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Stay at Home Christianity

January 7, 2016

One of my favorite modern quotes is this, “Unchurched Christians are like unicorns. They are fictional creatures.” The Bible knows nothing of a Christian who lives apart from the church. Those who refuse to participate in a local church reveal a profound lack of understanding regarding the role of the church in the Christian’s life. The Christian life cannot be rightly lived apart from a local church. God created the Christian to grow best in a community of believers. The believer has been uniquely gifted by the Spirit of God to serve the local congregation. The child of God is commanded to do good to all, with a priority of doing good within the local church. The New Testament gives dozens of one another commands that cannot be obeyed without active involvement with “anothers”. Pastoral care for the Christian’s soul will never take place apart from submission to a specific local pastor. The pastor on TV is not your pastor. He will not preach your funeral, visit you in the hospital or even send you a personal note. You cannot consider one another, provoke one another, serve one another, love one another, comfort one another, submit to one another, speak truth to one another, fellowship with one another or have the same mind with one another if you refuse to gather with other Christians.

The refusal to gather with other believers takes God’s good gift intended for the benefit of others and attempts to use it in isolation for one’s own benefit. The gifts given for the edification of the church are used, if used at all, for personal gratification. The difficulty of interacting with others is taken away and with it goes the opportunity to grow as you discover areas of sanctification that are lacking in your own life. The humbling process of being taught by others whose imperfections you know is neglected and thus the pride of the heart festers unchecked. The polished performance of radio and television ministry becomes an unreal replacement for the real church service with it’s bad singers, stammering preachers and irritating people. The church service becomes a polished experience used for the personal gratification of the individual enjoyed in the isolation of his own home.

A Christianity which has no challenges, no higher authority, no confrontation, no discipline and no disappointment is also lacking genuine growth, mutual compassion, the joy of doing the work of the ministry and fruit in the personal life. The Christian grows most in mutual communion with other Christians. Isolated Christianity is lacking many of the difficulties that come with interacting with others, but it is also lacking all the blessings God designed to be ours through regular participation in the body of Christ. Christianity is a corporate experience. To neglect the church is to neglect the good of your own soul and the growth of the body of Christ. The neglect of the church is prideful selfishness which prefers to sit at home and imagines an experience of worship rather than going through the hard work of gathering with God’s people to genuinely exalt His glory.

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