The Message

Benediction

Benediction

If a person leaves church before the benediction, will the blessing still be received or lost?

Church benediction is a word of blessing using the Scriptures.  

Most, if not all, liturgical (evangelical) churches conclude the service with a benediction (words of blessing) from Scripture and some with prayers. This tradition has its roots in Old Testament law (Numbers 6:22–27, Psalm 119:1, Exodus 3, Psalm 23, and much more) and benedictions in the New Testament of grace. (1 Corinthians 12, Luke 4, Colossians 3, 2 Corinthians 13:11–14, Philippians 4 13, Ephesians 2 10, Galatians 6:9, Ephesians 5 and much more).

Into the darkness, out for the light, we are spirit lifted, cleaned, and sanctified from the sin of the First man and brought to light by the last man- the first will be the last, and the last will be the first, the Son of God, Redeemer, and Savior of the world as He said in John 10- “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” Many are preaching that the Father sent the Son to die to save the world, which is inaccurate. They are taking the credit out of the Son. It is up to Jesus what he wants to do, and he exercised his free will according to John 3:17—”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus had an opportunity to live but sacrificed his life to save the world.

With our hearts full of grace and our eyes open, that is the truth! Let us receive God’s love and care and share that love and care with others! Let us be a blessing to others. Ephesians 3:20-21 – (a benediction of God’s glory) Now to him who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Bible is the book of prayer, God’s inspiring and motivational word of God. Hearing the benediction at the end of the liturgical (public Worship) service makes you feel uplifted and complete. (1 Corinthians 16:23–24). The Catholic Mass is the service in which the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is celebrated. Lutherans retained and utilized much of the Roman Catholic mass since the early modifications by Martin Luther. Protestant traditions vary in their liturgies or “orders of worship.”

The idea behind a benediction at the close of a church service is that God bless His people through the gospel minister with his spoken word. The benediction is an authoritative pronouncement of God’s intention to bless those in attendance. Churches that include a formal benediction in their liturgy usually consider it a “means of grace”; God’s grace is channeled through the minister to reach the hearers in the pews.

In some churches, the parishioners raise their heads and look up to heaven during the benediction; in others, they bow their heads. Some churches specify that the minister’s hands must be raised while giving the benediction. Those attending liturgical churches developed the impression that missing the benediction is missing God’s blessing.

The issue is that the ritual of giving a benediction nowhere is commanded in the Bible. However, the words of blessing are all over the Bible, and nowhere give instructions concerning the position of a minister’s hands or the direction of one’s eyes. The Bible never says that receiving God’s grace is a matter of being in a specific place at a particular time and hearing certain words. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with reciting a benediction at the close of a service. Reading and hearing Scripture is always a part of our lives as Christians in good standing. The only point we want to express to the faithful is to be blessed with peace of mind that the Bible does not require benediction at the close of church service, so there is nothing to worry about if you miss the word of blessing; no sin is involved.

The apostles and followers gathered daily in unity without formal service or methods to follow. It is a simple devotional gathering of the faithful. This is how their activity runs: To hear the teachings of the apostles regularly, To maintain strong brotherhood/sisterhood ties among each other, enjoy the power of fellowshipping, the prayer of agreement to form unity and observe the communion of the Saints (the body and blood of Jesus Christ). They gather Day by Day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread at home. They took their food with gladness and singleness of heart. (Acts 2:46).

As years go by, the Bible never mentions how the church will do the service, allowing various denominations to do their way of doing church service. This gives more space for various denominations to practice the service to their liking in a way that will interest the group members. As centuries have passed, tradition has been developed, and almost all sections of Christianity giving of benediction become part of the service.

If people leave church before the benediction, do they lose a blessing? It might depend on the reason for leaving. Is the person leaving because of a hard heart and a refusal to hear God’s Word from a less favored preacher? There is no blessing in that, and of course, if the person leaves because they have to go somewhere? God is gracious in such matters and knows the truth, so it will not hinder the blessing because of leaving before the benediction. We are not required to tell the whole reason to fellow human beings why we are leaving early. Do not show up and explain to God to get peace of mind. Anyway, He knows reason, but it will please Him if we let Him know.  

The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17), and with our obedience to believe in the Son, as we are told in John 3:16, we are justified by faith, and grace is upon us through Jesus Christ John 1:17. Salvation is part of grace. Since Salvation is a gift from God, so is grace, a gift we do not even deserve. We are a Living stone built into a spiritual house; we are the priesthood in this chosen generation (1 Peter 2:5) and do not require a fellow priest to give us the grace of God. We have direct communication with the Father our God, Our Yahweh.

The traditional church has been defiled for centuries because of preaching a twisted truth; preachers are not doers of what they preach, and most of all, many submit their souls to the temptation of money. The Holy Book has been perverted because of the influence of influential organizations. All these acceptable reasons not to attend the gatherings in the traditional church are well founded, and it is evident that the kingdom of God is within us, called the temple of God of yesteryears and the church during the age of the apostles (Body of Christ). The kingdom of God is now directly entrusted to us, and we must keep it holy and unshaken because we have direct responsibility, accountability, and stability to make it to the final phase of sanctification. We have to devote our hearts and our minds to seeking after God, and He will not let us fail. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15 KJV).

Anyone can sit through many vital seats in the church, attend many services, and receive as many benedictions as they can get and yet have a prideful heart and arrogant mind the truth of God’s word is not in them. Showing up at church services, singing a loud song, praising God, giving tithes with money in his hand, waving to attract attention as great as his arms can reach, all the acts mean nothing. They only drain the energy of their souls and get nothing from the spirit and the souls around them that get distracted.

All the efforts are down the drain, and all their acts are ignored, and the noise they generate is like a resounding gong, like a tin metal vibrating in your ears. The body of believers is not there to play church but to be enlightened and to be blessed by words of God. “The seed that falls on the hard ground is snatched away” (Matthew 13:4).

To leave a church service early and miss the benediction does not mean God will not bless you. Anyone with a soft and contrite heart is open to God’s truth. As such, one will be blessed. God knows our hearts. “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 He looks at it because the heart speaks to our conscience, and our conscience will testify the truth when the time comes.

God is our all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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