THE DISCIPLE VS THE CHURCH-GOER
(Going to Church VS Hebrews 10:25 Fellowship)
Is "going to church" (a term not found in the NT) the only proof you have of being a Christian?
Is a geographical location on a Sunday morning the only way the world can identify you as being ANY different than them?
Has your Christianity been reduced to a social club status or a clique?
What if "going to church" was outlawed, as it was for the first 300+ years of church history and still is in China; would you still, even then, have ANY identifiable traits that would set you apart as being a believer?
What other identifying traits do you have OTHER than sitting in a building a few times a week listening to a speech (good as it may be) and singing a few songs?
You know the old saying; "Standing in a garage doesn't make you a car"? The same is true for "going to church. "Going to church" doesn't make you any more of a Christian than sitting in a movie theater makes you a film director. How can sitting in a chair watching another paid member of the Body of Christ function in his gift of eloquence (God given or not) MAKE anyone a Christian?
Modern "church attendance" is a counterfeit of true biblical Hebrews 10:25 fellowship, that gives this modern Laodicean conglomerate, a sense of superiority, which feeds their self-righteousness and pride.
The reason "church attendance" breeds self righteousness in even the most non-committed of believers, is because literally ANYONE can go to a building and sit in a chair...even a Golden Retriever could pull this off (if he's properly trained like the modern church-goer is). So, in turn, fellow "chair-sitters" look at "non-chair-sitters" and pass prideful, self-righteous judgment on them in regard to their "non-chair-sitting status". Then, other "chair-sitters" witness this and hereby commend them for being so bold to "expose the darkness of non-chair-sitters". (Ego stroked...pride increased).
Yes, in most circles, if you don't come and sit in a chair like all the others...you are looked down upon, berated and treated like a second class citizen of God's Kingdom.
If you don't fill the chair of their empty, superficial and outward show of Churchianity...you are treated as if "you don't count" and may not even be a member of the faith.
If you don't occupy a chair you are treated as if the Holy Spirit doesn't occupy you.
Modern Christianity: Something even a dog could do.
What have we done to the church?
True Biblical fellowship has been reduced to looking at the back of someone's head while you listen to a lecture (whether it be good or not).
True Biblical fellowship has been reduced to shaking the door greeters hand.
True Biblical fellowship has been reduced to using the church bulletin as a book marker in your Bible...or just throwing it away when you get home. (But at least you have a paper trail proving your occupancy in a chair!)
True biblical fellowship has been reduced to singing "I could sing of your love forever" while you lean on the chair in front of you, (wondering how long this is going to go on) because your legs hurt...as you glance at your watch. (sometimes there is good reason to do this).
This modern church has apostatized SO bad and has grown SO lukewarm, that we are seeing a mass exodus of believers leaving the institutionalized church. People are starting to feel empty as they sit in a building week in and week out. This emptiness resoundingly screams " is there not more than THIS? I want more!" These people see so little of the Book of Acts in their weekly church attendance and see SO little of their church attendance in the Book of Acts that it's causing them to cry out with Godly indignation.
The majority of these Saints are leaving and meeting in homes (like the early church) or rented halls (like the early church). They are rediscovering the "community" and "brotherly love" the early church was all about.
They're beginning to grow tired of
Fast Food Christianity
Assembly Line Sainthood.
They are starting to see that "two points and a poem Christianity" has been tried in the balance and is found wanting. They are starting to see the glaring hypocrisy of a Christianity that requires NOTHING...but a tithe check and a rear-end planted in a chair.
A mass amount of True Christians are starting to feel increasingly EMPTY as their "fellowship" is reduced to merely filling a chair.
The modern church is full of seats with rear-ends planted in them...while the souls of those who own these rear-ends are spiritually starving and dying on the vine.
As the rear-ends of this modern church grow numb and stupefied in their chairs...the spirit and soul of some have fallen into a lethargic state of apathy, listlessness and sheer disinterest in regard to what is commonly mistaken as Hebrews 10:25 fellowship. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE.
But the most amazing thing is this: The very things that are leaving a lot of folks apathetically-empty and yearning for more of Christ is the VERY SAME THINGS that most people are contented and satisfied with. This is a sad irony and a stark contrasting reminder of just how deep the modern church has sunk into benumbed, detached and callous apostasy. Some people are satisfied with staring at the back of someone's head for two hours, (calling this fellowship) then going among their daily lives living no different than a worldling; others, want and crave MORE. So they try and talk with people in their church after the service, or invite them over to share a meal, in order to strike up a spiritual conversation unto edification (Fulfilling the true meaning of Hebrews 10:25) ; only to find ALL they wish to talk about is football, American Idol, sports and worldly affairs. You get looked at funny for wanting to fellowship... in a so called FELLOWSHIP of the LIVING CHRIST. (!) CRUEL IRONY!
Some people are quite contented with what is causing others to spiritually die inside.
