Volume. XXXVII, No. 8
Sunday, 21 August 2022

Sanctuary Sins

Thank God for the privilege of coming back to the house of God to worship the Lord in person after a season due to the pandemic. Every sabbath worship service in the house of God is a great honour for the redeemed of God. But sadly, this sacred privilege can be abused by some believers as many may have taken this for granted. The following is a brief catalogue of some of the sins peculiar to believers in the attendance at God’s house. It is a time for reflection to see if we are guilty of any of these sins.

  1. Irregular Attendance at Church Service

Occasional absence from church is counted a small thing by some. A raining Sabbath, or waking late, will keep them away from seeking God. A headache, a little extra fatigue due to the late night on Saturday, or perhaps the prospect of hard work on Monday are counted good reasons for absence by many. Some will prefer to work overtime; others will miss attending church conveniently at the slightest excuse. Some will come on one Sunday and disappear the next Sunday and sabbath worship is not important to them at all. Do we really keep the fourth commandment and honour God in holy corporate worship and observe the sacraments, or do we break it frequently to our own detriment? Honour God first and God will honour us, and the opposite is also true.

  1. Habitual Late Attendance at Church Service

There are some people who have no qualms with being habitually late in church worship. They will be on time for work, school and camp but they plan to get up late on Sabbath morning because of a late night. They hurry out, and they hurry along and they hurry into church after the service has begun with no regard for God. They see no wrong in losing part of divine worship of God, nor in disturbing the worship of others. When you have a sacred audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords, is this how we treat the Creator of the world and then Redeemer of our souls? Let us honour and revere God, and wait before Him in meditation and prayer, and not rush into His holy presence every Lord’s Day. 

There were some who use the excuse of Eutychus falling asleep, for “Paul was long preaching,” and it was midnight and therefore it is ok. But there is no excuse for our modern dreamers, especially as some are obsessed with their phones during the service, who seem not to feel the shame or the sin of the practice. Few things are more dishonourable to God that the inattention of the worshippers to the word of God or prayer. Beware, it is Satan who is rocking you to slumber or indifference. And those who make a profession of religion ought to guard themselves against this sinful habit. Wandering thoughts and daydreaming are signs of backsliding or spiritual insensitivity to the sacred and eternal things of God.


  1. Restlessness during Worship

Some people seem to be seated but are not concentrating, their body is here but their soul is not there. They do not sing the hymns or read the scripture aloud during responsive reading as we are all masked and hence cannot be seen. Others seem as if taking the census of the congregation or counting the number of chairs in the sanctuary. They are distracted and do not focus on the sermon, and benefit little from the Word of God preached even though they are physically in the church.

Pray for full and consecrated heart and a disciplined mind to concentrate and pay attention to the message and the hymns and as the minister preaches the Word.

  1. Talking during Worship

One of the most distracting and irreverential acts during worship is talking (or checking your mobile phone and some will even entertain a phone call) during the service. It is an act of indifference and disrespect to God and the Word that is preached. It is a nonchalant attitude that takes no interest in the Word of God and reverential worship and is a sign of immaturity and disrespect for God. Beware and pray that you and your children do not fall into this category.

  1. Worldly Thoughts during Worship

Some worshippers’ minds are occupied with worldly thoughts other than with worship. Many sums are added up, and much mental arithmetic is practised in church; not the heavenly arithmetic of “number[ing] our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom,” (Psa 90:12) but the arithmetic of common business. Are we preoccupied with the previous night’s movie, TV, video or Facebook, Tik Tok to or Instagram, Netflix, Internet games? Do you think of work, business, clients’ requests, stocks and shares, studies, co-curricular activities, friends, your pets or holiday or the children and other secular cares during worship? Beware, lest our worship be unprofitable for our soul.

We need to have a spiritual audit or post-mortem of our lives before God. Let us take every Sabbath worship seriously and truly worship God in the beauty of holiness. Do not absent yourself on the Lord’s Day and strive to be early and prepare your hearts to meet your God and be a good listener of the Word and a good witness or testimony to others. Pray to God to help you to be attentive and receptive during the whole service and be blessed by the Spirit of God. “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools” (Eccl 5:1). On which passage Matthew Henry weightly says, “Religious exercises are not vain things; but if we mismanage them, they become vain to us.”

Rev Jack Sin

(Expanded and Modified from Australian Beacon, December 1998)

More Lively Hope



  • Service Roster Oct-Dec 2022: Please submit your availability by 1 Sept to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Holiday Bible Club registration forms (for ages 3+) now available online. http://com/hbcreg22/ (10-14 Oct 22, Theme: Jerusalem Marketplace). Invitations are in the Foyer. Please invite your friends.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Ordination of Session & Installation of Elder
  • Journey mercies: those who have travelled.
  • Those who have recovered from COVID.



  • Missions: Sis Esther Kim & orphanage (Bandung).
  • Healing: Rev Pong Sen Yiew & those with COVID.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041