Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Why People Do Not Like Church Part Two

Let me start this round of discussion by saying, "I love Church", or I love getting together with God's people for worship, the Word, prayer and fellowship! This getting together is both a continuation of the New Testament pattern and a command , 'to not forsake the assembling of our selves together.' If you have read the New testament you know that early believers met from house to house and that there were common elements to those gatherings, which are listed in Acts 2:42 -47. These house churches were the earliest type of get togethers by believers to build up and grow together in the continuing their efforts 'to do what Jesus to do and teach.'

Throughout Church History believers have sought to obey this command by gathering together in all sorts of places, from caves to ornate buildings built and set apart for the purpose of having a place to gather as a people who follow Jesus. There are certain 'Church' or getting together formats I like better than others. Some would say the format in which they hold church meetings (get togethers of believers) is Biblical, while others would say that it is a matter of culture or personal taste. Some think that church is a building while others understand that it is merely a place to gather and 'do the work of the ministry.'

Second let me add that 'having a Church service 'or getting together with other believers is Biblical and even necessary to maintain a healthy personal walk with God and to keep us as believers 'Doing the things Jesus began to do and teach Acts 1:1.' We are said to be His body in I Cor 12-14. The Word also says that as a body we affect each other. If one is wounded we are all affected. If one rejoices we are all blessed.

Third, if we have received Jesus according to John 3:16 and if we are to be obedient to Jesus and continue to do what He has commanded us to do, 'Make Disciple of all people groups (nations),' then we must have Church organizations of some type to get this accomplished. We are according to the Bible, His Church.

I believe that people do and do not like 'church' for a variety of reasons.

There are reasons to dislike a particular church which might include, the way we do church meetings, the style of music, the type and content of preaching, various styles and methods of praying, the content of these things, as well as, where and when we meet. If these are your reasons for not liking Church, there are plenty of other groups out there doing Church differently. You can find one that fits your needs and preferences in these areas without rejecting the gathering of ourselves together as believers.

There are other reasons to not like 'church.' These might be lumped into one sentence, 'people who are still imperfect act like Christ has not set them free or forgiven them of their sins.' This may be revealed to others in many different ways which demonstrate our imperfections.
The way that these negative experiences impact us is my greatest concern for the following reasons:
1. Jesus came to give new life to people.
a. To forgive our sins, to allow us to live a life pleasing to God.
b. To be set free a from bondages that come with sin, as well as the shame and the results of sin. c. To be able to live and enjoy our life in Him free from these things is awesome and marvelous!.

This freedom and the blessings that come with new life can get turned into a bless me and never let me suffer or experience any hardship in life 'message,' that is not Biblical.

2. Individual believers as well as leaders can do or say things that harm people. We understand that as imperfect people that is going to happen as we interact with each other as we seek to grow in the grace and power of God. It is also important that we work on doing all we can to 'build up and encourage one another' as parts of the same spiritual body and as a demonstration of Christ-Likeness. This does not mean that we are wanting peace at all cost either.

3. We can not excuse bad behavior in others or ourselves but we can change ourselves so we are doing our part and 'building up one another. We can also seek to build relationships with others that will encourage them to live like Christ has set them free and paid the price for their sins and its results in their lives.

We all must learn to forgive those who have wounded or mistreated us if we are to go on in health and grow in the things of God! Along with forgiveness there is also a need to not allow ourselves to be manipulated or wounded repeatedly. This would be the same as submitting to an abusive person over and over again in our daily lives. It is unhealthy and we should not continue to put ourselves in the control of such people.

Let be say again, 'I love getting together with God's people and having a believers gathering where we can celebrate, learn and have healthy relationships.'

In every generation God is working to accomplish His work in the people of the earth through a variety of groups and structures. It is important for us as believers to do our best to serve Him with all of our mind, heart and strength. We must also seek to be a part of doing His will among His people as well as communicating His message of life to a broken and hurting world.

In the process of seeking to please Him we may say and do things that bring hurt and pain to others. When we realize we have done or said anything that hurts another person we should repent and ask forgiveness as well as change our ways in the future.

It is interesting that Jesus saved all of His rebukes for the self righteous religous people of His day who thought they did not need a savior. Let us not be counted among them.

I also find it interesting that when the disciples found others proclaiming Him he asked them a question; "What is that to you?" We need to spend more time trying to please Him than judging others for their short comings. They are after all responsible to jesus and not us.

When He is our true focus and priority people will find it easier to, LIKE CHURCH.

In closing I was told once, "if you find a perfect Church, don't go you will ruin it." That was a way of saying that no group of believers is perfect while on earth. We do also have the freedom to pick from a lot of believers gatherings (Churches) and therefore need not submit to abusive or seriously unhealthy situations.

We may find reasons to not like 'church', but there are many reasons to Like Church (gatherings of God's people), which benefit us and other believers!
You and I Have Choices to Make

1. Will you make the choice of being a person of people who can make the difference!

2. Will you show others the good reasons for 'church', or will you complain about what others are doing and have done or will you forgive and move on.

3. Will you sit in the seat of the scornful or will you move on to the streams of Living water and bring others the joy and life that the Living Waters bring!

Ps 1:1-31:1 BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and
enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly
[following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and
inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest]
where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.
2 But his delight and desire
are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the
teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by
night. [Rom 13:8-10; Gal 3:1; 2 Tim 3:16.]
3 And he shall be like a
tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth
its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything
he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. [Jer 17:7,8.]

Art Work 'Worship Service by Tinkler:


HolyInheritance said...

We have a home church and find
it a wonderful JOY to join in this way, as the early Christians did.


Tarun Jacob said...

I think it's simple - if people know Jesus, then they want to go to Church.
There is a beautiful song we sing in Vellore - I am the Church, You are the Church, we are the Church togeter. All who follow Jesus all around the world, yes we are the CHurch together.
The rest is just theologising and opinion.

Orikinla Osinachi. said...

We are all one body of Jesus Christ.

God bless.

Mark Evili said...

Please dont flame me, cause im not a Christian Lit major, but why did you capitalize "Living Waters"?