Do you go to church? Any particular denomination? Why did you choose your particular church? Do you attend a particular church because that's where your friends and family have been attending there for years? Do you feel fed when you leave? Why do you go?
When the word 'church' is mentioned images of steeples, stained glass and angelic choruses lifted to the heavens are brought to mind. In reality the church is the body of Christ.
Colossians 1:24 - Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christís afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Paul's life mission was to build the church, the body, the people. He wasn't going around designing, drafting, and construction buildings, he was building the people of Christ. Edifying them, ministering to them, serving them. He was willing to suffer for the church. Paul was beaten, abused, jailed, tortured - all for the church of Christ - and he rejoiced in it. Most people these days attend church grudgingly. Dragged by their parents, or spouses, or just to be seen. This is why so many churches these days are failing. Filled with contention, rivalry, hypocrisy, jealousy... you name it. Satan has infiltrated our stronghold. The body of Christ has become malignant, cancerous.
I admit that I don't attend church every week, and I don't always attend the same church. At first it was because I was a bit jaded by the church 'experience', if you will. My pre-salvation lifestyle was one that I don't enjoy admitting to, much less retelling, however when someone wants to hear my testimony, I will give it freely. Not that I did anything perverse or inhumane, just that, well, I had kids at a young age, got into drugs, and did what I had to do to support my family. When I don't paint a nice Norman Rockwell painting for some folks, well they give the cold shoulder. So, well I quit going to church for a while after that. My wife and I study the Bible together regularly, sometimes several times a week. We felt that was good enough for us.
It took me a long time to realize that I'm not going to church for ME. I'm going to church for YOU. Yes, we go to church to sing praises to God, to hear the message from our Pastor, to meet and greet our communities, but, it's not about that. We are to be servants to Christ, and to His church. we need to start acting like it. So, after that little epiphany we decided it was time to find a church home, the problem was, it seems as if all the churches have disappeared. Sure the buildings dot the landscape here in Deep East Texas, but inside you find platitudes, scripted sermons, painted smiles. How did this happen? How did this come to be? It would seem that the body of Christ has lost it's heart.
Folks, I don't have to tell you that we are living in uncertain times. Things are happening these days that have End-Time implications such as never before. We should be working harder than ever to minister to the body of Christ. True it is our duty to spread the Gospel (The Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20 ) to the unbeliever, but we don't want to feed them poisoned meat. Take a good look around at your church. What does it look like through Jesus' eyes? Don't be afraid to speak out if your body of Christ needs a check-up. Especially around the HEART.