There is a danger in “going TO church”. I know this will lift some eyebrows. It’s not about “going to” but “committing to”.
Read these powerful words from R Kent Hughes, pastor emeritus from the Wheaton Church, a commentary on those who will NOT commit to a local church:
“We have today ecclesiastical hitchhikers. The hitchhiker’s thumb says “you buy the car, you pay for the gas and the upkeep, you pay for the insurance—but I will ride with you.”
If you have an accident you are on your own. I may even sue. This is the creed of so many of today’s church attenders.
“You go to the meetings, you serve on the boards, you deal with the issues, you pay the bills and I will come along for the ride. But if things do not suit me, I’ll criticize and complain and probably bail out—my thumb is always out for a better ride.”
These hitchhikers have their own vocabulary. “I go to” or “I attend” but never “I am a member of”, that is too committal for them.
There is a vast number of people out there without
accountability, without discipline or discipleship and without relationships that come from the body.”
I get asked all the time….”Pastor Tim, do I have to go to church to be a Christian?” And the answer is obviously “NO”….you are still saved by Grace through the work of the cross.
So you do not need to go to church to be a Christian but you need to go to church TO BE A GROWING CHRISTIAN.
CHURCH DOES NOT GET YOU SAVED BUT IT SURE HELPS YOU GROW AFTER YOU GET SAVED. You cannot grow without the body of Christ. I can’t say that enough. But growth is associated with commitment to that local church not attending. The attender can leave any time, the committed have to work through issues.
We have so many churches today in America and so many church attenders but not many growing Christians.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, how some people must love church.
I think it is better said that absence makes the heart go wander.
Listen to these sobering words from RC Sproul:
“it is both foolish and wicked to suppose that we will make much progress in sanctification if we isolate ourselves from the visible church. Indeed, it is commonplace to hear people declare that they don’t need to unite with a church to be a Christian. They claim that their devotion is personal and private, not institution or corporate. This is not the testimony of the great saints of history; it is the confession of fools”
“The church is like Noah’s ark….the stench on the inside would be unbearable if it weren’t for the storm on the outside.”
We stink a lot but the storm is really , really bad on the outside. Here’s some advice…stay in church, hold your nose, and realize that when people are around you, they are holding their nose too. Because we all stink , even after being saved by grace. Our bridal gown is still being cleaned and pressed.