IRONWOOD, MI – The devil wins when people stay at home. There has been a battle for the souls of humanity since the garden. The Devil is constantly working, prowling around the edge of the fire, in an effort to pick people off and deceive them, keeping them from a relationship with God. In the middle we stand as a people, on one side is God, having given us the freedom to believe or not, and on the other, the Devil, working feverishly to keep people's hope in God dim, and hope in man, bright.
If the essence of wisdom is doing the will of God, “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God" (1 Cor 3: 19-22). We also see the essence of foolishness is placing a personal interest before the will of God. For God, “knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian church regarding worship, division, and the attitudes of the believers, because as Paul wrote we are Christ’s, and Christ is God.
With these words to the Corinthian church in mind, it is hard to listen to people say they listened to a sermon on the radio, Internet, or television on Sunday, when they did not go to church. As if this is the same thing! Certainly, there might be times when listening to a transmitted sermon is good and not damaging to the local church. However, for a healthy and mobile person to claim a transmitted sermon in their home is the equivalent of corporately worshipping with other believers is the height of foolishness, and a signature of the Devil’s deceptions finding a home in their life.
What happens when an able-bodied person decides to stay home instead of worship with other believers?
There is a lack of fellowship with other believers. Imagine the words of 1 John 1: 6-7, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
There is an absence of tithing and support to and within the church. Fellowshipping with others is a challenge, we are of one body and all parts of the body are important, so when people stay home and away from other believers, they grieve the Holy Spirit by robbing the church of their presence, their experiences, and their gifts. What they are doing instead is trying to keep the power of God for themselves, not much different than Simon the Magician wanting the power of the Spirit to glorify himself.
Staying away from a church is a sign of pride that the church and the people in it are not good enough for them, and they are better off staying at home and worshipping on their own. The “Christian” takes on the characteristics of the Pharisee in Luke 18: 9-14, exalting themselves, while totally missing how depraved they are, and it is only through God’s mercy we and they are not condemned.
When Christians stay home on Sundays and elect to not get involved with the church other days of the week, they have fallen under a level of deception that places the things of the world before the Kingdom of God. There is a major misplacing of trust with the things of the flesh, and a minimizing of God’s redemptive plan. There is nothing we can do more important than God’s plan. Yet Christians think it is OK to find any number of reasons to avoid the church, and being a part of the Kingdom. Jesus was not lying when he said some people were going to find themselves surprised at judgment, when he says he never knew them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Church planter Ian Minielly, living deep behind enemy lines at the Catalyst Baptist Church Ironwood, Michigan of the Upper Peninsula Association, Ian is making ground, doing the work.