Far too many Christians try to “ride the fence” in today’s world between the Bible and popular opinion. It’s time to lay down the challenge Elijah once gave Israel – “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him.”
Religious trends come and go, and with them we can usually find some good, biblical ideas… but also a lot of truly awful, unbiblical ideas. In the 2000s, one of the prevailing trends has been a de-emphasis on the church. So many people today think they can have a spiritual relationship with God outside of the bounds of His church, despite the fact that they’re essentially making Jesus out to be a spiritual adulterer against His bride.
The error of this belief has crept into the minds of many in the church, leading them to believe that gathering with the church isn’t important and that talking with Jesus alone in the wilderness or thinking a few spiritual thoughts before the football game on Sundays are just as pleasing to God as being with His people. Others embrace the error of a de-emphasized church by hopping from church to church when times get tough or when they aren’t getting what they want out of a church.
It’s up to those who are strong in the faith to re-establish the importance of the church. God’s church is the most important organization this world has ever seen. It’s the everlasting kingdom that overcomes all other kingdoms that was prophesied in Daniel 2. We must destroy this nonchalant, consumerist attitude toward church. Here are 3 ways we can set the example.
Say it with your attendance
Lots of churchgoers will give lip service to the idea of the church being an important part of their lives, but actions speak louder than words. When sports, trips, avoidable work, or other excuses are used for missing worship, the message is loud and clear. When we were growing up, my brother played in a lot of weekend hockey tournaments, and the tournament playoff games were regularly scheduled for Sunday mornings. The other players and parents from the team would consistently push for him to skip worship “just this one time.” But putting off gathering to worship God and remember Jesus’ death “just one time” tells God and everyone else that something – even if it’s just one thing – is more important than the church. That’s a message Christians can’t afford to send if we want to convince the world that being in Christ’s church is the greatest blessing in our lives. Make being with the church the first thing on your calendar every week, and don’t let anything move it off the list.
Say it with your commitment
Whether you’ve heard of it as the 80-20 or the less optimistic 90-10 principle, it’s long been said that most church work is done by a small minority of the members. In many cases, the majority of members are content to merely show up, check their “went to church” box, and then go about their week. If we want to affirm that church is important, commitment is a must. The church is strengthened by what every joint supplies (Eph. 4:16), and God has created a role for every one of us to serve in His church. Because of that passive attitude that so many bring, too many times people are content to simply bounce from church to church to find what suits them or to escape conflict. Make a commitment to bind yourself to your church family with the love of Jesus (Phil. 4:1-8) and to encourage and strengthen your brethren. Your fellow Christians might drive you crazy sometimes, and other times they will do things that are just plain wrong. But God calls us to stick together to build each other up and be a shining example of the grace and reconciliation of the Gospel. When we commit to put in the hard work of loving and strengthening our church family, it tells the world that Jesus is who He says He is (John 17:20-21).
Say it with your outreach
A belief that the church is important will lead us to want to bring others into it. If I find a great new restaurant, I tell people to try it. If I really enjoy a movie, I recommend it to others. Yet the church makes a greater impact on our lives than literally anything on this earth, and we’re often hesitant to tell others about it. We have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). If we truly believe that, we’ll believe that the church is important enough to evangelize the people in our lives.
In a world that is looking for meaning in all the wrong places, we can show them a place to belong where they’ll receive a new life and every spiritual blessing our God has to offer. But that can’t happen if we minimize the church’s importance through our actions. The church is the most important thing we will ever be a part of. Let’s make sure we confirm that truth with our actions.
Jack Wilkie December 14, 2017
GREAT ARTICLE AND GREAT THINGS TO THINK ABOUT! If we want to know Jesus, we have to understand what his church means to him. And we need to become that church—a bride without spot or wrinkle, cleansed by Jesus to bring honor to him in every way possible. ARE WE THAT CHURCH? It is up to us! Tommy