The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.

Church

with 29 comments

In my article in Heartlight this week, I talk about the whole “church deal.” I’d love for you to read it and respond. This is a crucial issue facing all of us today.

Here are some questions to get us started:

What do you believe Jesus is calling us to do as his people in our current culture?

Are you part of a regular church service, a house church, or do you not go to church at all — why or why not?

What one thing do you consider essential for authentic Christian community?

Written by phil

April 6th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

29 Responses to 'Church'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Church'.

  1. First of all, loved your article and I feel that God is calling us to share the love of Christ, in today\’s culture, just like He did in the book of Acts- and to preach the word, fellowship and prayer. I attend church and am an active member of the prayer and music ministry- because it helps me in my growth, and I in turn can help others as well- there are many things that are important for an authentic Christian community- however, I consider one of the most important, if not the most important is to corporately worship together- and reach out an encourage each other was we grow together in Him.

    Teri

    7 Apr 08 at 3:32 am

  2. Hi Phil, thanks for your articles, they are encouraging.
    “Community” fellowship is on the rise of late in S.E.A. and does resemble some of the causes mentioned by you.
    I’m in a gathering of church and our take on this is,we practice our small community during our cell group meeting on Fridays and the advantage of a church gathering is that there are more strands of cords (counter checking/accountable) and more sources to confirm the rhema word/direction from the pulpit (for individuals/church) instead of feeding from one source.
    Community can be the future gathering of few when persecution takes places.
    Lastly there are hurting believers from small communities too and practicing Christians ought to overcome struggles/hurt (maturity) as helped and led by HS.

    Matthew Siew

    7 Apr 08 at 3:50 am

  3. We are called to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. We need to show others that our sins have been wiped away by the blood of Christ on the cross and that they just need to call on the name of Jesus and ask and they will be saved.

    I am active and part of a regular church service as the church/fellowship pianist. I feel that I can be a witness even doing this. I love the fellowship of our worship services. The love of Jesus can be felt all around.

    Prayer is the most essential for an authentic Christian community!!

    Toni

    7 Apr 08 at 5:17 am

  4. I have been attending church for over 2 decades. I have Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disfunction that prevents me from doing all that I would like to do and stops me from keeping all of my commitments. In every church I have attended, as long as I was attending every Sunday, and teaching all of my classes, I have been well received and well liked. However, whenever a period in my life comes that my health takes a down-turn and I have to stop working in the church for a time, instead of support and understanding, I have gotten judgement and isolation.

    I find that very difficult to understand. I can put 2 years of tireless commitment, then when I need help and support, they treat me like I have done something wrong and stop speaking to me, or even returning my calls.

    I still attend church right now, but only to attend service and a Sunday School class because I don’t know from week to week when I can attend and when I can’t. I enjoy my Sunday School class, but I miss serving, and I still don’t understand why those that I was serving under won’t speak to me anymore.

    Lisa

    7 Apr 08 at 5:25 am

  5. It is IMPERATIVE that we meet — to be accountable, to worship our Maker, to pray and to discuss any further developments in communication (with the ones that have the gifting of prophesy, interpretation of tongues, that sort of thing) as we are all out witnessing, spreading the Gospel, healing the sick and driving out demons, doing the very things that Jesus asked us to do. The Lord sent me down to the lake to “watch the birds” and how they communicate — it was AMAZING — some of them were “watchmen” – as He is raising up right now and they are always alert and caring for each other. . . watch them some time — He was telling me to learn from this (they were just seagulls, but I am sure that it is the same with other birds — they have certain pitches they use for certain things, different calls for certain things) — however, I do believe the time is coming that if we needed one another and could not get to one another “the very stones would cry out” — and we would know — what we need to know. He has perfect timing. You have to also remember that if you give 25%, He gives 25%, you give 75%, He gives 75%. . . you give 100% — he gives 100% — this requires ABSOLUTE SUBMISSION — putting your entire body – dedicating your eyes, ears, tongue, feet, hands, entire body as well as your free will – on Our Makers altar, after being washed in the blood of the Lamb. . . these are the people he needs —

