Articles

Church vs. Jesus?

In Sermon Spillover on May 24, 2011 by The Spillover

Pastor Dave said something interesting toward the beginning of his sermon on Sunday. Did it Stooge-pop you like it did me?

“Sometimes the institution of religion gets in the way of really knowing Christ.”

Yowza. I can see how that might rub some people the wrong way. As for me, I yelled “Amen!”. I yelled it in my head, but still.

What do you think about this? The institution of the church being a hindrance to our efforts to know God more and more intimately? Let’s chop it up a bit…

What is the Church? It is the fellowship of Christ’s born-again believers laboring in the world for Him, is it not? And what is “church”, as in, Calvary Baptist Church? It is a building where the Church meets and organizes works, worship, and fellowship for Christ, right? Is it an essential part of the Christian’s life? Absolutely. Can you make the case that church fellowship is optional? If you can, I’d love to hear it. I could probably make the case that sleep is optional, but why would I? I digress.

The question is this: what if church becomes a cozy place we go for entertainment and/or comfort and/or friendships and/or routine and/or safety and/or food and/or familiarity and/or anything other than refueling for a life devoted to God? Can this even happen? Of course it can. We live in the “seeker-friendly” church age. There are churches all over America that forsake the majority of the Bible to achieve a comfortable, non-offensive, cotton-candy atmosphere. We at Calvary should thank God that our church isn’t one of them – laboring for just “part” of the gospel is a bit like riding a stationary bike and expecting to get somewhere, no?

The point is this: sometimes, institutional church becomes the point of peoples’ efforts. The intended product.

Calvary Baptist Church is a great place to educate your kids, but that’s not its ultimate purpose. Calvary is an awesome place to meet for small group, but that’s not why it exists. We all know Calvary has awesome services on Sunday mornings, but those services are a means to an end, and not the end itself.

Christ’s bride, the true born-again believers all over the world, are His Church. Calvary Baptist Church exists not just as a place to go on Sunday mornings or weekday evenings, but to help us to be the Church every minute of our lives.

If we find ourselves devoting lots of time to “institutional religion” that does not achieve the end we’re committed to, what should we do about it? That’s the million-dollar question.

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