Maybe you’ve been hurt. Again, don’t give up on church.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25
Many view the church in a negative light. Religion, law and lackluster-love or no love are the culprits.
Relationship, not religion
There is a difference between organized religion and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Religion is man-made and it can’t save you. Relationship is from above and Christ is our Savior.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
Grace, not works
Religion goes wrong when it goes legalistic — an excessive adherence to law or formula.
“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law." – Galatians 2:16
The law is important because it shows us our need for the Savior. But if we think we can obtain favor with God through works, we minimize the blood of Christ in Salvation.
“And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation.” – Romans 5:9
We are not free to sin, but to live free in Him.
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace.” – Romans 6:14
God is love
Religion goes wrong when it takes out the Love of Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
God hates our sin, but He loves us all. He wants to save us all.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans 5:8
We need each other
So, why go to church if you will likely, in some form, encounter Bible-thumping lawmen and little or no love?
It’s because church is important. You can’t be a Lone Ranger Christian. We need each other. God made us that way.
“This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” – 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
You won’t find a perfect church, because they’re all filled with flawed people. But if you seek the Lord, He’ll put you where you belong.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
The church is a place that we’ll find a lot more good than bad and we shouldn’t let a little bit of bad keep us away from a lot of good.
The church is a chance to worship our God. In many parts of the world, a Christian can be killed for worshiping God – something that we take for granted.
Thank you God for the local church, a place where I can grow in You and serve others in Your Name. It’s a place where I can be part of something that is much more than just me. It’s a place I can be closer to You.
(Brian Whitmore is publisher of The Clinton Chronicle. He is a member of First Baptist Clinton.)