I need to warn you: after reading this post you’ll probably feel lighter! Just saying.
You’ll learn what church attendance looks like now that you’re under grace. And if you should attend a church. The answer might surprise you.
Growing up under a steady diet of legalistic teaching you quickly come to believe that you should go to church. That it’s expected of you. Or that you should go to church to please God. This is, however, not true.
I am not saying it’s wrong or bad to go fellowship with other Christians. But the idea that you should go to church negates the reality of what the Church is. Why? Because you and I, as believers in Christ ARE “The Church.”
Church is NOT a place – it’s the People.
The Church is not a building, a temple, or any “place.” It IS the body of believers.
1 Corinthians 3:16 says,
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
In 1 Peter 2:4-5 the body of Christ is compared to a spiritual place:
As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The people of God are the church. Church is not an event you attend or a building you go to meet God.
God is not waiting for you to meet Him in a building, He is in your heart and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5).
In contrast with the Old Covenant days God does not dwell in a Tabernacle anymore. Therefore, a church building is not needed for us to meet or worship God, with the building being the center of the Christian life.
So it’s a lie that you “need to go to church” or that you “need to go to Church to please God.
Church service should not be a religious millstone we tie around the neck of believers to weigh them down and burden them. It should not be a way to feed our ego and compare our “spiritual maturity” to other brothers and sisters.
The truth is “you ARE the church” and you please God already.
So why go to a building we call ‘church?’
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go though. YES, it’s a good thing to get together with other believers and learn more about God…study scripture…share what’s going on in your life…share what God is doing in your life…share your struggles…share your victories… and encourage each other in LOVE and in Christ.
But the truth is you can do this at the ‘church building’…or over dinner…or over a cup of coffee.
Watch the Vlog by clicking on the image:
You Are Not Required To Go To Church
Personally I don’t like most church programs, sermons and worship-songs due to the amount of man-made tradition (plus I don’t like the monotony of a service, week in and week out with the same routine: opening prayer, three praise songs, three worship songs, greetings, announcements, offering, sermon, alter call, and closing prayer….is this God moving or a man-made organizational program designed to move God?), but I do like spending time with fellow believers and seeing them mature and discussing God and life with them.
So I do go to a building people call ‘church’ but it’s not a self-imposed law I hold over myself. I don’t feel guilty if I miss a Sunday…or two…or three. I simply come back when I can and share love while I’m there.
So don’t let anyone hold you down or condemn you with this misconception that you are required to attend ‘church.’
You are not.
You are certainly not pleasing God if you feel obliged to go to weekly Sunday meetings.
You ARE the Church and you ARE pleasing to God already.
The importance is that it causes us to not see the church as being contained within walls and a roof, but it causes us to see that we are the church and that we have been released on this earth to expend the Kingdom of God.
“Bas, are you telling people to leave their ‘church‘?”
No, I’m not telling anybody to leave the church nor to stay at their church! Why? Because it’s impossible for us to leave something or stay at something that we ARE!
It may only sound like quibbling over words, but words are important for they shape our understanding.
You see I don’t believe you’re going to church any more than I am. We’re just part of it.
The church is simply not a group of people in a building. Asking me where I go to church is like asking me where I go to Bas. How do I answer that? I am Bas and wherever I go, church is there because I am there.
‘Church’ doesn’t identify a location or an institution. It describes a people and how they relate to each other. If we lose sight of that, our understanding of the church will be distorted and we’ll miss out on much of its joy.
Conversely I hear people talk about ‘leaving the church’ when they stop attending a specific congregation. But if the church is something we are, not someplace we go, how can we leave it unless we abandon Christ Himself?
Likewise, statements like “Let’s go to the house of God,” or “This is the house of the Lord” are Old Covenant derivatives that no longer apply to us today.
God’s house today is a mobile unit – you.
You are the Church.
