Summary: The Bible isn’t a list of rules. The Bible is a relationship waiting to happen. You need Jesus. And Jesus isn’t going to leave you because you mess up
The Bible tells us how to live. Not necessarily as a list of rules, but, more like guidelines. Sometimes we confuse the Bible with a list of rules and then we really worry about whether we’re keeping them all or not. I know I used to live that way. The problem with trying really, really, really hard to keep all the rules and constantly worrying about whether or not you’ve made it through the day without any wrong doing is unrealistic. Of course you don’t make it through the day without doing wrong.
So maybe now you’re wondering what’s the big deal then if I mess up? Does it matter? Yes, it does, but maybe not for the reason you think. I want you to consider the most important question behind every action you take. The question is one word. “Why?” Your honest answer to this question is what God is ultimately interested in.
For example; you should ask “Why do I go to church?” The answer to that question is important to God. And it’s important for all of us, really. We’re all in this church thing together. The reality is that God knows. He knows why. And the reason you go matters more than the fact that you attend. If a person considers the Bible as a list of rules, then going to church becomes something that is important to do because it’s a rule. In other words, I go to church so that I don’t make God mad. The irony is that the person going to church because they believe it to be a rule has already ticked off God. He’s not interested in church attendance. If He was then we would have a Scripture that said, “Thou shalt not miss church or thou wilt be punished.”
Since I grew up thinking that the Bible was a list of rules I would read a verse like Hebrews 10:25 and think that if I missed church I was breaking one of God’s rules. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” The word the NLT translates as neglect means ‘to abandon’ or ‘desert’. And so a lot of folks who think the Bible is a list of rules will think this is one verse that says, “go to church.”
Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s a good thing to miss our worship time. What I’m teaching is that why you go is more important than the fact you’re in attendance. Let me ask it this way; is it possible for a person to neglect the church, it’s mission and purpose and yet still be physically in attendance on Sunday? Hebrews 10:25 provides the motive for why God wants us to spend time together. He says He wants us to encourage each other. So is it possible for someone to attend a worship time, to be present, but, completely miss the purpose for being there? I believe it is. This is why attendance is not the rule, but, encouraging each other is the guide that shapes our purpose for worshiping together. This is just one example of how it’s important for us to grasp a deeper truth, and we do this simply by asking ourselves, “why?”