    If you are keeping your mind “busy” with idle things (and remember we are going to be held accountable for every idle thing) our minds need to be renewed that allows for divinely empowered Christian behavior. . .

    kathy

    7 Apr 08 at 7:06 am

  6. I believe God calls us to witness within and outside of Christian Churches. By example to draw the un-believer to a Bible based house of Worship. Members still have struggles and the community of our Churches serve us one to another to stay on or get back on the path led by Jesus. I am saddened to read of Lisa’s need of support & understanding not being met from her brothers & sisters in Christ. Sometimes when we give ‘testimony’ before our congregations they can better understand what our needs are even tho’ we are ‘Saved’ and know that God will provide: Prayers and support through the difficult times is an opportunity for others to focus on the needs of those in their community. I would suggest she talk with an Elder or Pastor to express her feelings. It is hard and sad when we have the heart to serve and find ourselves limited to do so because of physical disabilities. I would pray for Lisa that she can continue to attend church, that she continue to be a light for others to follow. I pray that she remembers that God knows her heart and that Jesus loves her.

    We all need to remember:
    But whoso hath this world’s good, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? John1-13

    Derri Wilson

    7 Apr 08 at 7:50 am

  7. I tried the church thing when I was very small, accepted the Lord, baptized with the Holy Spirit and then my parents divorced. I left the church. I married at 19 yrs old, my husband and I taught newlywed classes until I caught him and his father cheating on me and my stepmother. I left the church. I studied on my own from new age to anything where I could find the move of God and expierence him for myself. I married again at 40, got baptized and born again, dedicated my life to God. My Mother was suffering stage 4 ovarian cancer, my sister in law tried to commit suicide, my brother got on drugs and I could not find God in all of this. I was left to handle all the responsibilites on my own, my husband filed for divorce and was not there for me and my ‘church’ friends abandoned me. Yes, I am one of those who was terribly hurt by the ‘church’. I have always been a loving and giving person nad responsible, where was the ‘church’ when I needed them. The so called ‘church elite’ only condemned me for crying out, my husband was telling them I used to be into New Age and pretty much left me to fend for myself. The ‘church’ kills it’s wounded and only gossip and shares pain of others.
    I for one do not believe in the ‘church’ of today, I constatnly seek God in my daily life, reading and studying 4 hours every morning searching for Jesus and being moved by the Holy Spirit to teach me in all things. HE is our teacher, this is where I will stay.

    In HIM and always searching and waiting to go home,
    Cendee

    Cendee Crawford

    7 Apr 08 at 8:11 am

  8. I believe the most important things we must do as Christians, is show the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus/Yeshua to everyone. Resist evil and satan. Live a Holy life in all we do and say. Then be open to the Holy Spirit to be led to do what our Heavenly Father wants us to do.

    I am looking for another Church right now. In every way I tried to serve in the Church I attended, there was one person who made it their mission to prevent me from serving in different cappasities. And made me feel unwelcome. But I won’t be bitter or hold any ill feelings. That person will have to give answer for their actions. Maybe the Lord wanted me to move elsewhere.

    The most essential and important thing for each of us is: LET THE LIGHT OF YESHUA/Jesus show in our lives, in everything we do and say.
    BE AN EXAMPLE OF YESHUA/Jesus LOVE.

    All of our works and deeds, whether it be in the Church, or everywhere else is all in vain, for nothing, if the Love of Yeshua/Jesus does’nt show in our lives. And we are living a true Holy life.

    The Lord’s best blessings to you all.

    In Yeshua/Jesus Love,
    Linda from Ohio

    Linda from Ohio

    7 Apr 08 at 8:19 am

  9. Thank you for the article. Timely – as I am contemplating on whether I should continue to attend a women’s group that I have been going to the past two years. We meet in a house every 2 weeks and the women are from the church I attend.

