Come Back To Church
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
“Do not be afraid.” This is the most common command in the Bible. Commanded 365 times, one for every day! Why does the Bible repeat this instruction so frequently? Because we are always afraid!
Human beings (you and I) are innately afraid, worried, anxious, and self-preserving. This is part of the sin nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve, “Adam answered God, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). We know that “we are naked” and vulnerable. Covid-19 and all its press has shown us as; naked, prone to illness, weak creatures. It only takes a microscopic speck to disrupt our entire lives!
Therefore, our fear leads us to “hiding” and isolation. Like Adam and Eve, we run from our shelter and source of life (God Almighty) and hid in the bushes. We so quickly lose faith in God to overcome and protect His people. Ultimately, our fear is a symptom of weak faith. The greater our faith, the less we fear and vice-versa.
It is because of this fear that we look for “safety.” During the pandemic, we (the church) have begun to value “safety” over everything. I have found myself stating to fellow congregants, “please come to church… don’t worry…you will be safe,” Or “We want everyone to be safe… don’t go where it is unsafe…safety first!”
Safety is not innately wrong. Please do not read me wrong. God gave us rational minds to pursue common sense and avoid reckless behavior. We should endeavor to protect and help those that are weak and vulnerable and not take vain risks. BUT, never losing sight of our calling as God’s children and where our help comes from! Psalm 121, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
You must ask yourself, is God sovereign? Does He have a plan for my life? Does Covid-19 disrupt God? Can God protect me? Does God want me to be isolated (in the bushes) instead of in worship? Does God value my safety over corporate worship and study?
Beloved, I must confess, “safety” (as we see it) is not a priority with God. Can you imagine if the disciples had failed to follow Jesus because it was unsafe? There is NOTHING safe about being a Christian (Mathew 10:22, 2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18).
Yes, we should be sensible – but we should never abandon “meeting together” and fulfilling our commission because it is “unsafe.” You and I would not be here if it were not for missionaries and churches braving the “unsafe” realities of the world. The disciples were faced with many “unsafe” situations in the book of Acts. When they were told by the authorities to stop meeting together and preaching Christ as Lord – they replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29).
Being together in worship on the Sabbath is a sacred honor and privilege! Many of our brothers and sisters in China, Iran, India, and North Korea are killed and tortured for having church. How dare we be so flippant with our Holy day. We act as if our time in fellowship is optional or easily excused. As if Christian fellowship is only a Godly suggestion (Acts 2: 42-47).
We have many members who are dying for a lack of Christian fellowship and worship. Many are isolated, depressed, and shaking with fear! The Devil has convinced us that it is better to hide out in the bushes and waste away instead of trusting our Father and meeting Him in the garden.
Beloved, as your spiritual shepherd, I am convicted by our Father to repent of my fears and lack of faith. No longer will I promote safety over Christian fellowship/worship. It is time to come back to church. Live-streaming is not enough – you know this is true. You are needed in church. Your brothers and sisters need you in church. If you are at all able, get to church. If you are a member, you are committed to being in church! When you are not with us – we suffer. Trust our Father. Have faith! Do not be afraid!
“Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).