Who is this message for? The church body or potential new members? The answer is both.
Have you ever asked someone to come to church only to get one of the following responses?
A. Thanks, but I’ll pass. So and so goes there. They don’t act like churchgoers when they aren’t in church!
B. Thanks, but I’ll pass. The members at your church in the past made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like I didn’t belong.
Any variation of those two questions can be given. Disagreements within the church are also a matter to be considered. The H word comes up a lot. The H word is Hypocrite. Many potential new Christians turn away from the cross and hearing the Gospel based upon those who represent said Gospel. What does that mean? Sinple. If you are a Christian that attends church on Sunday, don’t curse God and misuse His name on Monday. If someone ever tells you, “You are a Christian? How you act, I would have never known” then you need to consider your heart and belief in Christ. Church denominations are not the issue. As Christians, we are the church. The church is a representative bridge to Christ the bridegroom. So if we Christians are one church, why are their divisions? Paul spoke a lot in regard to church divisions.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
It is all about Christ. We are saved by no other name. We are saved by His grace. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit not the preacher at our church, not a deacon, or teacher. We, at times, get too wrapped up in being a member of so and so church, sometimes neglecting or actually forgetting that we are saved by a holy, righteous, Living God. Those placed in leadership roles in the church must not ever start believing they are more than they are not. People, as Paul wrote will say, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Peter.” As His children, we must never forget that we follow Christ.
Church body, if you truly represent the God you serve, remember that either your actions will lead someone closer to Christ or you will lead them straight into the flames of hell.
I Corinthians 3:3-9
3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
The problem is we think we are more than we are at times. Some folks with titles in the church or folks who have membership for x amount of years sometimes feel like they are the church. How many souls have I saved today or last week? How many have you? The answer is none. We cannot save anyone. We do not have the ability to do that. Jesus is the One who saves. As Paul wrote, Only God makes it grow. Is the nursery teacher/worker of a greater value than the youth pastor? No. God has called each of us with our different talents to further His kingdom, but in Christ, there is no favoritism. We all work toward the same goal that is spreading the Good News, the Gospel.
Sometimes you have a set of folks that just do not want to come to church because they think you can worship God wherever. First, that argument is not an argument at all. The purpose of attending church is not just to spend time with God. Hear me completely before you turn away tour ear. God in the Bible commands us to worship Him in a formal setting. Coming together as believers only strengthens our walk with God and the friendship/fellowship among us. We can pray and spend time with God anywhere and anytime. It is during the time of worship with others do we fully experience what God intends for us to experience.
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Where else should the people of God be other than in the building that represents His home? Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
In closing I want to throw one final thought to you, the church body: As I said earlier, we will either lead someone closer to Heaven or straight to hell with our actions. To be more precise, our inaction, our lukewarm attitude will do more than our own actions ever could. Jesus in this set of scriptures was speaking about consequences of leading little ones astray.
"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
If you consider little ones not just children, but anyone without the blessed salvation of Christ, you will view your responsibility as a Christian and a member of the body with much more reservation and seriousness. I pray these words have moved you toward the righteous of Christ. If you are reading and are not a Christian, please do not let past negative experiences keep you from the fulfillment of Christ. In Christ’s precious name, I pray, amen.