Do you go to Church? Do you know why you go to Church? Hopefully, if you go to Church, you go because it is a place of spiritual healing, restoration and nourishment, where you do not only seek to receive but to give to others too.
There are many people who go to Church for reasons other than these, and many that go simple to take but not to impart. Some go for entertainment, as spectators or an audience. Some go sick expecting healing, and come out sicker, because they didn’t like the medicine on offer… Or it could simply be that the medicine, care and nutrition was highly inadequate.
Christ is the Founder and Head of the Church, the Body of Christ. He meant for it to be, not simply a fellowship where healing, restoration and nourishment is exchanged, but for it to stand as a beacon of light in the world (Matt 5:14-15), calling all to come under its shelter and be saved (Matt 13:31-32). It is not a gathering of the perfect, but there should be a continual growth towards perfection that is witnessed by all who fellowship within, and those who observe from outside (Matt 5:48)!
Many people make excuses for why the Church is not growing nor effective. They say because you’re in the Church, and you’re not perfect. However, many people leave the Church, not simply because of its imperfection, but because of its comfort in imperfection! They accept that they are not perfect, and rather than work towards it, they are proud of it, justify it, make excuses for it, or simply ignore it!
To turn the tide against people leaving the Church in drones, many have published posts to expose the foolishness of forsaking a relationship because it is not perfect. A common one is, “not going to Church because of the hypocrites there is like refusing to go to the Gym because of the out of shape people!” Another uses the analogy of the hospital, “not going to Church because of the hypocrites there, is like refusing to go to the Hospital because of all the sick people!”
These analogies would hold weight if the Church was as diligent at addressing sickness and unfitness as the Hospital and the Gym!!! You won’t go to the Gym and find people feasting on burgers or serving unhealthy snacks. And it is unlikely your Gym Instructor would be an overweight, out-of-breath person, who makes jokes about being fat, and doesn’t believe in warming up or warming down exercises. If you did, you would be justified to leave and find a better Gym. Likewise, if you went to a Hospital and the doctors and nurses practiced bad hygiene, the place wasn’t clean, and there is a high death-rate among the patients, I’m sure you would run out!
So you see, standards do matter. Let’s quit with all the jokes about the foolishness of not going to Church, and address the real issue… The Church is failing! If we want to be a place where people come to and seek to belong, and if we claim to represent Christ, then we must rise up and live by the standards He set for us. Christ is serious about salvation, are we???
We all know the Scripture where Christ asked Peter three times to feed His sheep and lambs (John 21:15-17). THREE TIMES. This was to signify the importance of this duty. It was to help Peter never to forget this primary responsibility. It was to drum it home at last, so that there would be no excuses like, “eh…we were busy with this and that crisis, so we put off feeding to do this and that project first…” Jesus doesn’t want excuses, He wants obedience and faithfulness.
The message we preach is the most important purpose of the Church. This is the Cross, the Bread of Life – the Word of God – Jesus. The message of the Cross is not a one-time message of what Jesus did for us, but a call for us to follow in His steps, bearing our own crosses, denying ourselves, living by faith and so on. In His great commission to His disciples, Jesus commanded them to “teach them everything I have taught you” (Matt 28:19-20). But we stop short after we have preached repentance and forgiveness. We continue to dish out milk and snacks to teenagers (in the Faith) or even grown men and women, who should be eating meat and vegetables (Heb 5:12)!
We reason that they are not ready yet… They can’t handle the truth… Because the truth is hard. Because we don’t want them to leave. Because we want to be popular… So rather, we exchanged Christ’s wisdom for Solomon’s or the wisdom of the world. We didn’t value the truth, so we sold it for a lie. And that is why they are leaving…because the message we serve has no nutritional value! In fact, in many congregations, it is just poison.
We are supposed to be the light of the world, the salt of the Earth…but having forsaken the truth, we are only fit to be thrown out (Matt 5:13)! Anyone who is serious about their salvation needs to make sure that they are in the company of others who are serious about it too. It is written: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov 13:20). Paul also said: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor 15:33).
It remains that the Body of Christ that will be saved is not a visible Body. As much as we should fellowship with like-minded Christians in a physical fellowship, we must ensure that we are truly a part of the Body of Christ, by making sure our lives conform to His standard (Rom 12:1-2). Jesus won’t ask which Church you went to when He sees you on Judgement Day. Matthew 25:31-46, however, gives us a clue to the type of things that are of importance to Him.
So I must ask, what are they feeding you in your Church? Do you care? Do you want to grow? Are you able to speak in your fellowship? Are you able to contribute? If not, what are you doing there?
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