Don’t Follow the Church!
September 25, 2017 @ 10:46 AM by: Blenheim Baptist
Uh-Oh, now I’m in trouble! Should I make such a statement when I am part of a church family, and I’m committed to them? Some church-goers would say, “We have a ‘stake’ here, we will defend it, we value the belonging.” That may all be good; could it ever be bad?
When could ‘church’ be a bad thing? Church is bad if the gathering has a mere smattering of reference to God; we call that a ‘glorified social club’. Church is bad when there is a lack of Christlike love Church is bad when it is known for its ‘politics’. Church is bad when tradition becomes the standard for truth, i.e. “We’ve always done it this way.” Church is bad when the views of church-people are considered more authoritative than what the God of the Bible has said.
We get the term ‘church’ from the Bible. By definition “the church of the living God” consists of those who follow Jesus. Church primarily refers to a people, not a building. The focus is not on being a ‘church-person’, rather on being a Christ-follower. These people have recognized that Jesus is LORD, turned from their sin, and have been “born again”. We need to be “born” into God’s spiritual family through receiving Jesus as Savior. (John 3:3, 1:12) Church does NOT get one into God’s Kingdom; Jesus does. (John 14:6)
We all know church-people are not perfect. It has been noted: “If you find a perfect church don’t join it, you’ll ruin it!” Christ-followers, though not perfect, seek to progressively be like Christ in character and behavior. It is not about DOING church; it is about BEING the church – a people focused on growing in love and obedience to Jesus.
Back to my title, following the church can be very bad because people can be wrong. Being sincere does not gain God’s approval; following the Bible will. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Head of the church. (Ephesians 1:22) He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) He said, “Follow me…” (Mark 1:17; John 10:27) He puts it another way: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man…” (Matthew 7:24)
This is how Christ-followers “conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) The Bible is the final authority in all matters of beliefs and behavior.
My relationship with Jesus makes me a member of that “church”! ...and notice, I said nothing about being in a Baptist Church. I have decided to follow Jesus!
“Are you with me?”
Pastor Bill Terris
Blenheim Baptist Church