in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
(Ephesians 2:21 – ESV)
(Ephesians 2:21 – ESV)
We have previously discussed the fact that God helps those who know they are weak. While we are all indeed weak, it does not mean that we don’t act. While we must be giving thanks to God for all things, and we must cling to the promises of God, we must also realize our part in the promises. As we have seen in our discussions about the compatibility between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, we have seen the need to act in accordance with God’s decrees, in salvation and in sanctification. Now we turn to a matter and manner of giving thanks to God though Jesus Christ in our solidarity.
Solidarity is defined as common interest and active loyalty within a group. They go together: not just doing activity, and not just being within. Not on the outside and not stationary, inside and involved. Not simply showing up once in a while and perhaps participating when we want to, but staying within the group and in an active way. To both be present and to participate regularly. You can’t do that on TV, folks. Tuned in to TV doesn’t mean turned on to God.
The promises of God are yea and amen, and God wants us to possess them all in abundance. Now, while some promises are things God will bring to pass no matter what, others are like a garment waiting to be worn; they are for those who meet the conditions of them. When we meet those conditions, and we continue to pray, to give thanks, and believe in God the possibilities turn into probabilities as we put on the promises of God like a prophecy.
Of course, some only want to pick and choose what “outfits” they will wear. They excuse themselves from going to church by “doing church” on television or the Internet. Those media can be a great resource, but they are only the jewelry, the gloves, the socks, or such things, if you will. But lone rangers want to see these things as their daily garment, instead of their accessories. What they end up doing is dressing for summer all the time and suffering the bitterness of winter all by themselves. Or they dress for winter and burn up in the summer heat.
There are promises of God that have been given to the Church, but many in these last days have come to believe that these promises are simply for individuals in the Church, which to them means simply saved individuals. This is not so, however; these promises are for the universal Church, yes, but they are appropriated by the individuals who are resident and active within the universal, invisible Church’s visible expression, which is the local church. If you are missing from the local church, you will be missing some of the blessings.
Saying that you can be a believer without going to church is like saying you can be a tennis player without stepping on the court, or that you are a pro, but you don’t own a racket. People say that they have a problem, that is why they couldn’t make it to church, but in truth they wouldn’t make it church, and that is why they have a problem. God knows your heart, and God knows if you are looking for an excuse. If that problem weren’t there, would you have gone then? Then why didn’t you come that one particular week you didn’t have to work, or when you didn’t have that problem? You had better go when you can or God will make sure you can’t.
Instead of looking for one reason not to go to church we should be looking for one reason to go to church. If you are watching church programs on television or the Internet, that’s great, but it isn’t commitment. Realize that this does not resolve you of the responsibility to be in a local church, with real, live, flesh and blood, flawed but blood bought believers. Start wearing the clothes of commitment; they are common to true Christians.