Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hope of the World

Hope of the World

I don't know what your view of Church is?  For some it's a building you go to on Sundays, for others it's a place where you socialize, for some it's a place where you grew up going, for others it's where you met the Lord and gave your life to Him, for others it's something you are a part of or belong to.

The truth is the Church is not a building, or a social club, or anything else.  The Church is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ.  After Jesus resurrected from the dead and ascended back to Heaven, He established the church in Acts Chapter 2 to represent Him on this earth and fulfill His commission or reaching lost people and making disciples with the gospel message of Jesus Christ until He returns for His Church.

The Church matters.  Attending church services will not save you, having your name in some membership book at a church building will not get you to heaven.  Being a member of the Church is about belonging to the body of Christ.  Becoming an actual body part (member) of His body, the Church.

When you give your life to Christ and are baptized into Him, you become a part of His body, His Church.  Your attendance to church services or involvement in serving in the Church should be out of love and devotion to Jesus for all that He's done for you, not out of habit, tradition, obligation or misunderstanding of what the church is. 

It can be confusing with all the different church groups out there, or the way you were raised, or what you've been told by others, but all we have to do is turn to the Bible, God's Word and read and study His intent, design, and will for His Church.  The Church.  The one Church.  Mankind has screwed up the mission, the meaning, and they look of the Church.  But God's intent was for the Church to be the body of Jesus that represents Him on this earth and sharing the gospel with those who don't know Jesus and building up those who become Christians.

Preacher and author Bill Hybels said this about the church: “The local church is the hope of the world, and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders.”  God's plan for the church is simple, to be the hope of the world.  We are to bring hope to the world through the story of Jesus Christ and share that love and salvation with everyone we can.  So that anyone who doesn't know Jesus can.  Also, once people become Christians they need training and understanding (discipled) so they can grow and mature in their faith.

The Church can't be the Church if members don't show up or come for the wrong reasons. The Church can't be the Church is we all don't do our part and serve for the right reasons.  The Church can't be the Church is the church body doesn't know why or how to do their job.  The Church can' tbe the Church if the Church isn't fulfilling it's mission.

The Church matters.  The Church is the hope of the world.   The Church is the body of Christ.  I am a part and a member of His Church. 

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Being there

Being There

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let me start out by saying attending church services does not save you.  Many people attend churches services weekly and leave unchanged.  However, there is a reason why we have church services and why we go to church services.  It's because we are a member of the body of Christ (the Church) and because we are members of Christ, we should not only desire, but commit to being with the other body parts when they assemble together to worship, study, and serve.  Being involved in church services benefits you and benefits the church if we have our heart and minds on God.

I've seen too man people "skip" church services because they don't like the sermon series, or what the teacher is teaching in Sunday School, or the preacher is boring, or theirs a guest speaker because the pastor is gone, or whatever excuses we make to miss church.  Or they put other things before church and easily miss services or don't attend consistently.  First of all, if you have to make excuses or find reasons to miss church services, the problem is you not the Church.  Your heart is hard or your attitude is bad. You need to repent. NO excuses.

Secondly, you also have missed the point of going to church services.  You've made them about you and they are about God.  When we go to church whether to worship, bible study, Sunday school, small groups, or whatever types of services your local church has you are there to honor, worship, and give God glory first and foremost. It shouldn't matter what the sermon is about, what the lesson is on, or who is the one speaking or teaching. It's about God not us. You are also there to participate.

Thirdly, you are a valuable part of the body of Christ. Each part is important and special in the body, yet most local churches have a lot of missing, irregular, or uncommitted parts.  When you are missing from the body it does effect the body.  You miss out on a blessing or learning or growing or worshipping or serving, but the body suffers too with your absence or inconsistency.   When you are there, the body is full, you have change to encourage someone else, to bless someone else, or be used by God in some way.

I don't care what the sermon or lesson is about, who's the one delivering it, or what you got planned,  we all can gain something from God's Word and God can use any lesson, sermon, or messenger to challenge us, convict us, deliver us, heal us, or encourage us.  We have to change our attitude and stop acting like the church should cater to us and we're only going to participate when it benefits us.  We need to repent of such attitudes and behaviors. We also need to realize when we go to church services we are actively participating in the body of Christ and worshipping our Creator! We also need to prioritize our faith and our church membership. What better way to show your appreciation and adoration to God then showing up and participating in His body! 

We are all valuable parts of the body of Christ.  We belong to Him.  He can't use us if we're not present or available to Him.  While church services won't save you, they can help you and help the body if we all show up and show up with the right mindset.  Let's be present in the body both spiritually and physically so that the body of Christ is built up!  Don't make excuses to miss services, but be committed to God and His Church that you are supposed to be a part of, You are the Church!