MUSINGS OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE ORGANIZED CHURCH
What would happen if Christians quit doing what God never told them to do? I know that sounds like an odd statement to make. Think about it, though. How many of us do things God never told us to do? We even do things God never intended for us to do. Yet we think we are doing God's will.
Sometimes people think we need more religion in our society. As I look around, I don't really see a lack of religion. What I see is a lack of real relationships with Jesus from those who are professing they are Christians. You see there is a difference between professing and possessing. Jesus told us true believers would be known by the fruit they produce in their lives.
I believe a "Pharisee spirit" has permeated the church today. In fact, I'd say this spirit has saturated the church. If you recall, the Pharisees in Jesus' day thought they were really something. They not only held to the law, but they also added to the law their own man-made rules and regulations for the people to follow. It was quite burdensome. Many so called ministers and churches in our day have added their own rules and regulations. Anything to burden the people and keep them reliant on the "professional clergy".
I have a habit of looking at church bulletin boards when I have occasion to be in one of their buildings. Many years ago Cindy and I where in a church for a service. As was my custom, I took a look at their bulletin board. There was a list posted on the bulletin board that left me shaking my head. You see, the pastor has posted a list of do's and don'ts you would have follow if you was going to be a part of this church. Would it surprise you to know that very few, if any, of this pastor's rules had any basis in Scripture? How pathetic is that?
We need to quit putting people in bondage! We need to set aside our do's and don'ts and preach and teach the Bible just like it is to people just like they are. Let God do the changing. A relationship with Jesus brings freedom. Freedom from the bondage of sin. The gospel is not a negative thing, but rather a positive thing. Too often we emphasize the negative. I once heard someone say, "If we spend our times doing the do's we aren't going to have time to do the don'ts." I like that.
How many times have you been told you need to go to church? I appreciate the sentiment, but that's not exactly right. God never called us to GO to church. He called us to BE the church. Yes, we are to gather with other believers to encourage and spur one another on in our walk with God. These gatherings should be something to look forward to not something to endure. There's a lot of "one anothering" that should go on in our gatherings. Here I go....I digress. This is another blog post for another day.
Let's get back to the subject at hand. Trying to follow all the guidelines man puts on you will lead to confusion. Scripture tells us God is not the author (originator) of confusion. If God isn't in it than we don't need or want it. How about we stop listening to man and start listening more closely to God? After all, we are to be followers of God, of Jesus, not followers of man.
In upcoming blog posts we will look at a number of things we do that God never told us to do. These are things He never intended for us to do. We'll be kicking over "sacred cows" along the way. I say enough of man-made ideas! Let God be God!
For a more in depth study on these things, I recommend the book "Pagan Christianity?" by Frank Viola and George Barna. It will amaze and challenge you. We need to be challenged to be the Christians God wants us to be.
If we quit doing what God never told us to do I truly believe the church would be more effective and have the freedom to have a greater impact in our world than we ever imagined. Let's be the church God ordained us to be! This has nothing to do with denominational labels or which man is going to be "in charge". Jesus gave His life for the church. He is the Head of the church. If God wants me to be the toenail on the pinky toe of this body, then I'll be the best toenail I can be. I'll be happy with that.
Until next time, let's enjoy this journey!