“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3)
In such a complex, busy and fast-paced world we have today, it is refreshing to have a few things that are simple. One of the most important things to keep simple is the church and the worship of God. The apostle Paul was very concerned about the Corinthian church getting beguiled and corrupted by Satan to complicate the “simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Thankfully, God keeps things simple in a world that is increasingly complicated and constantly fluctuating.
God has simple truths of his character that we can rely on. In a world where it seems that everything changes at a breakneck pace, it is a great comfort to trust in a God that “cannot change” (Mal. 3:6). Jesus Christ does not change with the times or culture, but Christ is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). With the media influence today from all directions, we many times wonder who is really telling the truth and what sources can be fully trusted. In the midst of possible confusion and deception at any hand, it gives great peace to trust in a God that “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). If we encounter confusion from the noise and complexity, we can rest assured that is not from the Lord. God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).
God knew that in the midst of a complex world his people needed simplicity. Satan makes things complicated, but Christ is simple. Satan is always attempting to corrupt the simple ways of the Lord with complexity and confusion. God set up his original church in such a simple way. Salvation is simple. We are saved to heaven by grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9). What action of man is necessary to go to heaven? Is it a prayer, belief, faith, confession, baptism, a good enough life? It can be complicated to know which of those “works” is really the one that gains us eternal life. However, the Lord makes things simple in the salvation of sinners. We are not saved by any work we perform, but we are saved to heaven by God’s grace alone (2 Tim. 1:9, Titus 3:5). Jesus Christ finished the work of eternal salvation alone on the cross (John 19:30). That’s simple.
God made his church simple for his sheep. The New Testament pattern for worship is simple. We find in the New Testament the original church had three simple components of worship: singing, praying, and preaching. Singing is simple. We ought to sing with our voices unto God (Col. 3:16). What instruments or additions to singing are acceptable to use in worship – piano, organ, guitar, drums, etc.? Well, the New Testament scriptures make it simple. We are commanded to sing with our voices to God with no mention of other additions to singing (Eph. 5:19). Praying is simple. Do you have to go and find the right person or a priest to be able to pray for you? No, we have the right and ability to simply pray directly to God in public worship and in private devotion. Preaching is simple. While we teach the whole counsel of God, ultimately the message of preaching is simple. The ministry is called to preach the simple message of “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
God ordained worship in the New Testament for the entire family to worship together. What room is each person supposed to be in again? Segregation in worship can be complicated and confusing. Children to the left, pre-teens to the right, young adults in another room, and seniors in another building. “Oh wait, I think I might have accidentally gone the wrong way, and I might be in the wrong room.” Sounds complicated. God ordained worship that the whole family sits down to worship together in the same room and hears the same preaching and teaching. That’s simple.
God ordained for church government to be simple. Who is it that needs to approve this decision by our church? Does this go to the regional director or state director, or is this a big enough decision that it needs to be approved by the national organization? Actually, no higher levels of approval are necessary for a local church to make a decision. God ordained the authority and structure of his church very simply. The local church governs its own affairs. There is no higher church authority than the local church body and congregation. Each local church body submits directly to the headship of Jesus Christ. There is certainly no higher level of authority or approval than Jesus Christ.
While some might disparage it, I believe it’s a great blessing to just simply live a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:4). God’s church is simple. The gospel is simple. Worship is simple. Church government is simple. God knew we needed simplicity. You may know that sheep are not very intelligent creatures. God consistently describes his people as sheep for a reason – we are not the best at making highly complicated decision making. We mess up a lot. Therefore, to protect his vulnerable sheep from Satan, the Lord thankfully made things simple for us. What a blessing to just live the “simple life” that God has ordained for his people.