    While I admit that I have found inspiration and encouragement from the books we have studies in the past and sensed unity in terms of following Christ and living a wholesome life that God calls us to live as women; I feel worn out about continuously striving to initiate friendliness and deal with moodiness and domination from some of the members, especially the ones leading the group. I feel discouraged. I don’t look forward to going there anymore.

    I don’t want to leave this group and I believe we have to overcome challenges in life, we can’t run away from them. However, I am finding it hard to grow and experience peace due to lack of transparency, responsibility and effort to create a genuine environment.

    I don’t entertain hot and cold type of personality, pretention, unfriendliness, insincerity. It is hurting me.

    So do I stick to my gut feeling and find another group or??? I have been praying for direction from God but I just feel like crying every time I think about how people try to control group settings and God is not fully made known. If I say something – people will say a complainer. People use excuses saying that we are not perfect and so on. I am not asking for a perfect group but I do think that we should submit ourselves to God, humble ourselves and strive to create a genuine passion filled environment centred around Christ and His calling.

    Beth

    7 Apr 08 at 8:58 am

  10. I attend church. even teach and as needed fill in to preach the WORD.
    I have noticed that there are a lot of people who enjoy the one on one. When you go to them and share Jesus.. many have ask Jesus into their hearts
    but have been wounded by other christians or the church body at some time. and feel unsafe.
    They want the fellowship of another Christian, to study the WORD to hear encouragement. and to be prayed for as well as to know of others to pray for..
    I have come to except this as God on the Go.
    we are to go out among , and bring them back to
    Jesus..as time goes and trust is build, you may be able to do a Bible study with another who is like.
    but to come to the church as we know it. NO.
    they are safe in the home or small caring groups.
    as Jesus is with for, He lives with in ,,if we have ask HIM in.. and as we ask, seek and knock. we find He is there in the mist of us..
    That is important. For He cares for us..
    Thank you for you thoughts for they are of Gods heart..I have read “Unchristian” and it is a major eye opener, yet at the same time it is things you as a Christain have seen and may even know in your heart. It just puts it in your face. TRUTH..

    Betty

    7 Apr 08 at 9:04 am

  11. i am honestly not sure what to think of modern expressions of the church today.

    obviously not “wrong” (at least i don’t think so), so many churches teach support and self discovery which is completely diametrically opposed to reliance on god and god-discovery.

    many churches teach help and not holiness…

    i sat next to a guy on a plane last night who is a new believer. we had delays and delays and spent a few hours chatting. that was a gathering of the church.

    i also met a girl who said she goes to church only because it makes her uncomfortable. that’s the kinda church i think is probably doing the right thing…

    then again, i’m just a liberal hippy. :)

    anne jackson

    7 Apr 08 at 9:28 am

  12. I think The Lord is calling out to us to love one another and to stop being distracted by all the empty “important” things in our culture. In America, the requirement of having lots of stuff, and having the “right” stuff is a religion in and of itself.
    I don’t attend a church. I have been a member of two very warm and personal churches in the past. Alienation with “official” religious practices and individuals, along with hard times are my reasons for not attending.
    I think that the one thing needed for true church community is the belief that Jesus lives.

    Kathie

    7 Apr 08 at 9:50 am

  13. Phil: Your article touched a nerve that I see all over the country when I talk to brothers and sisters from every walk and tribe. I have referred to it as a new restoration in that people want MORE than what they have experienced on Sunday morning. Not to say they want to exclude Sunday mornings altogether in that there is much to be gained by being in fellowship.

    However, being Christ to one another and to the world overcomes our petty differences of worship practice and self-assurance of out different thrologies. To be an affirming community believing in forgiveness and love, even when we don’t do it well is our aim without devolving into spiritural secularism.