The Church just happen to meet every week in different places, whether it’s in a theatre, cathedral, a house, a boat, a pick-nick table, a café, the swimming pool or goes running together….or wakes up next to each other.
When I wake up next to Michelle…Church says “Good morning” to Church 🙂
It follows that when I am not attending a particular Sunday service I don’t see myself as “not going to church that week” because I can’t go or don’t go to something I am.
Talking about absolute FREEDOM from rules, regulations, and expectations from others!
As soon as you define ‘church’ the way we do here people tend to quickly pull out Hebrews 10:24-25 to justify we should go to church. It says,
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Most people use this scripture to justify why it is important to go to church, but it is not about going to church.
It is about being the church and sharing communally the life of Christ in one accord with one another, living in grace and truth, being led by the Spirit of God, overflowing in the love of God, and expressing the freedom that Christ has given us.
When you are grace conscious you do not need a church service to have meaningful fellowship with other believers. All you need is God’s grace to be in effect in your life so you can receive the fullness of God to share His love with others as you be the church.
Church Attendance Will Not Keep You “Hot”
Another aspect that will help you live in absolute freedom with no hint of guilt or condemnation is to know that attending church will not keep you spiritually hot.
Maybe you’ve heard it said this way, “attending Church will keep you from growing spiritually cold.”
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Lots of pastors talk about spiritually “hot” and “cold” Christians. That Christians grow “cold” when they’re not in church…regularly praying…having devotion time…reading the Bible…doing a whole list of religious duties.
This lie is often told by the following example: “Christians are spiritually hot, on fire for God, and they’re like a bunch of coals on a fire…now if you take one coal and set it off of the fire, all by itself then it will grow cold because it’s not getting the heat from all the other hot coals” and that’s how they justify going to church because the other Christians will keep you “hot” and you won’t grow “cold” for God.
Let me tell you a secret: Getting and staying “hot for God” has nothing to do with church attendance.
The whole pile of coals will get cold after a while, unless the fire stays burning.
It’s not church that keeps us on fire, it is the life of the indwelling Christ.
Attending church will not keep you from growing cold, but a love relationship with Jesus will.
In Revelation 3 we read: “I know your deeds…wake up…remember what you have received and heard.”
The answer to stay “spiritually hot” is to stay focused on Jesus. You can go to church every week, but still be spiritually cold.
Let me reveal the truth: I’ve been going to church since I could crawl. And it never kept me hot! I was basically coerced into going by my parents. I’d get there and day dream, count my candies, draw or whatever and never pay attention except to feel guilty about all the stuff I wasn’t doing for God.
You know when it changed?
When I discovered “the rest of the Gospel.” When I discovered grace.
When I saw Christ is the answer I was brought to tears by it – when my consciousness was raised because I discovered just how much God loved me. How much grace, mercy and love He poured out on me.
And just like scripture says I started loving God because He first loved me.
Then I couldn’t get enough of ‘church.’ In other words, I couldn’t get enough of my brothers and sisters, discussing God and life and seeing them mature.
To sum up
The idea that you should go to church is not true. Why? Because you can’t go to something you are. You are the Church. Church is not a place – it’s the people.
What happens on Sunday then? Well, a whole bunch of Churches happen to meet and share their experiences of life in Christ in a particular place or building – whether it be a bar, schoolroom, home, cathedral or theatre.
And the idea that going to ‘church’ will keep you from growing cold is a lie. You are not like a coal on a fire that grows cold when you don’t attend ‘church.’
Focusing on Christ, focusing on God, and what they’ve both done for you will keep you “on fire for God.”
Now that’s Good News worth spreading. If you know anyone who could benefit from this post make sure you share it by using the share buttons below or by forwarding this email.
P.S. I’m thrilled to announce that the RADICAL FREEDOM COURSE will be available in a few weeks! Have you already signed up to stay informed? If not, now is the time to do so. Just click on the image below to sign up so you don’t miss out on all the juicy details.