Some people long, crave and look forward to what is driving others away in mass droves of Exodus like proportions.
The Modern church has become the Egypt some are being delivered from.
"Going to Church" as it's practiced today, is robbing people of what they think they're fulfilling in Hebrews 10:25.
Ironically, "Going to Church" is a counterfeit of the very thing most church-goers judge others for not partaking of.
Because the vast majority has accepted a counterfeit-reality AS the real thing... they condemn others who are actually fulfilling what they've unwittingly counterfeited. (This is what happens when the majority of the church is in apostasy and a minority-remnant stands in opposition). The majority finds it hard to accept so many (namely themselves) can be wrong.
Going to Church isn't automatically the Biblical equivalent of Hebrews 10:25 fellowship.
Maybe that's why we've started calling it "going to church"? Because heaven knows, not a whole lot of fellowship takes place when you "go to church". As if to say " the 2 hour time window between 10am and 12pm IS our fellowship brother...don't bother me with that Jesus mumbo jumbo now. I'm done with that until next Sunday". Really? And you wonder why people are leaving? And this isn't an isolated incident...it's happening in churches all over the west. And you wonder why real, genuine believers are finding it hard to "go to church". Yeah, because they have an innate, insatiable thirst to have true fellowship with other believers...not just listen to a sermon and watch the rock band put on a show that they call worship.
Perhaps it's time we "Become the Church" instead of just "acting" like it on Sunday morning (and doing a bad job at that)? Maybe stop reducing Christ and the Christian experience to a day in your week? Or maybe quit making it appear you're "bearing your cross" by attending church and signing a tithe check?
Is it wrong to "go to church"? No. Well, that is unless it's the ONLY proof or identifying factor you have to "show" that your a believer. In which case, you may need to repent and become born again. If "going to church" is the only identifying mark you have as a believer, you have made "going to church" your god...and you are an idolater. Do you think "going to church" is going to be the deciding factor of your rewards when you appear before Christ at the Judgment Seat? If "going to church" saves you, then Hitler is all good. Hitler even "went to church". In fact, he rallied the Catholic AND Protestant churches to support his politics. Imagine that...do you think his "church attendance" and passionate zeal in regard to it is going to superimpose itself over what came after? Do you think his church attendance is going to somehow hoodwink Christ? No? Then what makes you think it'll work for you? ALL sin is equal in God's eyes...my sin...your sin...even Hitler's sin. Something to think
The early church didn't "go to church". Which is why you don't see the term pop up into mainstream circles (protestant) until 1600 years after the Church was born. The early church WAS the church. They were the church by living Christ 24/7. The main focus of their Christian life wasn't a two hour window on a Sunday morning. It was a 7 day window 24 hours a day. And they met DAILY in their homes with other believers. THEY WERE THAT HUNGRY! " EVERY day continuing with one mind in the temple (preaching to the Jews), and breaking bread from house to house (fellowshipping together), they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart". Acts 2:46- THIS is what we want today: A day by day, LIVING Christ in and among other believers. NOT a Sunday morning, lukewarm, dead, decayed and stinking on the vine RELIGION which is just a form of godliness that's DRIVING believers who are seeking true fellowship AWAY from our western churches in droves (for good reason).
The same thing that caused Jesus to call and reach people OUTSIDE of the mainstream temples and synagogue's of His day...is THE very same thing that is causing people to leave the organized religion of today (Churchianity). Put bluntly, in most cases, with few exceptions...Jesus isn't found in our modern synagogues that we call churches.
He stands outside of them, like He did when He was on earth...
He stands on the hilltop that overlooks and overshadows the church building.
He is waiting near lowly picnic tables, pavilions, parks, double-wide homes and kitchen tables...
He awaits there for crowds to filter out of the Pharisee-ridden buildings and come unto Him as the only source for True and Authentic fellowship.
With a few exceptions left...Christ just simply isn't there.
This is why it's getting harder and harder to find people within the mainstream church who truly want fellowship and not just some Sunday morning religion. When Christ and fellowship with Him in and among other believers isn't the One and Only focus...fellowship will take a back seat and be replaced by a row of chairs and a rock concert that precedes two points and a poem.
Most Church-goers just want to discuss worldly things (sports, TV, work, etc) once the service is over...which leaves those of us seeking a 24/7 in-depth, Book of Acts-styled DAILY THRIVING CHRIST, feeling empty and profoundly unfulfilled. It's like they're saying: "During the hours of 10am and 12pm is when Jesus has His allotted time...don't bother me with that nonsense outside of that time window". Ever get "that look" from a Church-goer when you attempted to discuss spiritual things (FELLOWSHIP: the actual definition of Hebrews 10:25) with them after the hours of 12pm, Sunday...or God forbid on a Tuesday!?! (The Nerve!)
There is the vast difference between a Church-goer and a Disciple of Christ.