    I don’t see that thought as being redical but rather continuing to build our trust in God and to know Christ trying to perfect our faith.

    My God continue to bless your work.

    Randy Yarbrough

    7 Apr 08 at 12:22 pm

  14. 9402483319″><img border=”0″ src=”
    ‘Jesus is calling us to do as his people in our current culture?”
    The culture of greed and hate?
    Jesus has been away for a while.
    Are you sure he even knows the Church of today?
    Do they play golf in Heaven?

    The Church of today is a Social Club.
    I do not like Social Clubs! I do not fit in the circle of where we going to eat after Church crowd.

    “for authentic Christian community?”
    Get real!
    Stop with the big money,
    big bibles,
    and where are we going to eat,
    New houses,
    new shiny cars,
    and new wifes,
    and throw away children etc.

    Glenn Waters

    7 Apr 08 at 4:32 pm


  15. I guess what I am saying is the Church is not in the Buildings anymore. Real Christians have church at home these days get real.

    Glenn Waters

    7 Apr 08 at 4:34 pm

  16. Hello Phil, and other followers of Christ. I personally believe that right now, while people are reading and answering this discussion, we are holding a form of “church”. I also believe, that “church” is not a building, but people… I think that it is the little old woman that can no longer drive, and is at home reading her bible, and speaks to her neighbor about Christ. I believe, that it is the few people in a communist country that gather to talk about God, and what He has done for them this week. I also believe, when two or more gather in His name, this is “church”. My beliefs may not be very popular by many…but …this is my belief. I have nothing against going to “church” on Sunday, Saturday or let’s say Thursday. I have been known to do, all of these. I am a member of the Assemblies of God Association, but have no problem with walking into a Holiness “church”, a Catholic “church”, or even a synagogue (even though I am not Jewish). I believe, whatever the message is…I will get the message where ever I am. I too, have had problems with the modern “church”. I was not Christian, in fact I was a down right heathen. At the age of 38, with a failing marriage, life in turmoil, a child that was dating a self proclaimed witch (that also had many family members in a coven), I had tried everything else…I thought I would try God. It was wonderful!!!! I had fellowship, people who I could turn to, and the peace that I had been looking for. The pastor and his family was wonderful!!!! The congregation seemed very welcoming, but within 6 months, things had changed. There was this looming feeling in the “church”. I could never really put my finger on it, and still don’t know what exactly happened. But, my beloved pastor and his family, was asked to resign, by the founding fathers of this particular church. I was crushed. This is the man that had baptized me, this is the family that I had eaten with, this is the people that I had poured my heart out to…and most was asking that the pastor leave and don’t come back. I had no idea what to do?! I was bitter, hurt, disappointed, and absolutely CRUSHED!!!! They resigned, I left the “church”, I forgave, and realized that it was for a season. I have not left my walk with God, or Jesus. I am very much, seeking and learning. I don’t know if I am right or wrong, all I know is that I have not been condemned for it. No, I do not attend weekly. But, I attend daily. By having a conversation with someone, by bringing Him up in a family conversation, by having little get togethers with Christians and non-Christians, even by answering the question by the store clerk, “How are you doing today?”, my answer, “Blessed, I am not complaining!(With a smile upon my face.) This usually takes them back, because they are not use to hearing that response. Then I ask, “And how are you?” (With actual concern for their answer and their well being.) This may seem trivial to others, but I believe that this is a potential opening for “church”. The word “church” and it’s meaning in the American Heritage dictionary is as follows: “church” (n.) A building for public, especially Christian worship.
    church (v.) To conduct a church service for, especially to perform a religious service for (a woman after childbirth).
    church (adj.) Of or relating to the church; ecclesiastical. These are wonderful meanings, whoever came up with them…but is that the meaning that God intended????? I believe, that these are not the only meanings of the word “church”. Again, I am a new follower of Christ, only 3 years in. I am not perfect. I am a work, in progress. My meaning of “church”, is anytime that I can worship, pray, or have a conversation with anyone who is willing to talk about God or Jesus. This can take place anywhere…even in the jungles of Africa. To me…it is not a building…it is the people, who are the “church”.

