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"I DON'T NEED THE CHURCH."
I stopped a few years ago to encourage someone who had left the church. This was the response I received from that person for asking her why she gave up on church. "God is everywhere! I don't need to go to church! Church is people helping others and most churches fail to do that!" She said. I agreed with all that this person said. But I also reminded her that Jesus established the universal church and the local church. Just go read the New Testament and you will see that God's desire is for people to be involved in the local church because the local churches make up the universal church. Just read the book of Revelation the first few chapters stress the roles of the local churches. It also reveals their divine mission.
This individual replied, "I was in church last week helping my neighbor work on her bathroom!" I responded, "It's great to help others out that is very important part of church life but the first four commandments talk about our relationship with God." So I asked, "How did you worship God on Sunday? Did you raise your hands and sing songs to Him in the bathroom as you were putting tile on the wall? Is just helping someone out by serving them worshipping God? Is this all I need to do? Am I not instructed in the Bible to have prayer time with God and with others? Am I not encouraged to sing worship songs to God with others? Hebrew's tells us to worship together with others and is this not what God wants?
I challenged her on some of her comments and things got real quiet and awkward. Then I asked her how the kids were. This was her response, "They are into their drugs and party life. They have dropped out of school. But they will be fine learning things the hard way. She adds. "They are in trouble with the law and owe over $500 dollars in fines but so what." She uses a few choice words to tell me how she can't wait to get rid of them. Interesting I thought?
Then I asked her how she was doing. This person looks at me with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth with a tinge of anger seeping out at my questions and says, "I am right where God wants me!" I thought to myself "I don't think so!" Then I challenged her once again on the importance of having a relationship with God and His Church. We did a little small talk and I left her home that day shaking my head. I drove down the road and as I was driving I prayed that God would reveal to her how deceived she is in her thinking.
Then I prayed for her and her family. I talked to God in the car and thought here is a person telling everyone she is "Born Again" and "Serving God". She is telling everyone she is where God wants her and she says she does not need the church! How sad! A few thoughts raced through my mind -- this is not God's plan for her and her children. This family disintegrated over the years, she lost her house, her children became drug dealers and went to prison. I have lost contact with her and have no idea where she is at today. While they were part of New Life up North, they were thriving spiritually, the kids were actively involved in kids ministry and youth group. But she became offended at something in the church -- I still don't know what -- she became unforgiving and bitter and threw God's Church away and in so doing threw her children away to drugs and bondage.
She is like some Christians today who have a distorted view of the church and a distorted view of God. This deception has affected her life, her kid's lives and it's affecting the divine mission of the Body of Christ. Because she tells everyone she is a "Born Again Christian". But in reality her testimony--her life, her actions--did not align with God's Word as it defines a disciple of Christ in the New Testament.
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