Why do We Need Church Anyway?

Abraham Maslow identified five areas of need that are necessary for humans in order for them to thrive and be happy. One of the five is sense-of-belonging. That need is based on finding acceptance in groups and organisations. Many young children join gangs because of that. When home does not provide that sense of belonging anymore, gangs become an attractive option. In the same way, some find their place of comfort and belonging in religious organisations. Did you know that some people go to church, they may be elders, deacons, and youth leaders, yet they do not believe in God? In many cases, the community is what they seek, not the teaching. Some go into church buildings often, but why do they go?

The bible says that it was Jesus’ custom to go to the synagogue every sabbath. He also said with his own mouth that he went there every day (Luke 21:37). But why did he go so frequently? Was it because he loved the majesty of Solomon’s Temple? Was it because the Sabbath School or Sunday school was intellectually stimulating? Or could it be that church meant something else?

The New Testament recorded many of Jesus’s actions when he attended church: scriptural discussions, reading of the Jewish law, healing the sick, defending the church as a house-of-prayer; but most importantly, a place to be about his father’s business (Luke 2:49).  But one thing he made abundantly clear, is that he came to do his father’s will. However, this sermon analyses what today’s church is really about.

I ask a series of questions in this sermon. Your answer to each question will determine your purpose for attending church.

Question 1: If your current pastor left your church, will you leave too?

Here at our New Creation Church, we have had to deal with that experience; as pastors come and go, people came and went with them. (Some having no clue why the pastor left). To many the church is the pastor – personality-driven church.

Churches driven by personality have tunnel vision, they only see what the pastor sees. They do only what the pastor wants. And if the pastor is driving a construction truck with 1000 tons of gasoline into the gates of hell, they get on board and will cheer: ride on …dear pastor.

In 1 Cor. 1, Paul writes, my brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Here is the thing: if your answer is yes to my question, I want to know when did your pastor die for you?

Paul’s contention is while some say they follow Paul, Apollos and Cephas, they claim to follow Christ in the same breath. Well, no man can follow two masters.

Question 2: If your church defaulted on its mortgage, would you be happy to worship in a park or by the beach?

The status and prestige that church buildings and religious organisations convey can obscure the purpose of those establishments. Luke 21: 5: Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and [decorations], He said, “These things which you see—” That is what the disciples saw. They saw the splendour of the temple.

But what does God see of your church building?

Luke 19: 41, As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city (the city of David with Solomon’s Temple), he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes … because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.”

Is it possible that the splendour of some sanctuaries misinterprets the location of God’s presence?

The Jews, when the enemies came to destroy the city of Jerusalem, ran into the temple for safety, but that was where the most ferocious attack was raged, and that was where the majority of Jews got massacred. They thought that the presence of the temple was synonymous with the presence of God. Those who fled as Jesus had cautioned and left behind all material belonging, were the only ones who were saved. While some sought security in the fortification of the temple, others found salvation in the words of Jesus. Those two are mutually exclusive. They are not the same thing. A church building does not guarantee the presence of God.

Here is the thing: the building might stand in magnificence, but Your church or even Jesus may have already left the building.

Question 3: Will you join a church you know had just gone broke?

Churches with financial agendas: To many, the church is a symbol of financial success and stability.

Rick Warren wrote that the most important question for churches with financially driven agendas is “what does it cost?” He says that the most heated debate at such churches is the budget. But the priority must be what is God’s agenda for the church, not its bottom-line.

Here is the thing: The agenda must be who the church saves, not what it saves.

What is God’s purpose for the Church?

Luke 8: Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. Warren says “plans, programmes, pastors don’t last, but God’s purpose will last forever. The bible says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail” (Prov. 19:21). We must remember, like Solomon’s Temple, nothing physical last forever, but God’s kingdom is eternal.

If we commit ourselves, our money, our time, our physical property to God, he will set us up really good. Commit to the lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plan. Nothing will awaken a church more than re-inserting God’s purpose into the church’s agenda. Nothing will reenergize a Christian more than one who has re-inserted Christ in Christianity. God’s purpose must be the church’s purpose. If that is not the case, then God and Christianity have left the building.

My call today, is not for you to accept our church, but to accept Jesus. We would like for you to join in our work of saving people, but our call today is to receive Jesus as your saviour. Will you accept him today?

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