Home> The Lower Lights> June 2002

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  Alan Jones, Editor

  (734) 942-7956

 

 

 

"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48166     

Volume 1                                                                          June 2002                                                                                  No12

Full width / PDF printable version

RELIGIOUS SURVEY:  WHY DO YOU GO TO YOUR CHURCH?

IT IS THE CLOSEST CHURCH TO MY HOUSE _____

I REALLY LIKE THE PREACHER- HE HAS A GREAT PERSONALITY _____

THE PREACHER HAS AN EXCELLENT SERMON DELIVERY _____

I ENJOY ALL THE CHURCH SOCIAL ACTIVITIES _____

THE CHURCH TEACHES WHAT I BELIEVE _____

I'VE GONE THERE ALL MY LIFE _____

PARENTS OR OTHER RELATIVES ARE/WERE MEMBERS THERE _____

CHECK AS MANY ANSWERS AS YOU LIKE AND THEN READ BELOW

 

CHURCH SHOPPING

It is commonly accepted that men are free to join the church of their choice. So, men often shop for a church like they shop for groceries. People looking for a grocery store look at such things as price, quality, service, and convenience and choose a store that has what they are looking for. Or perhaps they simply choose to buy their groceries where their parents buy/bought them. They go there out of habit and because they are familiar with where everything is. Some people shop for the church which has what they are looking for. Others just stick with the one that they've grown up in, where their family is, and where everyone and everything is familiar. Let's examine the choices in the survey above in light of the Scriptures.

 

Should I choose a church because it is close to my house? Jeroboam knew that men loved con-venience. So when he changed the worship of Israel from the worship of golden calves, he put one in the northern part of his kingdom (at Dan) and one in the southern part of his kingdom (at Bethel) and then told the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem." They went to these more convenient sites and "this thing became a sin", a sin which eventually led to the destruction of Israel (1 Kgs 12:28-30). The question must not be, "Is the church convenient?", but "Is the church worshipping and teaching in a way which is right with God?"

 

Is the magnetic personality of the preacher what should draw me to a church? To follow men instead of Jesus is folly. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church who had wrongly set their preachers up on a pedestal, "Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor 1:13). Substitute your preacher's name for Paul's in these questions and the answers will be the same. One should not be a part of a church because of any man.

 

My preacher is such a dynamic speaker. Should this be the basis of my choice of a church? Paul said he was not a great orator, but stood before men with fear and trembling. The power of his preaching was not in how he spoke, but in what he spoke about- Jesus and Him crucified, that his hearer's faith would not rest on his wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor 2:1-5). He warned of smooth talkers who would deceive people into believing something other than the gospel (Rom 16:17-18). We must look for a church where the preacher delivers

 

 God' s truth. How he delivers it is not of importance.

 

 Should I look for a church which has a fellowship hall in which to eat dinner? A gymnasium/family life center in which to play basketball or watch plays? A bus in which to ride to the amusement park? After Jesus miraculously fed 5000, they came looking for Him. They did not come because His miracles had made them believers who wished to be His disciples. Jesus said that they came because they "ate of the loaves and were filled". (Jn 6:26) How sad it is that many do not desire to be a part of a church because they want to be Jesus' disciples, but because they want "the loaves" of the social activities which churches offer. And, it is even sadder that churches offer these worldly promotions to draw people in rather than letting the Cross be the drawing power to true discipleship. (Jn 12:32).

 

If one doctrine is as good as another, wouldn't it be alright if I just found a church which agreed with what I believe? This would be true, if doctrine did not matter. But, it does!! John wrote,

 

"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God" (2 Jn 9). Paul warned that the time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine, but would shop for teachers who would teach what they wanted to hear (2 Tim 4:1-4). I must not look for a church which fits my belief, but a church which teaches sound doctrine, the doctrine of Christ.

 

Perhaps I'm not shopping for a church at all. I am content to stay where I've gone all my life. My parents brought me to the church and they still attend there. The people, the church building, the worship and teaching are all familiar. Everything is comfortable. But, should I be there? Is the worship and teaching according to sound doctrine? I need to find out. If it is not, then I need to have the courage to leave my "comfort zone", the courage which Paul showed in forsaking the traditions of his fathers when he found out that they were wrong, in order to gain Christ (Phil 3:4-8).

 

Men are not free to join the church of their choice. If you are shopping for a church, let sound worship and teaching draw you to a sound church. If you are content in the church where you are at, should you be shopping? Perhaps a study of Jesus' teaching will show that you should go elsewhere. In any case, let the teaching of Christ and not any other consideration be the basis of your decision!!

 


 

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