Summary: Third in the "You Should Be Committed" Series
This is the third message in our series, "You Should Be Committed".
The first message dealt with the issue of excuses (not reasons) that those profess Christ give in being out of fellowship in the local church. These reasons ranged anywhere from the ludicrous (I had to mow my lawn, I had to work at 3 PM when church was at 11 AM) to ones that the church has brought upon itself in some cases (hypocrisy, cliques, unloving attitudes to divorced and others in distress). In short, a Christian is commanded in Hebrews 10:25 to not "forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the manner of some" and other than death, illness and required work schedules to abandon church attendance is sin.
The second message last week dealt with the top ten reasons and benefits of being in church:
1) Shows our love for God
2) Spiritual Strength Building
3) The Lord's Presence
4) Fellowship with other Christians
5) Obedience to God
6) Accountability to spiritual leadership
7) Corporate Prayer
8) Remembrance of the Lord's Day
9) Blessing to the Christian
10) Edification of Believers
Overall--and some may consider this harsh but it's true--there is a huge lack of commitment in the American church. People do not understand that when a person is really saved by Jesus Christ that it is not an optional thing to be involved in a local church.
As Christians, our purpose as stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith is "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever". Many that profess Christ no little about Him; they treat Him more like the jilted lover than the loved Savior. They have an attitude of "well, I love Jesus but He is not the boss of me".
This week, we will discuss how the American church--starting with OUR church--must change. I do believe that we are nearing the time of the Rapture of the church because of the widespread apostasy and false; however, that does not mean that we should stand by and just allow this to happen. We must be agents of change, and the change must start with YOU. Are you "All In"?
Biggest Complaint Against Those That Profess Christ
It's not really hard to find the biggest complaint about those that profess Christ by those outside the church.
Before we examine this issue, let's make sure that we understand a key name that I am using: those that profess Christ. As I have stated many times, just because you are a professor of Christ does not mean you are a possessor of Christ. I professed Christ for years but did not possess Christ--actually become saved--until 1996 at the age of 37.
With these terms in mind, the biggest complaint against those that profess Christ is that they act no better than the rest of the people on Planet Earth. People know--yes KNOW--that Christians are to be different. While some of those outside the faith (those that deny Christ and those that have not made a decision, which technically is denying Christ) expect Christians to act perfectly, there are quite a few that say--and with good justification--a statement like this:
"Yeah, ol' Billy Bob goes to church every Sunday. I see him walk into the church, I see his picture in the paper along with others at church events, but if only you knew how he acts the rest of the week! If he is what a Christian is, I sure don't want to be one. Billy Bob takes home "employee five finger discount" stuff from work, he screams at his wife and cusses like a sailor. For pete's sake, I can act that way all by myself, all on my own, without having to hang out with hypocrites on Sundays!"
Those outside the church (that is, the body of Christ) may well expect more from us that is correct, but I do think that Billy Bobs are more common that not. We can understand if someone is merely a professor of Jesus; unless Jesus has saved them then the Holy Spirit does not live within them. However, I think that there is a massive amount of people that are saved that do not act the part, and thus paint a big red and white target church for the unsaved.
Let's just put this in common sense terms. Those that profess must understand that if there's "No change, then there's no change". In other words, if you live like Hell that is probably your destination no matter how much you say "I love Jesus!". That being said, there are also those that really are saved--and this may well be you--that may have never really grown up in the faith. You may be, like the writer of Hebrews said above, one "who partakes only of milk (and) is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. In other words, still a breast fed baby Christian feeding on the mere milk of and not grown up. With this being the most Biblically illiterate generation in modern times, is it any wonder that the church is filled with brawling, spoiled brat children?