While sharing Jesus Christ during our weekly visitations, and inviting them to come to our church this Sunday, I heard over and over again this same thing: Who needs church!? They are already Christian and therefore don’t really need to attend church. They are already saved and no one needs a church to be saved.
Only about 28% of self-proclaimed Christians attend church on a regular basis and this number continues to drop. Many others who are not associated with Christianity are not so sure that Jesus is the only way to heaven. In today’s atmosphere of political correctness, it is not popular to proclaim Jesus as the only way to salvation, even though this is spread throughout the New Testament (ie, John 6:44). However, there is something missing here.
That something is the wonderful thing called unity. I heard about a fellow who courted a girl by writing her a beautiful love letter every day for two years without ever visiting her. He thought that would be a wonderful way to court her. Do you know what happened? She married the mail carrier! There is nothing like being there. There is nothing like personal contact. There is a sense in which Jesus Christ is present when His people gather that's not in any other sense. You cannot get it the same way at home. They are only reading God’s love letter at best (the Bible) but have no personal relationship with him or the Body of Christ.
In John 15:5, Jesus said that “I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. When I regularly trim the branches, huge limbs with still-green leaves abound…at least for a while. But the big pile is destined to be burned, since it is withering and dying, soon to be dead, When the branches are detached from the tree, they are useless to the me now (except as firewood: vs. 6). It has lost it’s source of nourishment, of feeding, of growth. It has also lost it’s protection from disease and the enemy of the insect world (ie, termites).
I consider myself the least of the Body of Christ. Let’s say I’m like the little toe. Now if I chop off my little toe, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to affect the rest of the body’s performance. It can not walk as swiftly or as steadily. Now if a surgeon tries to attach the little toe again, they can do it…but wait to long and it turns gangrene. It is useless and like a church member that thinks they can go it alone, then that little toe can be taken home early. Not lose it’s place in the body (their salvation) but of no use to the present earth-dwelling church. If God is finished with this little toe part of the Body of Christ, He may choose to take it home early or remove it.
Do you have a church home? If not, I encourage you to find one today. If church attendance isn't important, I wonder why Satan works so hard to keep folks away. If you do have a church home, make a special effort this week to meet a new friend and find a need they have which you can meet. It is not biblical if someone tells you that you don’t need to attend church. Paul says in Hebrews “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together as is the custom of some”. The words “do not” written by Paul, was God-inspired and therefore, from Jesus Christ Himself. It is an imperative command…not a helpful hint. And for some reason, the more often you miss each Sunday, the harder it becomes to go to the next one. I am not sure why, but before you know it, you haven’t been to church for two years!
Jesus plainly states: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Apart from Jesus I can do nothing at all of eternal significance. To bluntly say that (what other’s have told me) “church never saved anyone”. Well, the Church of Jesus Christ, which was said that nothing could prevail against it, saved hundreds (Acts) and thousands (today, through us, tracts, missionaries, etc.). They did not stay at home. The only way someone hears the gospel is through an organized body of believers (the church) who tell others about Jesus. Jesus is the Head of the church. Why have a Head when a body wasn’t going to be necessary? The church is not a head only! It is not body-less. We are all many parts of one body. God designed the church’s function as such.
No one who doesn’t attend church goes out to canvass the neighborhood to share Jesus every week or serve in a Children’s Ministry or provide school supplies to churches for low income families in the neighborhood. A stay-at-home Christian does not grow in grace and knowledge as they should, they do not witness to others as they should, they produce only carnal fruit, they lose opportunities to serve in the church and others in the church. No branch ever lived, apart from a vine.
A church never saved anyone. Christians can still be saved and not attend church. Salvation is not about works, like perfect church attendance, donating to the poor or their church, or never swearing or smoking. These are not pathways to God. There is only One. Not many different ways, but One alone. This One Way leads to the Door and there is only One Door. Salvation comes no other way, period. And this One Way, is not the broad path that most of the world seems intent on taking. Existentialism, transcendentalism, or the most popular way. If this were Burger King and not Salvation we were talking about, then you could have it your way.
This Only and only Way is a narrow, difficult path, that enjoins The Door. Don’t think it isn’t. But if anyone knocks, He will let them in. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Bread of Life. No person comes to God in any other way, but only through Jesus Christ (John 6:44). Not politically correct in today’s society, I realize, but this didn‘t inhibit Jesus from say this to the religious leaders of the day. All of chapter six (John) tells you about His Way that you can read for yourself. You can join in a corporate worship (church), not to be saved necessarily, but it just might make the Way a little more enjoyable and tolerable because your extended family is there. Not perfect, no. Just like you and I. He took care of the perfect part.
HOW TO RECEIVE & KNOW YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
I Admit – that I am a sinner and in need of a Savior (Rom 6:23)
I Abandon – self-effort and realize I can not be saved by my works or efforts (Acts 16:31)
I Accept freely Christ’s payment for my sins, required of the Father. (John 3:16)
I Acknowledge Jesus Christ as my personal lord and Savior (Acts 4:12)
If you have just received Jesus, you have now received God’s inheritance rights since youare now a son or daughter of His and can never be lost again & live forever (John 6:37 & 10:28-29). Now, join a Bible-believing church, or call 1-888-NeedHim (633-3446) for follow up questions about salvation that is only available through Jesus Christ. Jesus alone saves and there is no other way.