“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
A great spiritual father and influence in my life used to say, “People used to go to church because they had something. Nowadays, they go to church to get something.” At the time, back in Bible school, I said “A-men” along with everyone else, trying to look like I knew exactly what He meant, but not really having a clue. 30 years of ministry later, I know EXACTLY what he meant.
The Church has not escaped the consumer mentality of our society. People go shopping for churches today, looking to ensure the one they choose has all the modern conveniences and amenities of a new car. “Will it service my needs, make me comfortable, and get me home again in a timely manner?” People are looking much more at what they can get than they are what they can supply.
When the writer to the Hebrews wrote about why we should be faithful to the house of God, he started by admonishing us to “consider one another,” meaning that church isn’t just about what we’re getting out of the experience, but what kind of investment we can make into the lives of others. The scriptures are clear that as members of the body of Christ, we are to supply our measure for the up-building of the church (see Ephesians 4:11-16). The scriptures are also clear that we are to speak the truth in love to one another (Ephesians 4:15), use the gifts with which God has equipped us (Ephesians 4:7 & 1 Peter 4:10-11), and give financially to meet the needs of the church to which we belong (see Malachi 3:3:10 & 2 Corinthians 9:1-8), that it grow in both numbers and maturity.
Today I appreciate the many ministries that are out there teaching and preaching the Word of God and enriching the lives of God’s people. However, I know that many of us found our way to Christ, not through a pastor or well-known minister, but through a friend who shared the love of Jesus with us and brought us to church. In my own experience, God brought various individuals into my life at various times, laymen and ministers alike, to assist me in finding His plan and purpose for my life.
If you have recently found a good church, you are blessed. If you haven’t found one and live close, we wold love to see you at West Kern Christian Center! But Satan, the enemy of your soul, will do his best to separate from your new church family. He knows that, isolated and alone, you are vulnerable and easy prey. He also knows that the longer you stay connected to Christ and His Church, you will grow and begin to make deeper and more significant contributions into the lives of other believers, helping them on their journey to maturity in Christ. While a good church is vital to your spiritual growth and maturity, it’s bigger than that. As a member of the body, your contribution and function are vital to the effective execution of God’s purpose in and through the church to which you belong. We are God’s agents of change in the earth, and without us taking our place and functioning like the body He’s called us to be, the world is bereft of the testimony of Christ.
I want to encourage you to get over, past, or around whatever barriers are keeping you from faithfulness to the house of God. Until you’re planted, you won’t grow or bear fruit. This is not child’s play. It’s not a game. This is real life, and God has no backup plan for touching the world. He has called us out from the world to be a light in the dark. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by Satan’s schemes. Don’t be a pawn. Take charge of your life, and offer it once and for all to God as a living sacrifice. Get moving down the path of God’s purpose for your life. As Paul said, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12).
Regardless of where you’ve been, or how far you’ve strayed, getting back on the path of God’s will for your life is just one step in the right direction away. That consecration must include participation in a local fellowship. There is no prescription for life as a believer in the New Testament that does not include that vital element. We are meant to do life as a body, and what you give to others is at least as important as the supply you receive from them.