Now that we have covered information on the last days maybe it’s about time to start taking a look into different subjects to learn to live and grow in our relationship with our heavenly Father. Let’s start by looking to Jesus. There is nothing more important than focusing on the Messiah for the answers to all life situations and problems.
A conversation has recently been started on Facebook by a friend of mine who served in churches for many years. He has now completely turned against the organized church and does not attend anywhere. His reasons are that he has been disillusioned by deceit, being lied to, and hurt feelings, and it’s not only him, but he has seen his wife come home from church crying due to mean things said about her or things that have been said about him. I am not here to criticize this friend personally at all. I know this man, and he is deeply devoted to Christ. This is between him and the Lord, but there are a few things that this has brought to mind.
First of all, posting things on Facebook, or any public forum, that is negative about the church or Christianity can never be pleasing to God. This is not the first time I’ve seen this happen. I’m always prompted to think of all the unsaved people using the excuse not to attend church due to all the “hypocrites” there. Negative comments from Christians concerning our faith could possibly fuel their fire even more. Christians are a group of sinners who are like every other sinner in the world except for one difference – we are saved by His grace alone. Our sins are forgiven! Once we are saved, it doesn’t mean that we let go of all our sinful ways because our flesh is still a strong force in our lives. It just means that when we do mess up that we are convicted and have available to us forgiveness by repenting and asking our Lord for exoneration. He is faithful to forgive! (1 John 1:9)
When negative comments are posted concerning the organized church it may cause someone to never want to go to a house of God to hear the word, which could potentially prevent them from accepting Christ. Jesus started the church. He started it with Peter. (Matthew 16:18) The early church of the new covenant began in homes but eventually buildings were built, as evidenced by the seven churches of Revelation. These structures became known as the representation of the organized church. God approves of having premises where large groups of people can gather together to pray and sing praises to Him. He provided a tent for the Israelites in the desert for this purpose, and then had the temple built under Solomon’s guidance.
Conflict is bound to happen within churches, with some of them being handled properly and some not. And there are definitely things that go on among the congregation of the church that shouldn’t, just as in any setting that involves more than one person (ie: office, clubs, and even amidst families). One thing to keep in mind when disputes are present is that not everyone that attends church regularly has a personal relationship with Christ. Never forget that how we react to dissension within our place of worship may be an example to a lost person, even if it does stay within the walls of the building. There is a Biblical way to deal with difficult situations between fellow Christians clearly spelled out in Matthew 18:15-17, with the steps for achieving resolution being internal. But what about when issues arise that the solutions are not clearly spelled out in the scriptures such as using the church grounds as a marketplace, women being leaders in the church or something similar? A good way to figure out the answer is to look to Jesus. If the life of Jesus is closely scrutinized in these matters, the answer can always be found by His example.
My friend, whom I mentioned at the beginning of this post, was discouraged with church due to some conflicts he was having with others and was disillusioned by some hurtful comments. Let’s consider if Jesus’ feelings were ever hurt or if anyone ever was mean to Him in church. You don’t have to look far. After preaching His first recorded sermon in His own hometown, He was thrown out of the city and then those churchgoers even led Him out to a cliff to throw Him off! Those lovely church members wanted Him dead. (Luke 4:28-10). The scriptures tell us that He just went to another city and taught there (Luke 4:31). Jesus continued to attend synagogues, “as was His custom”( Luke 4:16), in spite of being despised and rejected by most of the leadership. And if there was ever anyone who didn’t need to go to church, it was Jesus, yet He continued to do so in spite of opposition in every church He ever attended. The Pharisees were never void of complaining about Him and trying to trick Him. A lot of backbiting was probably the norm even though they usually acted nice to Jesus while in public. The religious leaders were too afraid of the crowds to be unkind to Him to His face (Matthew 21:46), but yet we are never told that He ever forsook His “custom” of attending a place of worship.
In summary, before we do anything in this life, whether it’s posting something on Facebook or reacting to something in the church, we should examine the life of Jesus and ask ourselves, “What did Jesus do in a similar situation?” and ultimately, “Will this glorify God?”. That is our purpose. He created us to praise and glorify Him. And as far as the young man who inspired this post, it’s between him and the heavenly Father, but I will say, as far as this author is concerned, unless my health fails or I die, my car will be leaving my driveway every Sunday morning to go to His house to worship, “as is my custom”.