Monday, February 19, 2007

Electronic Exposure

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
(Hebrews 4:13 – ESV)

One reason we have to go to church is that we cannot do self-evaluation properly. When you pray like David in Psalm 19:12-14 or Psalm 139:23-24 for the Lord to reveal sins to you, God often answers you through other people. For David it was the prophets like Gad or Nathan. For us it will be through the loving, caring, covenant community of the local church.

We can complain all we want about that certain local church not being a “loving, caring community”, but consider this. In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus talks about having a beam in our eye. Now consider how having a beam makes us see everything as having a beam in it. Sometimes we don’t notice a certain type of car all over the road until you own one yourself. You see a problem because you ARE a problem, we all are, but God uses the means of each other to help us all out. If you think that you don’t need church you are wrong, but even if you didn’t, even if you did have it all together well then you should come help the rest of us.

If you think you’re spiritual, just get close to your brethren, and you’ll find out what’s really inside you. It doesn’t matter how agitating, rude or unspiritual your brethren might be. This does not justify your intolerance or impatience with them. These attitudes are characteristics of your own immaturity – a weakness in YOU that needs to be perfected. This is why some people run from church to church – because it exposes their bad side. They see their own sins and blemishes revealed in their relationship with the brethren, or they become outraged when their self-willed desires or sins are challenged through convicting preaching or correction.

If a person remains an “island” to themselves they will never have to face up to the spiritual immaturity within them. But exposing themselves to the environment of the church will cause them to face conflicts that must be overcome in order to grow up. A sign of a spiritually mature person is that they can be loving and patient with anyone (1 John 2:10 / Galatians 5:22-23), and they can humbly submit themselves to truth and the correction of authority (Hebrews 13:17).

Hiding away in an electronic church world, where the entire ministry you receive is by radio, television, and the Internet will simply not do. You need more, you need the local body, and without that, those other things can be a curse instead of a blessing. These things can become a form of rejection, not release. Apart from a local assembly, there is no scriptural justification for them. I'm not saying these very things are damning you to hell, but I am saying for those that will not attend a local church, they are manifesting a rejection of discipleship, of personal responsibility before the Lord, of an internal witness on the soul and of scriptural warning.

Television may bring you under conviction but the congregation will help with correction and will bring out your sin in bold relief. You can hide and watch TV but you can’t hide from God. Even if you think you are with God you must expose yourself to the others whom God would choose to mold you. If there’s bitterness or a lack of love, it will become exposed. When you hide from church, you are exposed.

9 comments:

Paulie said...

Boy, Wow, Ok... Speaking as one who has done the Internet church as well as the chat room church, I can tell you there is no replacement for being with flesh and blood Christians. I had spent more than a year in chat rooms under the heading of Christian before I met my wife and got involved with church type groups online as well. I have also done the, no church at all thing!

I tell you the truth sometimes there are (some) good things in those venues other than the no church at all. The problem is there is always something missing, the ability to get on your knees with another blood bought saint and holds hands and pray, or hug or cry with.

Sure those in churches outside of the internet still have their problems but they are the only way you can truly find what God is wanting for you.

As far as coming back to the church, yeah, I know its tough to get yourself to go the first time. Knowing that everyone will be all over you and hugging and asking you where you have been. That is surely going to happen, you can expect that. Because they love you! Because they have been praying for you! (Because they were praying for me) But I can also tell you the second week it will be easier to go back, it will be easier for you when everyone wants to hug you. The hardest part is the first time, but truthfully, it wasn't all as hard as Satan wanted me to think it was.

What JD has written on this subject has fit me too a tee. That’s the only reason I can take up all this room on his comments. He was one of those who were praying for me. He was one of those who hugged me when I came back. He was one of those who were worried about me.
And I don't think I ever thanked you JD, So...... Thank you and Lord bless you!

Even So... said...

He truly has, Paul...

Even So... said...

If you are in a foreign country and there is no church, I am not really addressing you, but pray that God would send people to you, and start a church...let me know if this is any of you, WE WILL get someone to you...if you can get this message, we can find you...use the email in my profile page to contact me...until then I hope these messages are helping you grow in the Lord...

Even So... said...

I am completely serious...I realize that this site gets many visits from all over the world, and some from oppressed or unchurched countries...

IF YOU NEED BIBLES OR SOMEONE TO PLANT A CHURCH, PLEASE CONTACT ME!!!

Jesus loves you, and so do I...may God shine His Light upon you...

jazzycat said...

J.D.
Good points once again. Did I read somewhere that your church is Baptist?

I am PCA Presbyterian, but probably agree more with reformed Baptists.

Craver VII said...

I appreciate Paulie's comments. When I read this, I also thought, a virtual church does not give you the opportunity to be wronged... and to rightly respond to it. I know that's not the kind of thing you would put on a flyer promoting attendance, but it's probably a tool God uses in the church to mature His children.

Isn't that a message in Hosea? God has been wronged by His bride, yet continues to love her. The story is beautifully illustrated by the prophet and Gomer.

Even So... said...

Good stuff...

Jazzy, our church was and is independent but was SBC for a long while before I arrived...

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, Satan is good. Once again he's taken something that we thought was a "good thing" and used it for bad! We think we are getting more access to God's teachings (electronically) when in reality we aren't being exposed to what He really wants us to learn (while attending/going physically to church).

Even So... said...

Good one anon....

Hey look, I am all for electronic media and for using it glorify God and to help myself and others grow, and 'round here (because of what other people have said) I know it does...that being said it is no substitute for being there in that pew, listening to that pulpit, with those people face to face and in weekly fellowship with them as fellow soldiers...