Sunday, May 13, 2012

I don't have to go to church. I can worship anywhere...

On the 9Marks blog, Jonathan Leeman write a piece called What is Church Membership? In part, he wrote,

"Church membership is a formal relationship between a local church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church. Notice that several elements are present: a church body formally affirms an individual’s profession of faith and baptism as credible; it promises to give oversight to that individual’s discipleship; the individual formally submits his or her discipleship to the service and authority of this body and its leaders. The church body says to the individual, “We recognize your profession of faith, baptism, and discipleship to Christ as valid. Therefore, we publicly affirm and acknowledge you before the nations as belonging to Christ, and we extend the oversight of our fellowship.” Principally, the individual says to the church body, “Insofar as I recognize you as a faithful, gospel-declaring church, I submit my presence and my discipleship to your love and oversight.”

Consequently, failure to regularly attend is a rejection of the above. To all those Christians who say "I can worship in the forest, or anywhere..." To all those Christians who say, "I don't feel led to staying at one church, but will share myself with one and all by hopping around..." To all those Christians who say, "I don't need a church, Jesus loves me anyway..."

I say HOGWASH.

What you are really saying is... "I refuse to submit to accountability of the brethren in one corporate body." You're actually saying, "I reject oversight of my brothers and sisters." The fact is, you're telling Jesus "I selfishly refuse to employ the spiritual gifts You gave me for the edification and encouragement of the body."

How will iron sharpen iron if one part of the process is sitting at home on Sundays? How can you know what your pastor needs in body and in prayer if you don't see him week after week? How will you encourage others if you're off in a forest somewhere (like a Druid)?

You need church. Your church brothers and sisters need you. Because we're all one body, when one part is missing (and all parts are vital to the health of the organism) we feel the loss of you.

Jesus deserves to be celebrated and worshiped in the way HE designed it. He loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25). He gave His blood for it. (Acts 20:28). He gave us pastors for it (Jeremiah 3:15).

Now I understand that technically, the church is each individual believer, we all make up the church as one body with Christ as the Head. But Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us not to give up meeting together. So your attendance is not respectfully requested, but is demanded by the One who died so you could thank Him with the others who make up this great entity we call the BRIDE OF CHRIST. You'd show up on your wedding day, wouldn't you? So show up on Sundays and celebrate your Groom.


2 comments:

  1. The post modern mess that some call "church" has exactly what Christ was upset about when he overturned the tables. EVERY single "church" in our area is primarily an organization first and then if there is time they will "play" church. I agree with the statement at the outset in that God's people are called to fellowship. I have been studying this problem for a while, and the organization has because of it's "legal" structure which includes usually a corporation which has a "tax exempt status" (big clue) and a process of legislation which on the surface seems harmless enough, but it sets itself up for not being accountable to those who are not "members" voted in by the "membership". Christ Himself isn't allowed to speak.You say that he is the head? Really? John 1:1 say's he is the Word, he was the Word in the beginning. When presented with the Word these sudo churches choose their organization over Him. You have an organization and sometimes in the same place you have the church. You yourself have called out false teachers, they are rampant in the church in our area. If the leadership will not abide in the truth they are to be rejected.

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  2. most churches today are more concerned about their traditions and standards. They use the traditions and call it the old paths and then use it as a measuring stick of a persons rightousness.

    I understand not every church is like this but many are. It is a shame that the presence of God is being pushed out because of legalism, and people with a true hunger for God is dying a slow spiritual death in these churches.

    One of my pastor friends made a great comment. He stated how i survived religion. If church is a religion then there is a chance it will not have a relationship. But if people there have relationships then religion is pushed out.

    I think you dont have to go to church to be saved, but i truely believe that if your not in a gathering of believers the chance of you abandoning your faith is great.

    I truely believe that God places us in groups so we can be a support to each other, So i would really suggest going to church, at least you can be fed with the bible and uplifted by other saints in the Church. God Bless

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