Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t need to go to church to be a Christian? Do you think that that is true? I have begun to see that this is not true at all. And yet, I wonder why so many people believe this.
The other night I was watching a replay of Oprah and there was lady on there talking about the difference between spirituality and religion. I had one thought running through my mind, and it was this woman had no idea what she was talking about.
Paul tells us in Romans 1 that true spirituality is not found in what we do, but in what God has done. John explains God’s activity in people’s lives when He talks about the Spirit going like the wind wherever it chooses to go. I mention all of this because it seems that people have an underlying and a basic misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian.
I remember hearing a very interesting summary of the history of Christianity. I will paraphrase:
Started as a relationship
Became a movement
Morphed into a philosophy
Was codified into an institution
Finally evolved into a benevolent non-profit organization
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION. It is not a corporation or a non-profit. Christianity is an organism. Look at what the apostle Paul says to the Corinthians.
1. I go to church because that is where I am supposed to be.
(14) For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (15) If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. (16) And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. (17) If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? (18) But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (19) If all were a single member, where would the body be? (1 Corinthians 12:14-19 ESV)
The subject for today is “Why Come?” There are too many people who do not understand the importance of being and staying connected to the body of Christ. Many people look at the church and they see a place to find peace, answers, comfort, hope. And, there is nothing wrong with these things. They are true.
There are any number of reasons to go to church. But why should I come? We have to personalize the question. When I look at these and any other reasons that we could chose, I am confronted with one simple reality. These are just ends. These are the benefits of being a part of the body of Christ. They are not the reasons for staying connected. This is why we have to see that if we are going to enjoy them we have to stay connected to the body.
2. I go to church because I cannot be a Christian alone.
(20) As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (21) The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:20-21 ESV)
We should come because it is here, as a gathered people, that we are able to endure the journey of faith. It is not easy to be a Christian and to have to travel that narrow road alone is not what God had in mind. By joining our lives together we are able to help one another. When we forget this we risk putting ourselves in jeapordy.
3. I go to church because I will need a community when life happens.
(26) If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (27) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:26-27 ESV)
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not there is no stopping life from happening. We all will go through something. Isn’t it better when you can go through it with someone?
4. I go to church because it will prepare me for when Jesus returns.
The writer of Hebrews helps us to understand one of the main reasons for coming together as the body of Christ. I would like to leave this with you for your consideration.
(24) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (25) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
If we want to be ready for when Jesus comes back, we need to be and stay connected with God’s people. The training ground for heaven is in the church. We may forget this from time to time. However, we must work be a part of Christ’s body until he returns.