    Donna Gillette

    7 Apr 08 at 5:42 pm

  17. I am getting increasingly upset with what is being taught in many churches. Yes, I go to church. My husband is the building manager there so we need to go. however, the preaching is away from Scripture, it uses a verse here or there to prove a point. Proof comes by taking the verse out of context, ignoring translation rules and just making it sound good for the moment. I have been to a number of churches and find this seems to be the modern day take on things. Pastors are not trained in the original languages and are leading people astray. Church has become a social club, a feel good society and there is no concern for the lost. Well, maybe if certain lost have money then we want to get them in. Doctrine is set aside since it might offend and send someone away.

    On Monday nights I attend a Bible Study that is 1.5 hrs away from home. I do this because it is a Bible Study. In the Bible, not some book, and taught my a real man of God who is rightly dividing the Word.

    This is my “church”. I love it, love to be taught what the Word says and look forward to it. There are so few out there teaching the pure word, teaching doctrine and teaching what the Word says. I praise God for those men.

    Peggie

    7 Apr 08 at 6:38 pm

  18. Yes, I go to church, faithfully, and what a blessing it is to gather with all kinds of people, some that I love dearly and some that I find it hard to even like, to worship together.
    Is our church perfect? By no means. It is filled with sinners. We have conflict and in fighting and we often disagree. Does that mean that we quit. NO! We keep coming back again and again and asking for forgiveness from God, from each other. We pray that God will guide us and give us the fruits of the spirit and we keep right on doing whatever God puts in front of us to do.
    I am privileged to teach at our Christian day school. Do all the students and parents love me? No…and I sometimes find it very hard to love them, but every day we share God’s Word and grace and we grow in that grace. Everyday we need to be more committed to pleasing God than trying to make people like us. Does that mean that we ignore how others feel? By no means! We are called to get beyond what we feel and do what we know we are called to do.
    Are there days when I would just as soon walk away from all the petty bickering and complaining? Sure. But that doesn’t get the work of God done. I have been called to fill a certain spot in God’s plan, as has each of His saints, for a time, in this place. I am committed to doing the best I can with the talents God have given and leave the accolades or blame to Him. He knows what He’s doing and I have often seen God allow hard times to shape us into the people He wants us to be. We need to speak the truth in love and be willing to be shaped as He choses.

    De

    7 Apr 08 at 8:12 pm

  19. DEAR phil,i love ur episole,it is nice ,realy,a real christian that knows he or she is a child of GOD supose knows that we are called for the things of the LORD,not for our own things,and doing his thing we shuold bear in mind that CHRIST IN US IS THE HOPE OF OUR FAITH,thaks

    chika

    8 Apr 08 at 2:48 am

  20. I attend church almost every Sunday. I really think the church is in your heart. It is wonderful to gather with the other saints. You can gain strength from each other. My church is like a big family. When you are going through a crisis, there is always someone there to support you. That does not mean that nothing ever go wrong or that we don’t have a disagreement because we do, but we are able to seek God and overcome these obstacles. We have to remember that we all make mistakes, but together we can make it. I also work part time as the church secretary and I love it. I feel good knowing that I can do something to help my church. Oh the joy that my heart feel when our mission groups help others. The main thing is that we have to keep our eye on the prize which is JESUS. I do have family member that do not attend church, but I am praying that one day they will start going. They will because with God all things are possible!!

