John Eldredge wrote about churches in his devotion the other day.
"You can pull into any church or ministry and be offered something called "the Gospel." And there's just enough Jesus words to make it sound like the Gospel...kind of. It looks like Christianity...kind of. It smells like Christianity...kind of. But it isn't even close to the real thing. And yet, it is packaged and marketed as Christianity.
So here's a simple test: Does it do what the Scriptures say the Gospel will do? Does it heal the brokenhearted? Set captives free? Does it draw people into a genuine intimacy with God, where experiencing his presence is normal? Really?"
Which got me to thinking:
Does the church you attend offer grace and mercy, not judgement and condemnation? Is God's word a part of the service, or just the preachers words? Are people drawn to that body for the love they show? I think too many churches get caught up in judging everyone rather than showing love. The whole Gospel is about love. God is love. Love is patient, kind, not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. If the church you attend has more people going out and staying out, than it does people coming in and staying, there is a problem. We are told in Matthew to go into all the world and make disciples...make, not offend and condemn. Love does not demand it's own way, it is not irritable, and it keeps no record of wrong. Love rejoices in the truth, not in evil. Love protects. Love trusts. Love is full of hope. Love keeps going on through the tough times. If the church you attend isn't oozing love out of it's pores as defined by 1 Corinthians 13, something is wrong. God IS love, and wants us to be like Him. We are to be imitators of Him. God didn't send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him, all we have to do is believe and ask Him to be our Savior. We need to love God with all that we are, and love others. Does your church look like that? Do you? If you are part of HIS body, a follower of Christ, does your life look like that? If not, spend some time with God in prayer, and just talk to Him about it. He listens, and He answers. There are a lot of churches out there. There are a lot who claim Christ, but when you walk in and listen, you find out Christ wasn't actually invited. Find a place where He is invited, where He is the center, where love and grace and solid biblical teaching are present. Find a place where people love each other and help each other, and reach out to help and love the world, because of Christ.
God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 1 John 4:8-10
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son. John 3:16-18