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(WHAT DO YOU GO TO CHURCH FOR???)
SCRIPTURE - MAT. 11:7-9
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
SUBJECT - WHAT DO YOU GO TO CHURCH FOR??
This month's subject deals with a question, that Jesus asked the multitudes nearly 2000 years ago, and one that needs to be asked today, to every one that names the name of Christ.
Jesus, upon seeing the multitudes following Him, and being aware that many of them, also were followers of John the Baptist, put a question to them, not wishing to embarrass anyone, he simply put forth the question as to what, exactly were they following John and Him, for??
If you remember, John, put forth a similar question, to the Pharisees, when they came to one of his meetings, 'But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.' (Mat. 3:7-9).
In both instances, they both knew, that among the multitudes of their followers, while most of them were there, truly seeking God, and His Righteousness, there were some that had other motives, and it was these, that He was addressing, without calling them out.
Today, there are millions of people, that name the name of Christ. They are faithful members of the 'body of Christ.' Every Sunday, you can see them in church. Some of their churches are large with several thousand members, while others are little more than storefronts, with 10 or more members.
However, in just about every instance, there are some, that come every Sunday, and sing gospel songs, and shout and otherwise, display, genuine Christian behavior, in church, that have ulterior motives. They are there in body, so to speak, but not in Spirit.
Just like the Pharisees, and Sadducees, came to Jesus' meetings, to plague Him, and to find ways of stopping what He was doing, There are those that are among us that, not only come for these reasons, but they also come for various other reasons. Here are just a few.
Some people go to church, because they want to look like they are Holy.
Every Sunday, they are in church. Their neighbors usually see them all dressed up, every Sunday, heading out to the car, bible in hand, with smiles on their faces, and waving to their neighbors. Neighbors that, during the week, they either have no time for them, because they are too involved with their own self aggrandizement, thinking they are too good to associate with them. Or they may want to be spoken good of by the neighbors, so, they can obtain some popularity in the neighborhood, especially if they are thinking about running for some public office, people will say, they are good church going people.
To make it short, they go to church, strictly to be well spoken of, in their community.
Then, there are those that go to church, to be made to feel good.
When I talk about being made to feel good, I am talking about being supported in their sin.
These people, are not attending churches that preach salvation, through repentance (turning away from sin). No. They seek out churches, that speak little, if at all about sin, and the need for repentance.
The churches they seek out, and there are many of them, only speak about the love of God for the sinner, and that everybody sins, and there is no person that can live a sinless life, so no one should judge another.
They are supported in their belief, that their sin, is not their fault.
They believe that just like the woman that was caught in the act of adultery, that no one should be casting stones, because none are without sin. (St. John 8:4-7)
Then, we have those that go to church, to be entertained.
That's right. They seek churches that have popular choirs, or preachers that 'show out' while they preach.
Not saying that the choirs, or the preachers are at fault, but rather that the person, likes this type of venue, because they get thrills out of listening to, and watching people, 'perform.'
They see the choir, moving around, singing, and waving their hands, to an upbeat song, that 'rocks'. Then you have preachers that can preach so good, and perform, like James Brown.
They shout, sweat, rhyme, drop down on their knees, sound like they are gasping for air, with guttural sounding words, and the whole ball of wax. And these things thrill some people, so they seek out churches
that have these qualities. Any other church setting, and they are bored, and 'out of there.'
Then, there are those that go to church, because it is a church, where celebrities attend, or may even be pastored by a celebrity preacher.
You would be surprised, at how many people fit in to this area.
Their interest in being a member of a particular church, is only to be able to tell others, who they see in church in church every Sunday, and how they rub elbows with the 'rich and famous.'
Maybe it is the pastor, that is the focus of their attraction. Some times it is one, or more of the members. In either case, if it wasn't for these people (talking about the popular) being in that church, then these people, wouldn't be there either.
Then, there are those that attend the church, because, of the church, itself.
It may be a big, beautiful, multimillion dollar architectural masterpiece. It may be the most popular church in the city. It may have air conditioning, wall to wall carpeting, cushioned pews, stained glass windows, and more amenities.
Then, there are others, as suprising as it may seem, go to church, because they hold a position in it.
They may be a deacon. They may be in the choir. They may be the organist, or other member of the band. But that is not all. They may be the pastor, or even bishop.
Then they may be members, because their families, helped build the church.
There are many reasons, that people attend church, just like there were many reasons that people followed Jesus.
It is human nature, to be attracted to something, because of something that outwardly presents something, that the flesh likes.
However, the problem with all of these attractions, while appeasing to the flesh, do absolutely nothing for the spirit. And friend, that is what the church, is for.
It is not there to entertain. It is not there to make you feel good, especially if you are living in sin. It is not there to be a social club, so you can brag about who you know, or go to church with. It is not your personal money maker, or stage to promote yourself.
It is there to do one thing, primarily, and that is to deliver the word of God, so that people can get saved, and live lives that are pleasing to God.
Now, as you look at these reasons, which describes your reason for going to the church you go to???
You probably never gave it a second thought, did you??
You have faithfully gone to church, every week. Probably gave your tithes and offerings, and participated in different activities, in it.
But, are you sure you are attending for the right reasons??
Here are some ways you can examine yourself, to be sure you are attending for the right reasons.
If all of the above reasons, that a church has, that appease the flesh, were suddenly removed, would you still attend it, or find another church to go to.
After the sermon, can you remember what the preacher was preaching about??? That is , providing he was preaching the uncompromised word of God.
If you are in the choir, on the deacon board, the organist, or even in a higher position, and you were replaced, or asked to step aside, would you still stay in that church, or go somewhere else???
Remember, I am talking about your attending the right church. A lot of churches, compromise on preaching to uncommpromised word of God, or add a lot of attractions, to gain more members, and those churches should be avoided.
Because they are poison to your spiritual life.
It does you, or no one else any good, if you can go to church, and leave, the same way you came in, spiritually.
An anointed man of God, will be delivering 'manna from Heaven', to feed your spirit, to help you grow in the knowledge of God, so you can be that perfect, righteous being that God calls for you to be.
If you are caught up in any other thing in the church, so much so, that you have those things above what God says, then you, for all intents and purposes, don't even need to go to church at all.
Your friends can make you feel good in your sin. You can get entertained, any where, at any time, by any one. You can go many places where you can rub elbows, with famous people.
You can join all sorts of clubs, and groups, and make a good name for yourself, but none of these can do a thing for your soul. And isn't that what you really want to take care of??
If you think about it, you can be the most popular, the most loved, most well respected, most powerful, individual on the face of the earth, and bust hell wide open.
But, what's worse than that, is when you are a faithful member of a church, that attends every time the church doors are open, and end up in hell with the rest of the worldly minded crowd, all because you were more interested in the amenities, rather than God's message.
So, in closing, let me ask you again, and this time, think about it.
Just exactly, 'WHAT DO YOU GO TO YOUR CHURCH FOR???