On this damp early morning, I go to my Father in prayer and ask what can I do to make the world a better place. The answer is always the same… “write My words.” Today, God speaks to me about Christians versus a church and its disciples. We have the purpose of serving the Lord, but in what capacity? As the church and a disciple, or just a Christian?
A great misconception is one may not be a good practicing Christian if they do not attend church. I’m sure glad Jesus never taught this theory in His ministry, or God would condemn many believers for life! In this blog, I do not want to discuss the downfalls of present-day churches, but how the house of prayer should appear to all Christians.
According to Britannica, “a church is the Christian religious community as a whole, or a body or organization of Christian believers.” My interpretation is it’s not just about going to church, but being a church. Why? Because if we are disciples, we ARE the church! Must we worship the Lord in the presence of others, and only within the four walls of a commercial structure, to be a Christian? Jesus taught that prayer and personal reflections were to be done in solitude. He rarely preached behind any four walls of a temple, but instead He witnessed to others.
So, what are the responsibilities of Christians and/or the church? I found some Bible verses that discuss the obligations:
1) Defend others in need.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9
2) In God’s grace, do what is good.
“Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarrelling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But when God our Saviour revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy…” Titus 3:1-7
3) Help other believers get back on the right path.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:1-3
4) Love God before self and others.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second commandment is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
5) Preach the gospel to everyone.
“And then [Jesus] told [His disciples](NOT CHRISTIANS), “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15
None of these responsibilities allude to the confines of a building. I find number (5), above, though to be the most important principle. It emphatically states we are to do God’s work, not just in a church building on Sundays, but every day. Many attend services and bible study classes and believe they’ve fulfilled their obligation as a Christian. This is a misconception! So, are you a church and discipling others? There are many good Christians who attend church, but fail to be disciples. Remember, a Christian is to preach the gospel to everyone.
Our occupations and other life activities are God’s blessings. Why not use it to preach the gospel to others? Spreading the Good News could encompass talking to the fallen regularly, or sharing godly social media posts and interacting with those who respond. How about blogging about your religion, visiting the ill and praying for them, or moreover becoming involved with a community’s less fortunate citizens?
Despite cultural challenges, I believe this era is the greatest opportunity for believers to witness since the time of Jesus and the apostles. All Christians, whether active or inactive in worship, represent a church as a whole. It isn’t about your sect of religion or that you attend church services. It’s about evangelizing the love of God as a church in the form of a disciple. Our highest and holy calling is to BE the church, not go to church.
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