyone good to see people go to the altar when the Lord has touched their hearts about a matter. I do believe that it is a New Testament principle that can be taught, for several reasons.
First, God wants people who make a decision for salvation to make it public to other people. Romans 10:9-11 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Salvation is a decision that is made in the heart, but is to then be made known via the mouth. God wants us to then tell other people.
When God does something special in our lives, He also wants us to let other people know about it, so that God will be glorified for it. Take the woman with the issue of blood for an example. Mark 5:25-34 says, “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
That woman was just going to come up behind Jesus, get healed, and then melt away into the crowd. But if she was allowed to get away with that, then many people would not know what had happened, and God would not have received the glory that was due. So Jesus stopped everything to make the matter known publicly.
It is no secret that when we humble ourselves before God, and let others know about it, that their hearts are also convicted. Romans 14:7 says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” If we sit in our pew and resist the Holy Spirit, then it will encourage others to do the same. But if we humble ourselves and go forward, then others will be convicted that they should also repent of their sin and do the same. Whatever we do has an impact upon others.
Once you get some people with tender hearts to see this truth and begin to practice it, then others will follow when their hearts are touched by a message from God’s Word.