Have any of 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 wonder why so many people believe this.
The other night I was watching a replay of Oprah and there was a lady on there talking about the difference between spirituality and religion. I had one thought running through my mind, and it was this woman has no idea what she’s 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 these examples because underlying all of this is a basic misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian and the church.
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.
(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 Co 12:14-19 ESV
The subject for today is Why Come? Many people look at the church and they see a place to find peace, answers, comfort, hope. There are any number of reasons to go to church. But why should I come. When I look at these and any other reasons that you would 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. But how can you enjoy them if you are not connected to the body?
(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 Co 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.
(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 Co 12:26-27 ESV
The writer of Hebrews helps us to think through the reason for come 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. Heb 10:24-25 ESV