Undoubtedly the headline grabbed your attention and you thought what has happened to Pastor Rod, am a I right? Well, I haven't gone off the deep end. I just felt like I needed to correct something. I want you to stop going to church, because you can't go to church.
We regularly refer to the building where we attend services, classes, and events as the church. So, we also say that we are going to church or we invite people to come to our church. I challenge you to find one place in the entire Bible where anyone ever went to church or invited someone to church.
I'll save you a bunch of time; you won't find either. Why is the Bible so silent on something that is so prevalent in our society? Because the church is not a where, it's a who. Let's use scripture to prove that it's not that building you go to every week.
Matthew 18:17 (NIV), "If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." What would happen if you went to your church building and began telling it about some issue. First, it would not answer and second, if you persisted, the men in the white coats would like come take you away.
Acts 5:11 (NIV), "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events." Have you ever seen great fear seize a building?
Acts 8:1(NIV), "On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria." Again, have you ever seen anyone persecuting a building?
I think you are probably getting the point, but now let's let scripture prove that the church is a person or rather people.
Acts 8:3 (NIV), "But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison." Clearly Saul was not destroying buildings. In fact at that time, there were not church buildings. The church met in houses, which is why he was going from house to house and dragging people off and putting them in prison.
Acts 15:30 (NIV), "So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter." Again, we see that it's the people who are gathered together.
So, can you see why I am telling you to stop going to church? It's because you can't go TO church, because you ARE the church. The church is comprised of all believers in Jesus. The church could meet in a building, house, coffee shop, school, office, or in the park. In fact, if you meet with another believer for lunch and talk about Jesus, it's church.
Now that you know that they building you visit each week is not the church, it's the church building, I want to say that you should go to the church building every week and fellowship with other believers. You should also, go into the world and be the church. Share the good news of salvation with everyone you meet. Tell them your salvation story (testimony). Perhaps even invite them to join you for a church gathering at your building.
I know you're probably thinking, oh it's just semantics, but it's really not. When we think that the building is the church, it eliminates us from being the church in the world. It's why there are still so many people who haven't accepted Jesus. We, the church, must get out from behind the walls and go into the world to preach the gospel and make disciples.
We don't know when Jesus will return. It could be today or tomorrow or next week. If Jesus returned to rapture the church tomorrow, who do you know who would be left behind to face God's wrath in the Great Tribulation? Who do you know that if they died today would not be spending eternity with you and God in heaven? Those are the people who need to hear from the church (you) and soon, before it's too late!