People Who Do Not Attend Church
There are growing numbers of people who do not attend church or who attend only occasionally. Is that safe for those people? Is it safe for society?
Frequently you hear folk justify not going to church because there are hypocrites there or because church is no longer relevant to modern life or the music is poor or the preacher is boring. No doubt you have heard other excuses. The objective of this column is not to disprove the accuracy of these explanations. No doubt all of them apply to most churches sometimes and perhaps to some churches all the time. The contention is not that all churches are good and worth attending. That would not be true.
However, there are churches that are good and worth attending, every Sunday. What are the leading characteristics of such churches?
- They aspire to worship God according to who God really is and in keeping with the way He wants to be worshipped. The emphasis is on God and not on man in every part of the service. And this purpose to worship is carried on seriously and not carelessly.
- They make a studied effort to explain and apply the Word of God accurately.
- They invite all people who are present to believe on Jesus Christ and state clearly that Christ is the only way whereby human beings can be right with God.
- They insist on the moral absolutes established by God in His law. They are truthful about sin as the violation of Godís law.
- They speak clearly and frankly about death, judgment, and the world to come.
- The members of the church are serious about pleasing Christ and not about simply keeping up the appearance of being a good person. Sinless people they are not. Pursing holiness, they are!
Attending churches with these qualities brings benefits that cannot be obtained elsewhere. For one thing there is the confrontation with God and with the individualís personal accountability to God. No one can think or behave well without a firm recognition that God is his judge and that God sees him constantly. Then there is the benefit of hearing repeatedly the difference between right and wrong. Society tries hard to blur the lines of righteousness and sin. The Word of God keeps the conscience sharp and alert. Next, there is great profit in having the realities of eternity brought before the heart often. Materialism is a deadening philosophy. People need to remember that they are much more than material beings. They have souls and will never be complete or happy until their souls are at peace with God. Finally, people are by nature without hope. The only hope that most have is either self-induced or is based upon utter falsehood. The biblical gospel offers the only hope for the life that now is and the life that is coming. No one is without a deep personal need of the hope that is in Christ!
Sound churches keep the truly important issues of life before our minds and hearts. Apart from church all of us tend to drift into the unreal world of our imaginations and wishes. This is dangerous for us and for the people around us. Who makes the better teacher or policeman or doctor, the individual who thinks himself answerable to no one but himself or the person who knows that he must give account to God? Who is more likely to persevere in the difficult times without compromising or cheating, the person who supposes that everything depends upon him or the person who knows that through faith in Christ he has access to the very power of God for his help?
The fact is that every one needs to go to church. The fact is, also, that society needs for every one to go to church.