A church is not a church

Jul

09

2021

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Jul

09

2021

July 9, 2021 – Click here to listen

A friend of mine has daily studied the Bible extensively with me for well over a year. When he started, he knew practically nothing about the Bible, but now knows more than most. He has been a devout Catholic for most of his life and attributes his prior lack of understanding to that church’s failure to preach the word of God.

So, Monday he wrote to inform me that he attended Catholic mass in a foreign country, and he couldn’t understand a word of what was being said. I laughingly responded, “What’s new with that? You’ve been attending Catholic mass all your life and haven’t learned much of anything but how to chant repetitive, mindless prayers and to hail Mary the mother of Jesus. I told him he should find a good church to attend and forget about mass.

He wrote me back and said church was church.

I replied to him that his statement was just inaccurate, and he should know better from his Bible study.  We should all first understand in general what God’s purpose for the church – the body of Christ is. There are two predominant truths about the church. First, “the church of the living God is the pillar and foundation of the truth”. Second, Christ alone is the head of the church. I don’t know where that leaves the Pope or priests for that matter. The Bible states unequivocally that we should call no man “Father” except God who is in heaven.

In short Christians should attend a local fellowship that declares Christ’s headship in all matters of doctrine and practice. No man, whether pastor, priest, or pope, is the head of the church. All men die. How can the living church of the living God have a dead head? It cannot. Christ is the church’s one supreme authority, and all church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are appointed through His sovereignty, as found in the Scriptures.

When seeking a church to attend, we should find one where, according to biblical standards, the gospel is preached, sin is condemned, worship is from the heart, the teaching is biblical, and opportunities to minister to others exist. While no church is perfect. At best, it is still filled with saved sinners whose flesh and spirits are continually at war, and that is why it is imperative that we understand that God has to be the head of the church.

I’ve attended everything from stoic Catholic churches where ritual was the main attraction and prayers seemed to be mindlessly chanted and I’ve attended charismatic churches whereby a few minutes into the service I was seriously wishing I would have worn my snake-proof boots because I anticipated snake handlers to come out at any moment. And I’ve attended all kinds of churches in-between.

My conclusion is that we should pray and ask God to help us find a church that uses biblical standards to preach the gospel; a church where sin is condemned, all teaching is biblical, a place where worship of almighty God is a given, and opportunities to minister to others is a priority. Does your “church” attempt to conduct services according to those standards? If not, maybe it is time to try some other churches.

I’ve found in life that many, if not most folks, attend the church that their ancestors attended. (My daddy was a Catholic, his daddy was Catholic, and his daddy’s daddy was a Catholic and by golly I’m a Catholic.) The problem is those relatives will not be with you when you face Jesus. You will be alone kneeling before God at the judgment. You will be held accountable for what YOU did in this life and not what they did. Use your own mind, spirit, and prayer to determine which church you attend.

Okay no ugly letters please. I’m not saying all Catholics are going to hell. I am saying that church is very important in the life of a believer, it makes sense to understand what the Bible has to say about attending a God-ordained church.

Ephesians 1:22
And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church . . .

Have a great weekend and go to Church this Sunday!

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