Let’s be clear, I am not a heathen, atheist, or agnostic, or any other “negative” name that you can think of, I just didn’t go to church today. Many people had a good excuse not to go to church today. We all want to go to heaven, but it would stink to stand before God and say, “Oh, hi God, I died because the roads were really icy on the way to church this morning. At least I was doing what you want me to do.” … But is that what God wants? Does God want us to go to church, come rain, snow, or sleet, and then just come home as if no one had died in order to give us life?
Church is great, along with the fellowship and worship that comes with it, but how many times have we heard of the “Sunday-Christian?” Now, there’s a “negative” connotation for you. Whereas heathens and atheists don’t even know about God, or have chosen to reject Him, Sunday-Christians know God, seek Him on Sundays, and live for themselves every other day of the week; professing to serve Christ with their mouths, yet rejecting Him within their hearts. If a Sunday-Christian were to die today and the story of their church attendance was told at their memorial, probably half the people in the room would be shocked to know that that individual attended church or even thought seriously about any religion.
The lesson to learn from this sad tale is not that church is useless, but that church in itself has no power to save; that is Christ’s job. But too often, people get so hung up on church attendance being attached to faith that they forget how the church does not meet only on Sundays and it cannot be defined by any building. Being a part of the body of Christ (the Church) is a day-by-day, dying-to-self-and-living-for-Christ journey. No one sermon can carry you through a week of the world and one time of fellowship with other Christ-followers per week is not enough to encourage us when we are surrounded day after day by those who are in desperate need of the light of Christ.
Each day, we need to have a little church service of our own: diving into the word, committing ourselves to prayer, and praising God for what He has done (and this does not all have to be done at once). Interspersed throughout every day, we can have church services with God, fellow believers, and with those who don’t know Christ. We don’t have to invite unbelievers to church or a Christian event in order for them to hear the Gospel, we possess mouths that are perfect for sharing the Gospel. “And Moses said unto the LORD, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent… but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.’ And the LORD said unto him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you will say’” (Exodus 4:10-12). A lot of Christ-followers can make the same arguments as Moses, but seriously, what is the point in arguing with God? You have been called to share the Gospel and you have been placed exactly where God wants you, so speak up, live according to God’s Word, and don’t “live” and “speak” only on Sundays.
There are a lot of denominations that say, “Our doors are open.” Though the doors on the building may be open, unless the lost walking through those doors are encouraged to open the door of their hearts to Christ, then the doors of that denomination might as well be bolted shut. Every follower of Christ and every unbeliever needs the exact same thing; for Christ to be present and moving in their lives day by day, not just on Sundays. Instead of inviting an unbeliever to come to church with you, talk to them about Jesus, and if they want to know more, then maybe invite them to a Bible study, and then tell them more about Jesus. Show the world that a true Christian is a light whether it’s Sunday or not. And show the world that, even though we have all fallen short of the glory of God and not a single person is perfect, yet God in His grace chose to look upon us and set us free from the chains of sin and death. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
For those of you who read this and feel like you are a Sunday-Christian or maybe you a follower of Christ without consistent fellowship with other believers, I want to encourage you that you need Christ every day. Dive into God’s Word and answer the calling that He has placed upon your life. Go to church on Sundays, and make Christian friends whom you can encourage, and be encouraged by, throughout the week. And don’t be burdened by the motions of faith, but take rest in the strength that comes through faith.
No one is perfect and everyone needs a Savior, but those of us who already know Christ and have committed our lives to Him need to go out into the world and show the lost that they can be redeemed… We don’t need to go straight back into our earthly chains to show the world that we can “relate” or know exactly what they are going through. We serve a God who can “relate,” who was tempted just as they were, yet chose to resist the temptation in order to give life to every single one of His creation. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Whether you are a Sunday-Christian, a Christian who never and/or rarely attends church, or an unbeliever, I want you to read these Words and let them sink in (I write to remind myself as much as anyone else reading):
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:3-8
Each of us sometimes feels defined by mistakes. Some of you may even feel that you have to get your life together before you can come to Christ, but we ALL need Jesus. There is no “waiting” for the perfect time, now is the perfect time; today – not tomorrow, not Easter, Christmas, or after you graduate – today. And if you have committed your life to Christ, then truly commit your life to Christ. Allow Him to cleanse you day by day, to renew you and give you strength. God wants you to be holy and set apart, not because it is less fun, but because it is the greatest and fullest life that you can possibly have.
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He will reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I AM meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Commit your way unto the LORD. Trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass, and He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” Psalm 37:5-7a
I didn’t go to a church today, but I “went to Church!”
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