    Carolyn

    8 Apr 08 at 5:42 am

  21. Phil & fellow Christians,
    Saved at 35 and attending church for 14 years, I understand and agree with the concept of corporate worship. Scripture is pretty specific in its decree to “gather in Jesus name”. And that is a key concept.
    I am a student at heart, love to read and love the scriptures as well as supporting commentaries, expos and devotionals. Until just recently of those 14 years, they have been spent in just two “churches”. In both instances I and my wife (as well as our children) devoted ourselves entirely to serving the saints. We attended services on the average of three times a week as well as many extra services as circumstances warranted. Both settings were small, nondenominational churches with the understandable limitations that those settings imply. I believe that the Word of God was preached, I question whether it was adhered to in practice. And herein lies the danger of todays “church”. God speaks to His people, all of them. Smaller churches with limited accountability of leadership can easily turn into more of a cult type setting where the “word” is channeled through one or few people. These people take on a dominating stance where they telegraph the concept of “my way or the highway”. They have a tendency at that point to enter into what can be called meddling rather than ministering. Trying to micro manage the lives and ministries of those that attend. With no one to tell them “no”, they have a tendency to drastically overstep the bounds of leaders as prescribed in scripture.
    I have been burned twice now by this “blunt force theology”. However I still believe in fellowship. I still believe in corporate worship. I have come to understand that, as in the beginning, the “church” had very little to do with buildings, buffets, buses and bow ties. It has everything to do with real relationships with real people about real problems. To stray away from these concepts for the sake of appearance or pride is very much a cause to grieve the Holy Spirit. I pray that God will help the people of this age to remember that “the church” is His people and where they are it exists.

    Keith

    8 Apr 08 at 8:40 am

  22. Phil,

    I appreciated your article. Jesus came to save and create a people (community) of his own who are eager to do good [Titus 2:11-14]. Without active involvement in a community of believers–be it a house church or mega church–we are not challenged to have an active faith, laboring love or enduring hope [1 Thess 1:3].

    All church communities have to resist the temptation to only cater to the comforts of its members. Followers of Jesus have a world-wide mission which means we must all stretch beyond our comfortabilities. We, like Jesus, must bear the cross.

    –Ray

    Ray

    8 Apr 08 at 11:13 am

  23. I began my rewalk 2 years ago and I am on fire for the Lord! I do attend each Sunday and am serving in different capacities within our Church.
    I look at Sunday Worship as a time to Thank God for the week that was and to refuel my heart, soul and love for the week to come! It is awesome for me to do corporate worship and to deepen my relationship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
    It’s ALL for HIS GLORY!

    Jon

    8 Apr 08 at 11:48 am

  24. Hello Phil,
    I am not sure if you know about the Lord’s Prayer talking about “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” which it already settled His body which is His church or kingdom after He died on the cross and was resurrected in Acts 2:47: “They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group (kingdom or church of Christ) those who were being saved.” Did you know about that?

    Jim Kelly

    8 Apr 08 at 7:21 pm

  25. Thank you so very much for your article! I am one of those folks who has emailed you “seeking bibnlical insights” to my frustration with the “modern ‘churchland’ experience”. I currently attend a “mega-church” here in Fort Worth where I have been a member (or at least on the membership rolls) for the last 22 years.

    My initial involvement was through the divorce recovery and single parents ministries and my church has been there for my family in many ways over the years despite my often extended absences. I’ve gone back and forth over the years as to the importance of “church”. As a member of a 12 Step program, I’ve often treated recovery meetings as my “church” – I needed the freedom to trash my fundamentalist, legalistic, shame-ridden upbringing so I could come to know the God who loves me so intimately. I’ve come to long for the fellowship of other believers where I can worship, study, serve, and grow in the likeness of Jesus. I am “called out” to share the journey with other believers.

    However (and here’s the “but”…), I’m often ill at ease in a predominately white, upper middle class, suburban church, even though that’s how I grew up. I often joke that I am not “white enough” to be there and they merely tolerate me as one of “those people” they’re here to help. My rebellion towards God and my upbringing led me down a different spiritual path, but it has also brought me back to the importance of being “part of” the body of Christ. That sense of belonging is what I sought through years of addiction money, drugs, status (and the list goes on…).

