WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO GO TO CHURCH ?

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Given the Bible commands us to keep on meeting together, that is, to go to church (“let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25)), it is clearly impossible to obey what the Bible says and not to attend church regularly.

The fundamental issue behind this question is the nature of a Christian, and also of the Church – and the two are closely related at this point.

When someone becomes a Christian, they’re not just a single person who’s now a Christian. Rather, they become part of the body of Christ (that is, the church). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13:

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

In other words, when someone becomes a Christian, they are baptised into one body (Christ’s), and they are members of that body together with other Christians. Paul continues to describe the church as a body in verses 14-26, and argues that as in a human body every part (eye, hand, arm, leg, etc.) is needed, so also in the body of Christ, every part is needed. Paul concludes his argument in v. 27:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Therefore, if someone is a Christian and isn’t a member of a church and doesn’t regularly attend that church, in effect they’re saying to the other parts of the body (to other Christians), “I don’t need you” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12: 21). However, the reality is that we do need each other, just as a human body needs all its parts: its head, arms and feet, etc.

This corporate nature of the church is also seen in the New Testament in other pictures that are used for the church. For example, the picture of a temple in 1 Peter 2:5:

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

(Note that “you” at the start of this verse is plural: i.e. “you all together, like living stones, are being built…”)

This is why the New Testament is full of commands to love or serve one another, because we are one body together and we need each other, and other Christians need us too. Here is a list of some of the commands to each other in the New Testament:

• 1 Peter 1:22: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

• Hebrews 10:24: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

• Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

• Galatians 6:1-2: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

• Ephesians 4:25: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body.”

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Forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

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So Get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to- the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new and you must put on new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

No more lying then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don’t give devil a chance. If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that buildup and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. And do not make God’s holy spirit sad; for the spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that a day will come when God will set you free. Get rid of all the bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead be kind and tender hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

( Ephesians 4:22-32)

BEING SINGLE

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This is a subject that is sometimes misunderstood by Christians. Everyone has been single at some point or another, and from early teenage years and upward there is often pressure to at least have a boy/girlfriend, to have sexual relationships, to marry, to have children. It is often considered strange not to experience these things it is considered strange. The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of the living God in 1 Corinthians 6:18 – 19. These verses also state that sexual sins are sins against one’s own body. Because of the pressure to explore sexual relationships outside of marriage many young Christians have gone down this path, and it is likely to affect them for the rest of their lives. Song of Solomon 8:4 gives some wise advise: “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires”.

Paul teaches that getting married is not wrong, but for a Christian it is better to remain single so that their lives can be devoted to the Lord. Those who marry will have a spouse and probably children who will need to attention, love, help and support, and at times these may distract from serving the Lord. However Paul does say that if a couple are finding it hard to be self controlled and refrain from sexual relations it is better that they marry so that they are not sinning against the Lord because of immorality.

Many people long to be married, and feel that God is unfair in not allowing them to find a lifelong partner, and some well-meaning Christians may use the verse “no good thing will he (God) withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). This can cause a lot of pain in that the young Christian will believe that they have sinned and so God is withholding a marriage partner from them. In Matthew 19:9 -12 we read that Jesus says for some people it is better not to marry, so that they may serve God better. Being single is not a punishment from God and it is not necessarily a test. The most important part of being single is being content with ‘who’ you are, and the situation you are in at this point.

Many people marry later on in life, and for some they had come to the point of accepting singleness, and getting married later on in life was a surprise for them. Paul said “I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:12). This is the secret for singles too. Many people who are married find life extremely hard, and wish to be free and single again, and look with envy at the single person. We realise that accepting who you are and what you have at the moment is vital for contentment, joy, and fulfilment in life. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into a relationship or feel deprived if you don’t have one.

Psalm 84:11 is true, “the Lord will not withhold any good thing from his children, when they walk uprightly”. If you are single right now, but would prefer to be married, seek God and his will above anything else. If his plan for you is to marry it will happen, if not, it won’t, but if you’re hung up on being single you will waste away the best years of your life pining for something that is not to be.

Put away your old self and embrace your new self…(Ephesians 4:22-32)

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So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to- the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new. And you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

 

No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer , because we are all members together in the body of Christ. If you become angry, do not lead your anger lead you to sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don’t give the devil a chance. If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. And do not make God’s holy spirit sad; for the spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the day will come when God will set you free. Get rid of all the bitterness , passion and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

(Ephesians 4:22-32)

WHY SHOULD WE FEAR GOD ?

Fearing God means to have respect for Him and to obey Him. It means that you acknowledge Him to be your Creator and thus to have the right to be your Lord. It means that you act out of reverence for Him. In the Old Testament, a clear connection is made between fearing God and keeping His commands and serving Him: ‘And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12).’ ( See also: Deuteronomy 4:10; 6:2.)

In the New Testament, ‘fearing God’ comes up a couple of times too. In 2 Corinthians 7:1 it says: Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.’ Here fearing God is connected to holiness. Fearing God means that you keep in line with his will and are kept from grave sins. It gives direction to your life. It can lead to salvation, as was the case with Noah, who in reverent fear of God built the ark: Hebrews 11:7. This passage brings us to the following theme connected to fearing God: judgment.

In Luke 23: 40 the one thief rebuked the other, saying: ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?’These two men were dying, they would soon stand before God in judgment and they were both under the sentence of condemnation. God has the right to judge. But as we know, Jesus offered the thief grace and he was saved from condemnation.

In Revelation 14:7 fearing God is connected to judgment again: And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

So what will happen to us if we don’t fear God? He has the right to judge us. Do not defy Him, but acknowledge Him as your Creator, Saviour and Lord. Give over your life to Him, live it out of reverence to Him and be saved from condemnation.

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MY GOD WILL NOT FORSAKE ME….EVER….

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Jesus was quoting from Psalm 22, which was penned by David. This Psalm is prophetic when it comes to Jesus’ suffering on the cross. In verse 7, David writes that ‘all who see me, mock me … they wag their heads,’ which is exactly what happened to Jesus: “And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads” (Matthew 27:39).

David also writes about dividing his garments (Psalm 22: 18), which is what happens to Jesus (Matthew 27:35); about pierced hands and feet (Psalm 22:16) and physical suffering, that is uncanny precise in describing what happens to people who are crucified (Psalm 22:14, 15).

Jesus’ suffering on the cross involved rejection from men, mockery, betrayal by friends (Matthew 26:49; 69-75) and intense physical torment. But the most intense suffering came from Jesus being cut off from his Father, because of the punishment for sin he bore on the cross, even though he himself had never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). This is why we hear his anguished cry: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? During those dark hours, God hid his face from his dear Son because the Son became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

For Jesus, it was a fact that God had forsaken him. But it happened so the victory over sin could be won! Never again do his children need to think that God has forsaken them. In Romans 8: 35,38,39 we learn that nothing can separate us from the love of God: be it tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness or danger or sword, not even death or life, angels or rulers! We might think that when the things mentioned in Romans 8:35, 38,39 happen to us, this means that God has forsaken us. But suffering is not a sign of being forsaken by God; his love is stronger than all the suffering because he is with us in the midst of it. This is the difference between Jesus’ suffering on the cross and suffering that might happen to us: while Jesus had to bear it alone, cut off from the fellowship with his Father, God’s children can be assured of His love, even in the midst of suffering.

THE LAST SUPPER

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While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”