Do Christians need the Church more than the Church needs Christians?
Absolutely. God established Church. Judeo-Christian beliefs from Genesis to Revelation see the faithful as God’s people- corporately. Paul said in 1 Corinthians that we are a Body. A body is designed to have all of it’s parts to function properly. Each is different, but important.. The root word is “corpus” which means Body. We are to engage in corporate worship. So why don’t more Christians do that regularly?
A freshman in college sits at the gathering spot on campus with a sign that reads, “Ask me about church.” She hears people say it is filled with hypocrites and shallow minded-people. She hears others say they can worship Jesus on their own, thank you very much. They read the Bible, they have quiet time with God. They don’t need to go anywhere on Sundays. Others are anti-established religion because the churches have too many rules and only want your money.
She hears all sorts of reasons not to go to church. Her response is a simple shrug and a smile that twinkles in her eyes. “It makes me happy. It brings me peace. It lifts me up. It helps me understand God. I love my church. All I can say is, come see for yourself.”
“The Church is filled with hypocrites and narrow-minded people.” True – but they are the ones who know they need help. I heard it said that the church is like a spiritual hospital. The people inside know they are sick and are seeking healing. Some heal faster than others. Some do not do what the Great Physician orders. But all are admitted. It may seems hypocritical when we don’t “walk like we talk”, but hopefully, some the medicine of the Word is seeping in and beginning to work on our hearts and attitudes. For some it is a shot directly into the veins. For others, it is more like a slow-drip IV.
Many outsiders mistakenly see conviction as a synonym for narrow- mindedness. My church has a motto – Come as you are, but leave as God wants you to be. Christianity accepts all – but the gate to salvation is narrow. Jesus said so. He also said He is the Way, the Truth, not “a way” and “a truth”. The truth is, people don’t want to change. That is being narrow-minded.
I can worship Jesus on my own, thank you very much. I read the Bible, I have quiet time with God. I don’t need to go anywhere on Sundays. But church is more than paying homage to God. If it wasn’t, we could just send a check by electronic bank transfer and stay home on Sunday morning in our PJs with our Bibles.
We need to be with fellow believers. Jesus told the disciples if they gathered in His name He’d be with them. He sent them out two by two – together – to do His work. God knows there is strength in the gathering of His people. Worshiping as a group is the standard throughout the Bible. When did we make it a “me” thing?
Last Sunday in his sermon, my youth pastor referred to the church as Noah’s ark. We need to gather in it to be sheltered from life’s storms. Believers need to be in relationship with each other to comfort, correct, and carry each other’s burdens to the Cross. We should keep each other in check, lift each other up, and provide strength to fight the earthly battles we face in a world that doesn’t hold to the same values and beliefs we do. No soldier goes into battle alone. Even when David defeated Goliath, I bet there were soldiers praying in the background.
Jesus told Peter that he’d build his church on him – the rock. Peter tells the newly converted, “Save yourselves from this crooked world.” (Acts 2:40.) Not alone…the very next verse says, “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand.” (v.41) Added to what? The church. What did they do next? “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (v.42) In other words, they stuck together, remembered Christ together in a shared meal per His command at the Last Supper, and worshiped together. That is church in it’s purest sense.
Satan divides, God unites. Jesus will never call you away from the fellowship with believers to spend time with Him. If you ever feel like not going to church, other than being very ill or injured, you can rest assured that is when you need to be there. Church keeps the Body functioning to ward off the disease of sin. There will be a message you need to hear, a prayer that will be answered, or a boost of spiritual fortitude from a hymn to help you in the upcoming week. Or you may be who God uses to bless someone else. When you don’t go to church, you may be causing someone to stumble. You have no idea who will need your smile, your prayer, or your hug that day. But God does.
They are anti-established religion because the churches have too many rules . Hey, God has rules. They are called the Ten Commandment. One of the Commandments is to keep the Sabbath and make it holy. The rest of them deal with how we are to live and worship. The church is only following God’s commands. True, some congregations have become a bit Pharisee-like. But humans are works in progress. If the church you’ve been attending have rules which seem too strict, seek God’s counsel about that. See if they are man-made or Biblically based. Talk with your pastor. If you are still uncomfortable, don’t stop going to worship. Find another church. Just make sure the church you choose preaches the Ten Commandments of God, and of Christ Jesus – love God and love your neighbor. It should also spur you to change, to become more Christ like. It should be accepting of those who are sinners, but encourage them not to sin in a loving, life-changing and supportive manner.
Some people grumble that all the church wants is money. Not true. Yes, it is an organization that operates solely on the financial gifts of others. However, it is God who wants your money — and also your time, and the talents He has bestowed upon you. He asks for only 10% of each– your money, your talents to spread and support the Body, and your time in serving Him on earth. That 10% to does more good when combined with others’ 10%. There is power in that. The church is the best vehicle for channeling your money.
Besides, tithing is solely a discipline to help you realize all belongs to God, not you. It is a minimum, but one we all should strive to meet, not because God needs it, but because we do. Once you begin to strive to tithe, you will find you have more control over how you spend and save your money, how you spend your time, and how you view your self worth.
Do Christians need the Church more than the Church needs Christians? You bet. But, so does the rest of the world. Open you hearts, open your doors – and each Sunday, walk inside to be blessed and to be a blessing.