    I believe that although I don’t always “feel” that sense of belonging that God has brought me there for a reason. Although I live in the inner city, I don’t drive and SUV or vote Republican, I have a place in my church home. Sometimes it’s only to be a “voice crying in the wilderness”, asking others to step out of their comfort zones and get their hands dirty (the young people and I have worked on several community garden projects). Sometimes it’s to be a recovering addict with HIV so that others can know God’s love and His healing power. Sometimes it’s so I can be fed by God’s Spirit through the power of nour Saturday evening worship service. Even though I’m not always sure why I go I generally walk away knowing why I came.

    Is my congregation perfect? BY NO MEANS! Is it human? YES! and what a relief. The best piece of advice I was ever given came from a dear friend and mentor who urged me to “go anyway”until I became “a part of”. Church, like the rest of my life is not dependent on how I “feel”. I get out of it what I’m willing to put into it and share with others. Being a “part of” is an active choice. That doesn’t mean that I always agree with every policy, program, or person. However, it does mean the I agree with the mission and principles I have in common with other believers who worship there.

    Jesus calls us to live the Kingdom of Heaven right here. It begins for me by having a place to serve and worship with other believers. I’ve learned the hard way that self-sufficiency is a lie and that God sufficiency without others just doesn’t work! Sometimes it’s the conflicts that cause me to grow and that if I seek I will find.

    Gregory Joel

    9 Apr 08 at 7:20 am

  26. I have read your aticle what I want know in Acts2:38 says those who believed were baptised and they met in the name of Jesus what your take on that. Can we just meet without any form of direction.

    steven soslomon

    9 Apr 08 at 9:14 am

  27. Phil,
    Very good article and some very valid points. If I could just add my 2 cents worth.

    In our “Americanizing” or “Westernizing” of Christianity, something of the utmost, prime importance has been gotten away from to the extent that, for the most part, it is pretty much altogether left out of what it means to be a Christian.

    If we really believe what the Apostle Paul says in Ephes. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” then, why are we not living like we believe it?

    I am not being mean, ugly or judgmental, although the Word does tell us in 1 Peter 4:17, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:” I am certainly not being legalistic, for I myself detest legalism that holds God’s people in bondage. However, there are some things that God demands, indeed commands us to do, that are simply for our own benefit, protection and blessing!

    When I refer to Ephes. 5:25, I am not referring to the first part of the verse concerning husbands.
    It is an important subject, of course, and all of us husbands do need to learn the principle Paul is conveying. But, so many times we overlook the second part of the verse and the undeniable, overwhelming truth it speaks in volumes to us, and that truth is: “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

    Christ loved the Church, the Body, the assembly of believers, so much so that he shed His blood, died and arose from the dead, all for her, the Church!

    We can make any excuses we want about how “church attendance is optional“, or “I just don’t have the time”, or “I have to have time with my family” or we have this meeting or this get together, or whatever, but the fact is that none of our excuses hold water in light of Scripture.

    While many of the organizations and activities are not sin, in fact, many are very positive and even Christian based and are good things for us to involve ourselves in, to a degree, however, the plain fact is that Christ did not give Himself and die for the Country Club, the P.T.O., ballgames or sports, beach houses, AA, AARP, NAACP, politics, the Republican or Democratic parties, birthday parties, new homes, new cars, Sunday drives, family visits and a host of other things we give ourselves to. CHRIST DIED FOR THE CHURCH!

    Not enough time for the Church? With all due respect and the love of Christ, I tell you, we have really bought into some false teaching if we are a professing Christian and are swallowing that.

    Years ago, “family time” WAS time spent in church. Our kids today are doing some crazy stuff and we sit back, scratch our heads and say, “Oh, this generation of kids has just gone mad”.

