Proverbs 5:23 For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.
Yet another singer/celebrity has just been quoted as saying “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.” Really? Where did that idea come from? It seems to me that the house churches, Mediterranean worship centers, local synagogues, and even the Jerusalem Temple, were all used by New Testament Christians to congregate in and worship God. They all supported, served, and loved one another, so that church going became a joyful and important event in their weekly lives.
To me, saying that “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian,” is like saying you don’t need oxygen to breathe, or you don’t need food to grow, or you don’t need water to live. Church going is at the heart of our faith. On Sunday mornings, when I see folks at church, I observe a lot of people who are struggling with issues concerning their families, their finances, and their futures. They come to church, not because they are holy, righteous, or perfect, but because they need to hear that God is still in control, and that people of God care for them. It also gives every one of them the opportunity to offer support and help to the rest of the body of believers.
When celebrities publicly say “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian,” what they are really expressing is that they are not willing to humble and discipline themselves to go to church. They’ll follow their own path, make up their own minds, live life according to their own beliefs rather than allowing the Church to augment their lifestyles, give them guidance, or bless their lives. Unfortunately, they usually end up with no faith at all and the wise, warning words of Proverbs are yet again fulfilled: “For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.”
Questions for personal reflection
What does going to church mean to me? How can I help others to experience church blessings?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You call the Church Your Bride because You are committed to its well-being, life, and mission. You established church long ago and by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, Your Church has grown into billions of followers on Earth, who regularly gather together to worship God and glorify Your Name. Thank You for this wonderful blessing of church, which helps us to become better Christians. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s drawings for World Communion Sunday, which annually takes place all over the world in churches on the first Sunday of October. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: WCS.