Trouble with the Church

IMG_1436Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

It should be obvious; the world has trouble with the church. In virtually all aspects of human life, two messages prevail. The first message seems to be “Get what you can and keep it for yourself.” The second is like it, “Do what you want, when you want.” Of course these messages are contrary to the gospel, and therefore the world has a problem with the church.

Sadly, it often seems Christians also have trouble with the church. I wish I had a dollar for each time someone shared with me the notion “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.” I would have a lot of dollars. I would have even more dollars if the phrase, “I experience God in my own way” was included in the deal. Such statements are also contrary to the gospel. It’s for this reason I say even Christians have a problem with the church.

Many have said, the most common reason people remain unchurched is because they don’t see any appreciable difference in the way Christians live their lives. Too often, Christians, especially those who go it alone, give in and pattern their lives according to societal norms rather than the biblical witness. It seems Christians also do what we want, when we want. We get as much as we can and keep it for ourselves. It’s no wonder the world has a problem with the church.

All people are sinners and face temptations that are destructive to their lives and relationships. Even the most devout and spiritual Christians need to be encouraged in their faith. Thinking you can remain faithful on your own is perhaps Satan’s most destructive force. By ourselves we are easy prey for the powers that defy God.

Peter exhorts the church, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” 1 Peter 2:16. He encourages Christians to live, not as the world lives, but faithfully together as God’s redeemed people. The community of faith is the Christian’s sure defense against the powers of sin and death. The very nature of being Christian means we worship together, have fellowship with one another and strengthen one another in faith.

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