    We have made the church out to be some social club, however, Christ did not die for social clubs, and with the many other Scriptures that speak in volumes concerning this, the bottom line is that “
    Christ… gave himself for it ( the Church);

    If the Church is the apple of God’s eye; If the Church is so tenderly and affectionately called the Bride of Christ; If “Christ…LOVED THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF for it;” If the Church means that much to the Lord Jesus, if He loved the Church so much that He sacrificed Himself, shed His blood and died for the Church, if the Church is that IMPORTANT TO HIM, … then SHOULD IT NOT BE IMPORTANT TO A BODY OF BELIEVERS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IN COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AND WITH EACH OTHER?

    The Book of Hebrews is all about that covenant relationship. I could write much, much more here just based on the carelessly and widely overlooked Hebrews 10:22-31. However, again, the bottom line is that Christ gave Himself for the Church.

    Since that’s the case, then church attendance must be, not just important, but imperative. I know we are to BE the Church, but part of that being is assembling with the Body, whether it is a house, outdoors or a cathedral.

    Blessings,
    Michael P.

    Michael Parnell

    9 Apr 08 at 2:48 pm

  28. Brother Phil,
    You’ve done it once again! Wonderful article. Loved and was blessed by the heartfelt dialogue from so many brothers and sisters in Christ pressing upward in Him. Praise God. Very encouraging. Forgive me for being a literalist at heart but you asked three questions and since they weren’t multiple choice, I’m going to give them my best shot…(humor).

    What do I believe Jesus is calling us to do in our culture? Hear and obey in every detail of our life.

    As of last week, we are not attending Sunday services but daily, actively pursuing relationships with those He has brought into our lives (both saved and unsaved) and attending a Bible study once a week also. Why not Sunday? We have recently experienced a multitude of confirmations through various books (Church Outside the Walls, Pagan Christianity), The God Journey website and family of God who have reaffirmed some things we have held in our hearts for years- that our Christian experience and relationship as the body of Christ; is not to be a spectator sport but a participation corporately in the Holy Spirit’s work both in and through one another…sorry for the blatant advertisements :)

    What one thing do I consider essential for Christian community? That’s like asking me to eat one Lay’s potato chip… I would have to say it’s Christ Jesus living through totally surrendered vessels by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Love and appreciate the gift of God in you!

    Gunner

    11 Apr 08 at 10:40 pm

  29. What do you believe Jesus is calling us to do as his people in our current culture?

    As congregants, to be servants to our neighbors, in all ways, and whether they fit our mold or not.
    Too many people who call themselves “Christians”, tend to be picky as to who they will help, because they are not living the life, the “Christians” think they should, and so therefore, tend to push people away, when we are supposed beckon them to come in.
    I was told this story of a young man who went to a church to check it out during the week, and when he entered was greeted by a deacon doing some work in the church, and was asked, what can I do for you? The boy said he was looking for a church because his mom suggested he start going to one. The deacon looked at him, and seeing how he was dressed, told him he should go down the street, where the poor folks are, and he would fit in better. The boy hung his head and started to walk out, when the deacon asked his name. The boy replied, “My name is Floyd, my mom calls me Pretty Boy.”
    Pretty Boy Floyd was one of the most notorious gangsters in US history.
    Imagine if the deacon would have accepted him.
    The ministers on the other hand, are responsible for feeding the body, and speaking life to those who have gotten lazy, and comfortable, and for also motivating them to work.
    The Elders need to help the Pastors, by doing the foot work in the community and the church, and the Deacons, are to assist the Elders with their responsibilities, as well as be servants to the Body of Christ.
    All in all, we are to be servants. Also to edify one another, in the body.

    Are you part of a regular church service, a house church, or do you not go to church at all — why or why not?
    25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 10:25
    Lokk at your spiritual life as a battery, and the assembling of the body, as the charger.
    What one thing do you consider essential for an authentic Christian community?
    Love one for another, and for the community.

    Revmark

    13 Jun 08 at 5:16 pm

Leave a Reply