There are a bunch of people who pack the pews in their local congregations Sunday after Sunday. Many of them are wearing their best attire and adorn themselves with accessories that would make them appear to be a bit more “holy” than usual. They wear big smiles to create the illusion of having joy; they can quote a few scriptures with fervor not because they have committed them to heart but to impress those around them. They may out praise you, pray with eloquence and all, but the truth is that everyone who enters through the doors of the church isn’t a true Christian. Some are just “church folks”.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also (Matthew 23:23-26).”
What’s the difference between Christians and Church Folks? Jesus gives us a great example of church folks above. Though they many know some law and have church protocol down to a science, there is nothing taking place where it counts: in the heart.
Church folks may stand in the one-hundred dollar line when offerings are being raised (that’s another sermon) willing to give a hefty tithe, but a person cannot pay their way to holiness. Yes, offerings and tithes are right but the Lord judges the offering by the condition of the person’s heart who gives it, not by the amount given. If you give to be seen, you have already received your reward through vain glory.
Church folks may be able to sing a hymn like an angel but there is more concern with how they sound than with ministering in song to the Lord and for the edification of the body of believers. It’s all about self.
Church folks may be able to hide their shortcomings from fellow members, but they readily expose the failures in others. They take joy in seeing fellow members fall because they believe it makes them look better.
Church folks strive for Sunday Morning Righteousness but the rest of the week belongs to them. They are satisfied with mediocrity; they would rather fool people than be in the will of God.
But Christians are concerned with one thing: pleasing God.
Christians give not to be seen but because they know it pleases the Lord and He will openly bless them for what has been privately done.
Christians will worship the Lord all week and praise Him with a pure praise. Worship, in the sense of expressing one’s adoration to the Lord, doesn’t have to be conjured up on Sunday; instead it’s the outpouring of the service (worship) done from Monday to Saturday.
Christians understand that worship and service are interchangeable (Romans 12:1, Gr. latreia) word in the Bible. They may not have a golden voice but they willingly give God the fruit of their lips. They know that what comes from the heart reaches the heart and the anointing of God covers them.
Christians know the cost of salvation and have faith in the redeeming blood of the Lamb. They don’t condemn others, but they restore others in the spirit of meekness, considering themselves, knowing that it could be them who need intercession, encouragement and forgiveness.
They aren’t trying to be better than other people; they just want to be more like Jesus.
Christians make themselves to be a disciple, everyday. They are the same on Tuesday as they are on Sunday. They strive to press towards the mark and even when they fall, they don’t intend on staying there. They seek repentance and continue to press!
Jesus said to clean the inside and the outside will be clean. Some of us have gotten it backwards but it’s not too late to get it right. There will always be wheat and tare, light and darkness, righteous and unrighteous and wolves in sheep’s clothing. In short there will be Church Folks and there will be Christians. The question is which one will you be?