Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ripped Apart at Church

By Joe Chesser

            When was the last time, if ever, have you been ripped apart at church?  I don’t mean when some insensitive and ungodly person at church says some abusive or hurtful words to you.  I don’t mean a time when the church leaders announced some plans or decisions that shocked you to the core.  What I mean is when was the last time your world has been totally destroyed or turned upside down by the preaching or teaching of the word of God?  When was the last time you were so convicted by the word of God that you were compelled to make some life changes that rocked your world?
            Most of us don’t go to church to be ripped apart.  Most of us go to church to be encouraged and uplifted.  Most of us go to the church we do because we like it there, we enjoy being with the people; we enjoy the sermons and the classes and the style of music.  Most of us like the way we feel when we leave to go home.  If we didn’t, we’d most likely start looking for a church we did enjoy.
            Now, before you jump to the wrong conclusions, I do believe it is important to enjoy being with the church you attend.  It’s great to enjoy the people, the preaching, and the singing. It’s great to enjoy being involved in the work of the church. As David, who had a heart like God, said, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).  We are supposed to be a joyful people (Phil. 4:4, Gal. 5:22) and to love each other (Phil. 2:1-4). It’s wonderful to have good relationships with church people.
            However, Satan is coaxing us to be a consumer driven church.  He has convinced many of us that if I don’t enjoy church then something must be wrong with the church. It’s not meeting my needs and expectations, and if they don’t change, I will!  Church should be all about pleasing me, about what I want.
            Hold on.  That’s not what the Bible teaches, is it?  The Bible teaches that the church is made up of people who have had their hearts ripped apart by the word of God. In fact, that’s exactly how the church began.  People were happy where they were doing their own thing.  But Peter stood up before them and ripped their hearts apart by preaching the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection (Acts 2).  The church began with people who were convicted of their sin, and the church grew as more and more people were convicted of their sins by the preaching of the gospel.  The church in the New Testament was not about music styles and eloquent preachers and feel-good fellowships.  It was about people whose lives were filled with sin being heart-broken and yielding to the grace of God through the preaching of the cross (1 Cor. 1:10-2:5).  After obeying the gospel they went on with their lives rejoicing (Acts 8:39) and taking the heart-breaking, soul-saving gospel with them wherever they went (Acts 8:4).  It’s important to enjoy being with people who have experienced the same victory over sin as you have, and to enjoy worshiping and working together.  But all the while we must be open to having our hearts ripped apart (when needed) by the preaching of the word of God (Heb. 4:12-13).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/

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