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ORGANIZED RELIGION?

September 10, 2015

Text: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the  work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11-12

In talking to some non-members  about attending church they used to respond saying, “I don’t get along with ‘organized religion’. I can worship God under a tree.” This is an old dodge that is meant to untrack you from pursuing the subject of attending church. When some people hear this verbal ploy they accept it as sounding intelligent, and by using this they paint themselves as being intellectual. Hardly! It is merely an excuse used as a pretentious parry. One response would be something like this: “Oh? Do you go sit under a tree once a week and worship God?” (Knowing that they don’t worship God at all.)

Have you ever seen anything larger than an individual that was “unorganized”? Nothing from a marriage to an enormous corporation can function without organization! This phrase is an insinuation that there is always something sinister and controlling about the church. Those who offer this pompous evasion are really “mavericks” who want to live “no strings attached”.

Re-read the text above and see that Jesus organized his church by appointing men of several abilities. Further, he gave instructions for church leaders: elders and deacons. See I Timothy 3:1-13 for qualifications of elders and deacons. Jesus, who promised to (and did) build his church (Matthew 16:18) and gave his life to purchase it (“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”  Ephesians 5:25), was forward-looking so that there would be order and support to carry out his command to evangelize the whole world.

This excuse dismisses Jesus’ death for going to the cross for his body (the church).  What a tremendous redemption price for sinful men! But human beings spurn the death of Christ when they turn their backs on the church he built. You cannot have Christ without the church. “And the Lord added to their number day by day those that were being saved.” Acts 2:47   Only those who have faith are added to the church.

This dodge degrades the fact that Jesus foresaw that his church needed elders and deacons to shepherd and serve the church.  This orderliness was planned from eternity long before Jesus had paid the price for its appearance on earth. He knew that saved souls would need guidance, support, and fellowship in the face of a hostile world. “Then the King  will say to those  on his right, ‘Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you  from the foundation of the world.”  Matthew 25:34 

When this assault is presented it devalues Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of mankind. You might say that it disdains both Christ and his church. Those who offer this excuse are really saying that they want nothing to do with Jesus or his church! Sad indeed that Jesus died on the cross and some men will refuse his death and its worth to them. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”  I Peter 2:24 

Those who utilize this rationale decline to share fellowship with Christ’s followers. They would probably toss out the old saw that there are “hypocrites” in the church. It is a fact that that term could describe some church members. But it must be admitted that there are many others who are exerting themselves to lives of purity and obedience to the Lord Jesus. Jesus knew that saints needed a “support group” to exhort, encourage, comfort and love those who face troubles every day. John the apostle reminded all Christians: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” I John 3:24  Remember that we have a responsibility to our fellow Christians. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2 Feel the love! 

  Blessed be the name of Jesus who sacrificed himself for the church!

 

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

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