A Church-goer only wants to be bothered with Christ on Sunday.
A Disciple bothers EVRYONE about Christ 7 days a week. (especially the Church-goers).
A Church-goers only identifiable trait that points to them being a Christian is their Church-going.
A Disciple lives Christ DAILY whether he has a church (building) to go to or not.
A Church-goer NEEDS the Sunday service to make it appear he lives Christ the other days of the week. (Because he doesn't...this is called overcompensation).
A Disciple NEEDS Christ the other six days of the week in order to function; this would explain why he appears to live Christ on Sunday. (Because he does).
A Church-goer would lose his Christianity if "going to church" were outlawed; because "going to church" was only one day out of the six.
A Disciple would be left unscathed and untouched; because "going to church" was only one day out of the six. And furthermore, he was never under the impression the "building" was the church in the first place. (think about it).
There is a major difference between a Disciple and a Church-goer. And we can all tell the difference when we attend Sunday morning services or go out to eat with families afterwards (or when we look in the mirror). And the unsaved can as well... Who apparently have more discernment than these "church-goers". Because they see right through the fakery and "plastic-drabness" of this synthetic sanctification. They "come to church" wanting a refuge from the emptiness they have in the world; only to find a worse state of emptiness in our "manikin-esque" brand of so called Godliness. What a shame...what the world can identify as false; the so called Church of the Living Christ CAN'T.
If "going to church" was outlawed, the people who have put all of their "Christian stock" in a weekly attendee, form of godliness; would no longer have any self identifying way of showing any contrast between themselves and the world. And I highly doubt the folks here in question, would risk their lives to "go to church" when it has had such a little impact on their day to day lives NOW...so scratch that possibility. Well what then? It's time the people who claim to be Christians started acting like it...and not just on Sunday. These folks obviously have no problem intentionally outlawing their brand of Christianity every other day of the week. So why would they protest the possibility of it's state of "legality" on a Sunday? It seems this would make them happy...
The people who have a growing disdain and disgust for "Sunday morning Laodicean-lukewarmness" will be the ones who will still be able to function as a believer WITH or WITHOUT the government telling them what is legal or illegal. These are the folks who are losing their lives daily by taking up their cross and following Him NOW.(Luke 9:23) This is quite possibly, a type and figure of them losing their lives LITERALLY if and when Christianity is outlawed...just like the early church.
But it seems to me, the "Sunday morning Saints" will either be (1) Happy, that what they hated for the other 6 days of the week is now outlawed; thus relieving them of the social obligation to "keep up appearances" and maintain their level of self righteousness Or (2) They will be utterly and totally at a loss, as to what to do with their Christian life; since "going to church" was the main identifiable mark of them being a true Christian.
But one things for sure: The people who were truly saved (if and when Christianity is outlawed) who put so much stock in "going to church", will have the believers such as us, who are already meeting under the radar, OUTSIDE of denominational/institutionalized Christianity to lean upon, to fellowship with...day by day...from house to house; whether it be legal or illegal...JUST LIKE THE EARLY CHURCH.
For those of you who are still able to go to a traditional church setting and hear the Truth of the Word expounded upon AND have deep, meaningful and scriptural fellowship with others...you are the exception. Church bodies such as these are a dying breed. Most have been driven into the homes due to the mass apostasy that Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. We're in the midst of this apostasy and are approaching the closing credits of life as we know it. So, for you to still have a traditional church setting that hasn't apostatized is a miracle of epic proportions!
Remember: No matter where you fellowship, the church isn't that building down the street...the church is YOU and ME. He dwells in US...not in temples made by human hands. You can't "go to something" you are. There are VAST differences between Hebrews 10:25 fellowship and "going to church". You can't invite someone to something YOU ARE. Each and EVERY time someone comes in contact with you they have accepted your invitation to church (whether they know it or not). How are you representing the church EVERY last person you come in contact with is attending?
Lord, awaken EVERY church-goer and make them a disciple. Let us no longer settle for anything less than True Christianity. Let us drop all of our false gods...no matter what "spiritual terminology" we attach to them.
DISCLAIMER: This article wasn't written as an exhortation for you to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. It was written to encourage you to "Forsake the counterfeit-assembling of yourselves together" by coming together with genuine saints unto genuine fellowship, hereby fulfilling the true intent of Hebrews 10:25.
The stipulation of assembling in an "official church building" is not a stipulation that is found in scripture or one that is imposed upon you by God. You can fulfill Hebrews 10:25 fellowship in a pavilion at the park or on a blanket in your front yard. You need not the traditions invented by man for Christ to come and richly dwell among you and other believers.
The Book "The Glorious Church" by Watchman Nee is a wonderful exhortation and description of what the church IS...and what the church is NOT. His books entitled "The Normal Christian Church Life", The Assembly Life and Further Talks on the Church Life" are equally engaging in regard to the subject at hand.