This is the final post in this mini-series. I have attempted to briefly summarize some of the main points in response to this question. As most of you know, this series could go on and on. However, I simply wanted to share a few things to get us thinking about the importance of the church in our own lives.
So far we have talked about the time we would save (and then waste) if we didn’t “go to church.” We discussed depression, referring to how easy it would be to fall in to a cycle of severe depression if we lived without the hope and encouragement that can be brought to us by the Lord’s Church. Finally, this day I want us to look at the most important item of all.
Q: Where would I be without the church? A: I would be lost eternally.
“Yes to Jesus, no to the church.”
“I believe in God, but I don’t need some preacher telling me what to do.”
“I used to go to church all the time, but I just can’t stand being around those people.”
“I read my Bible, and I pray, I don’t have to go to a church building to go to heaven.”
All of these statements, and many more like them have been spoken to my face by friends, family, and acquaintances. These words break my heart. I do not type those words lightly. I have spent many hours in prayer and in tears because these words have haunted me. They haunt me because they remind me that Satan is still active (1 Peter 5:8), and he is still gaining a foothold in the hearts of people that I dearly love.
In each of the above statements that people make as reasons for not attending the services of the church, they all have one common theme. They assume that they get to play by their own set of rules.
My children are at a fun age. They love to play games. However, they don’t always follow the rules. When playing hide and seek, they rarely are willing to seek, they just want to hide. When playing “Go fish” they don’t like giving up their cards, they enjoy taking yours. When we race outside, they win the race every single time, even if they have barely moved when someone else crosses the finish line. Granted, my children are 2 and 3 years old. They have a lot of learning to do.
However, their ignorance to the way that games are played does not automatically change the rules just because they do not like or do not understand them.
My dear friends, when we speak about The Lord, The Bible, and The Church, we are not speaking about a game. We are speaking about the most important issues that have ever been discussed. We do not have the authority to change “the rules” because we do not like them.
Some say: “Yes to Jesus, no to the church.”
The Bible tells us that the church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33.) We cannot have Jesus without having His bride.
Some say; “Jesus saves you, the church doesn’t”
The Bible tells us (Acts 2:47) that those who are saved are added to the church. In other words, if you are not in the church, you are not saved.
Some say: “I don’t want to be around those hypocrites”
The Bible commands us (Hebrews 10:24) to stir one another up to do good works. If we see someone who has an attitude that is damaging the church, it is our responsibility to try to help them get back on the right path, rather than just stay away from them. For more on the “hypocrites” argument, I would encourage you to read this.
Some say: “I don’t have time to go to church 3 times a week.”
The Bible reminds us (Acts 16:5, Acts 17:11) that the early church was together daily. They were preaching, studying, and growing.
Some say: “I don’t need to go to church all the time, I will go sometimes”
The Bible urges Christians (Hebrews 10:25) to “not neglect” meeting together.
Some say: “I used to go to church all of the time, God won’t punish me for taking a break.”
The Bible says (Revelation 2:10) that the people who will be in heaven are the people who are faithful until they die.
Some say: “I can read my Bible, I can pray at home, I can do good things, which will make up for my absence from the church.”
The Bible reminds us (Acts 20:28) that Jesus died in order to purchase the church with His blood. Did you catch that? Jesus gave His blood, His life, to purchase the church. The very thing that many try to run away from.
Please do not misinterpret what I am writing. I am not submitting to you or anyone that attendance in a church building earns your spot in heaven. It does not, nothing will.
What church attendance does, is it shows a level of commitment on your part to the Lord. It shows commitment on your part to the body of people that he purchased with His blood. It shoes commitment on your part to the group that He adds you to when you are Biblically saved.
If The Lord adds me to the church when I am saved, demands my obedience, reminds that those who are faithful until they die will be in heaven… How can I convince myself that those items do not affect me? I cannot. They do, they affect you as well.
A preacher friend once told me, “Asking someone to study the Bible with you will not guarantee success. However, not asking someone to study the Bible will guarantee failure.”
In the very same way, simply attending the service of the church will not guarantee salvation. However disobeying God’s commandments will guarantee being lost eternally (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
It is my humble prayer that this mini series is encouraging, refreshing, and challenging to you. I pray that each of us will remember how important the Lord’s church is. It is not from man, it is from God, and should be honored as such. feel free to leave your comments/additions, and share this post with others.