Do you love your church? Why Don't you come? Last week we looked at excuses. What is stopping you from experiencing the things of God? This week I want to examine one reason that some of us might not be experiencing the life that Gods wants us to have. There are 52 Sundays in the year. How many Sundays did you come to church in 2008? If we were to approach work the way that some of us approach church what would happen?
8. Why Don't You Go to Church by Terry Williamson (Sermon notes) (Listen sermon audio mp3)
Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:3-5; John 14:27; John 20:21-23; Philippians 2:4-6; Revelation 2; Genesis 6:6; 2 Chronicles 7:12-16
Do you love your church? Why Don't you come? Last week we looked at excuses. What is stopping you from experiencing the things of God? This week I want to examine one reason some of us might not be experiencing the life Gods wants us to have. There are 52 Sundays in the year. How many Sundays did you come to church this year? If we were to approach work the way some of us approach church what would happen? If you are supposed to work 40 hours per week but did not show up one day, would your employer pay you for the day missed? What if God were to dock us for every Sunday we did not show up? Lets imagine God had 52 blessings laid up just for us and all we had to do is show up at church to get them, would you show? What if He said, "Alright you came 25 Sundays I will give you 25 blessings and keep the other 27." Better yet, how many of us still expected to get the blessings of God even though we did not show up? We still prayed and asked for them, didn't we? I began to think about why I come to church? I could give all the religious answers like, "to worship and praise God" or "to get saved" or something like that and that is ok, but I believe that for most of us it is even deeper. I come to church because I need long term, prolonged exposure to the things of God, the Word of God, and the Praise and worship of God! I need "Life rehab." I began to ask why people don't come to church, especially those that profess to be Christians. Jesus compared the people He came to call as sick people. He had just performed the miracle of healing the man of palsy and had gone to a house for a big dinner party when the following was recorded:
10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Perhaps the answer to ,"Why don't you come to church?" can be found in why you came to church in the first place. The publicans and sinners followed Jesus to the house because they were looking for something. They had just seen how he changed one mans life and perhaps they wondered if they could be next. Maybe they thought if they could just stay near Jesus their lives would change too! Is this true? Could your life change for the better if you were just near Jesus? Then why don't you come to church? Some might say well I can be as close to Him where ever I am. Ok then why did the publicans and sinners follow Jesus to the house. What if they had said ,"I'll be fine here Jesus knows where I am and what I need." "I'll just stay here. "Never mind going to the house, I'll let Jesus come to me." My question is,"WHY WAIT?" If you knew Jesus was physically in the lobby right now, would you stay in your chair or get up and run to the lobby to be with Him?" What if you were physically sick. Where would you go? What if you were in a bad crash and injured badly. The ambulance shows up and they put you in. Where would you want them to go? The hospital? Would you tell the driver, "Hey don't take me to the hospital, take me home. The doctors will find me." Sounds insane huh? Well why don't you come to church? You know the healing power of God is here. You know that salvation is here. You know that the answers to a better life are here, why go the opposite way?
3And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Some of us first came to church because we need Emergency care. Something bad happens in our life and we come to church. We need God to be an emergency responder but what do we do when he responds and takes care of us. Do we stay away from church until the next emergency? What about a follow up visit?
John 14:27 (King James Version)
27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Some of us needed cardiac care. We had heart problems. God is in the business of mending the broken hearted; the problem is many of us are only looking for a bypass. We want to bypass church. We want to bypass praise. We want to bypass worship. We want to bypass the preaching and teaching. We want God to mend our hearts and help us with the issues of life but we want to bypass church. We have opened our hearts to the wrong things in life and not guarded them and now face the issues of life that cause pain.
21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Some of us were smothered by things in our life. We could not breathe. The weight of the world was on us and we could not breathe. We were congested by all the things that were going on and could not breathe. We were infected by all the things going on around us and could not breathe. We were drowning in the sea of life and could not breathe. We needed the breathe of God. We needed the breath of life from God to inspire us. We needed resuscitation from God. God breathed His Spirit into us and gave us a new life. Where are we now?
Philippians 2:4-6 (King James Version)
3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Some of us needed psychiatric care. We needed our minds renewed. We needed the mind of Christ. We were depressed and He lifted us up. We were confused and He straightened out our thoughts. We were angry and He calmed us. Where are we now? Did we check ourselves out?
1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Have you left your first love? It is not to late to return to it. All we have to do is repent. What does that mean? It is more thatn confessing sin and being sorry for what we do. The word literally means to change the way that we think. The word and act of repenting has been misused and therefore under used. The truth is to repent is a very honorable and valuable asset that is available to us and a lot of us do not use it. God Himself even repents!
Genesis 6:6 (King James Version)
6And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Exodus 32:14 (King James Version)
14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Judges 2:18 (King James Version)
18And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
We are given a promise from God if we turn from our ways to His:
2 Chronicles 7:12-16
12And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
13If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
15Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
16For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Are we not a chosen people? Is this place not sanctified (set aside for the service and work of God)? Are we not instructed to present our bodies as a living sacrifice?
Then why don't you come to church?