Now, some of you who are sold-out to the institutionalized way of doing church; may get upset with me. For some of you this is all you know; this the way you were taught. I know, I was taught the same way, I was also a pastor myself. In a way we all do the same; we may have different styles and we may use our time differently, but at the end of the day we all start the service with music, we collect an offering, somebody preaches, we pray for people, and everybody go home after that. I am asking you to take me out of the picture and look at the Scriptures a little closer.
Let’s start with the building! Oh, how much money is invested in the building, how many resources, bills, etc. Beloved, there is not one biblical reference of Jesus or his original Apostles purchasing a building to meet. If you find one, please correct me by showing me the Bible reference. Jesus and the apostles did gather in synagogues, but that was more of an evangelistic ministry as the reached out to the non-Christian Jews.
We do have plenty of biblical references of folks meeting at home. However, if we really want to be technical here, our house was not necessary to meet either to have this thing we call church. Our meeting together goes beyond houses also. We see this in the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus. John 4:21-24 tells us,
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (NIV)
The place we worship God is not important; is overrated; what is important is to worship God in Spirt and in truth. There are folks around the world who can’t afford a building or, they are under such heavy persecution that they can’t build one. Are they any less Christians? I have never experienced the presence of God in a service as I minister in a very poor village in Yucatan; at the time; they did not have a building!
Beloved, for the first 300 years after Christ, it was illegal to be a Christian. Christians were suffering a severe persecution. However, the murderer of believers did not discourage them; why it should discourage us? Paul stated in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (NIV) People understood exactly what Paul was talking about.
Yes, there were some of the elite Christians, those who did not have any problem bowing down to the gods and idolatry of Rome; those who did not have any problem compromising; but for the good old-fashioned followers of Christ things were not as smooth. As a matter of fact, all through church history things have never been smooth for those who are devoted to the teachings of Christ. All through church history we have had the visible fake church that, obviously does not represent the Word, and the real church who is never friends with the world and is always victim of persecution.
To be continued…