Published 9:58 pm Friday, July 27, 2012
By Chris Surber
Let me get this straight. You claim to be a Christian, agree that the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God, and recognize that God desires for His children to be ever increasing in sanctification, but you don’t go to church because, as you say, they are always telling you what to do?
Let’s unpack this a bit. Buildings don’t talk. So surely you are being more specific than that. The people in the main part of a church service don’t talk, so you must not be referring to them.
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The person in church who does most of the talking is the pastor. In fact, this pastor commented only a week ago that he lives and dies mostly by what he says or writes. Pastors point to Christ. A pastor’s words ought to point to Jesus. Faithful pastors have Scripture to support the words out of their mouth.
Could it be that when you boil it down, you do not go to church because the worship taking place convicts the heart and the Scripture has truths of standards and accountabilities that apply to your life that you cannot accept?
Professing faith in Christ while rejecting His teachings and their implicit applications to your life is a bit like believing in the power of your car but choosing to walk across the country because you are not going to have that car be the boss of you. That would be senseless. It is just as nonsensical for a person to claim to believe in Jesus while rejecting His community, pushing against His expectations, and balking at his guidelines for living.
The 20th-century Christian philosopher and writer G.K. Chesterton said, “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It is that it has been found difficult and left untried.” Jesus said, “I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18) The writer of Hebrews tells believers not to forsake the gathering of the saints. (Hebrews 10:25)
With all respect for you and zeal for the Lord, I must ask: Is the real answer to why you do not attend church is that you have not met the Jesus who builds His church? Perhaps you have met another version of Jesus. You know the “righteous dude” Jesus who welcomes sinners and takes no issue at all with their continuance of sin? You may have met that Jesus but he is a lot like Bizarro in the old Superman comics. He is an odd, cheap, counterfeit, unstable, untrustworthy, incapable, vile version of the real thing.
The Jesus who builds His church has rules, standards, and if you profess Christ inside or outside of the company of His church, His Book and His words are unchanged. Jesus does bring the love of God. However, the love of God is a consuming fire that affects everything it comes in contact with. (Hebrews 12:29)
Friend, be careful about following the righteous dude Bizarro Jesus. He is quick to affirm our folly and just as quick to fail us when we are in need of a real savior.
Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.