Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Church...? Part 2

Why go to church?

I've heard a million excuses...many of them I used to make myself.

"You don't need some building to believe in God. I have God in my heart and that's what's really important."

"Churches are just full of a bunch of hypocrites that come to Church on Sunday just to look good and then go out and do whatever they want."

"All Churches want is your money."


But no matter what excuse you use to not go to Church...Church is a vital part of your relationship with God.

But why!!?

The Bible tells us why in several places. If we are willing to follow only the parts of the Bible that we like...then are we really following God? When we start picking and choosing what we want the Bible to say then we are creating our own god...and I'm pretty sure that's bad...just ask the Israelites who worshipped the Golden Calf.

Here are some verses that clearly show the importance of Church:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

God made ten commandments (PS- One of those commandments were about not worshipping self-made gods). And Jesus tells us which one is the greatest of all of the commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."Matthew 22:36-40

... so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. 1 Corinthians 12:14-23

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder ... Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:1-4

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

So there are just a few verses that I hope help outline my point.

The Body of Christ isn't a building. God's Church isn't made of mortar and iron beams.

It's people. The Body of Christ is the people of Christ.

So it's not the church pew that you sit in that makes you a Christian. 'Cause it's made of wood and doesn't have any magical God powers that give you an automatic ticket to heaven.

Church is about worshipping God, praising Him for all He has done for us, and fellowshipping with eachother...supporting eachother...growing stronger in God TOGETHER!

The Human body only works as well as it's parts. If you don't have legs, you can't walk on them. If you don't have eyes, you can't see. It is the same with the Body of Christ. The closer we are to eachother, the more we can move more fluidly towards God and His purpose. We use our unique spiritual gifts together...as a body...and support eachother and just as importantly...support people outside of the church. It also gives us the opportunity to Love eachother as we love ourselves just like God commanded us to do.

And if none of the above convinces you...then how about the fact that Jesus went to church. Luke 4:16 says, "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom." If Jesus is who you say you Love and you want to follow Him and His ways...then why not go and meet with other believers just like He did?

I think the reason why there is an issue with church attendance at all is because there are A LOT of dead churches in the world right now. Churches aren't able to keep people coming because the Spirit of God isn't there. No matter how big your building, how great your free coffee is, or how much your worship team rocks out...it doesn't matter one bit if the Spirit of God isn't there. It's God who draws people to Him. He uses His people to fullfill His purpose...but it's not us that people are drawn to...it's Jesus in us. It's important that you find a church where God's Spirit is alive and present...and the preacher and congregation are following the teachings of the Bible. Once you find that...going to Church will be something that you actually look forward to. It will be a place to recharge your Spiritual battery. It will be a place where you feel fed by the Word of God. It will be a place where you can go to praise God and thank Him for all He has done for you. It will be a place where you grow in your knowledge of God. Yes...there are hypocrites in Churches. It happens. But that isn't your concern. God is the only One who can judge and is the only One who knows our hearts. So it doesn't matter if there is someone at church that you know is cheating on their wife....that has nothing to do with your relationship with God. Yes...lots of people have had bad experiences at church and never want to go back. Well...lots of people have also had bad experiences at work...does that mean that they quit working and give up!? Lots of people have had bad experiences in relationships, but does that mean that they stop trying!? No...they keep going to they find the right job, or the right person...or the right Church!!! : )

Our relationship with God is like any other relationship we have in the natural. Taking dating for example....the more we know about someone...the more we are able to decide on whether we want to be with them or not. We need to know someone before we decide to let them into our Heart. Once we decide they are right for us...the more time we spend learning about them....the more we love them and want to be with them. Spending time with this person is the only way we will ever be able to trust them and believe in them. Spending time with someone shows us who they really are. Each moment spent with that person is another brick in the foundation of your relationship. This is how we decide whether or not someone is right for us...this is how we come to truly love someone.....we spent time with them.

The more we know the heart of God, the more we know God's character, the more we know God's purpose...the more we love Him. The more time we spend with God the more we realize what He does for us. The more time we spend in the presence of God, the more like Him we will become without even trying to. Knowledge and wisdom are KEY. God isn't asking us to blindly follow Him just because "we should" or it's what's "good".

God tells us:"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her." Proverbs 3:13

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 24:3

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright ..." Proverbs 2:6

Just like we are when we are in a relationship with someone here on Earth...we don't want anyone to say they love us...just because they think they should. We want someone to love us with all their heart, someone that can't wait to spend time with us, someone who wants to learn about us...God wants the same from us.

LOVE you all!

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