Sitting on a church pew won't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car. You can attend church for years and still not be a Christian. It's true. Don't take my word for it, examine your own heart.
There is an understanding among some that if they go to church, pay tithes, and by the way, tithes are not for us today (New Testament Believers) (we bring an offering), that they are in the will of God and doing as a Christian should.
The real acid test to knowing if you are in the faith or not is simply looking at what governs your lifestyle beliefs and behavior. For instance, a true follower of Christ believes that He is the Son of the Living God, the God the Bible refers to. A true follower of Christ no longer lives a lifestyle that is dictated by the world. As a Christian you are living a dependent life that is based on the Word of God. You've stopped participating in sin and you have placed your life, faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this picture resemble you?
People go to church for many reasons, and some are seeking something but not necessarily are they seeking to know God. Not everyone who attends church are even reading and studying the Bible on their own. Maybe the only time they open one is in church provided they are in a gathering that uses one when the Leader, Elder or Pastor speaks. Some churches are more like come and get your Sunday morning pep talk. Some preachers sound more like motivational speakers than one who is bringing God's message to the people, while others say what the people would rather hear.
Salvation occurs when there is a real change within the heart, and this occurs when the truth of God's Word is spoken, and a conviction rises within one's heart because they know they have sinned against God and are not living right.
It is not enough to attend a church, put money in the plate or basket, sing nice songs, hear a riveting message and go home thinking that you are pleasing God. You want to know for a fact that you are a true follower of Jesus Christ (saved) with forgiveness of sins by Jesus Himself. Your destiny depends on you being sure if you are a Christian or not!
Many churches have the crem de la crem talent on display and the musicianship is top notch, but again, this does not speak for the authenticity of one's Christianity. A personal relationship with the Lord God is the determining factor where relationship is concerned. What does that look like you might ask? When we spend time reading God's Word, meditating on it by thinking about what He just said to us and spending time communicating with Him through prayer, we are in a relationship. That's what it looks like. This relationship continues daily and regularly. We may even pray and read our Bibles more than once a day depending on how tight we become with the Lord. We then become true worshippers and out of worship comes service by way of talents and spiritual gifts.
It's important to be clear on why you attend church and where you stand on these matters. If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, continue to serve Him and serve Him well. Continue to keep your motives pure and your heart right. Be a light and a guide to others who need to know the Truth of God's Word.
The peril of hopelessness
The disturbing news report of the CFO of Bed Bath and Beyond, who committed suicide, raised a question. If the rich are without hope, what does that say to the rest of us?
It takes a certain level of umph to kill yourself and it is called 'Despair'! It's the complete absence of hope. Absence of hope? No hope? Nowhere to be found? That saddened me as I sat and pondered the news report. Despite the particulars to the 'why ' he did it, I felt terrible for his wife and daughters.
This tells me that this man who had what most wished and longed for really had nothing that was important. In the final analysis of it all, his wealth was powerless to save him. There he was in serious trouble, a situation that may end up in the court of law for fraud, and his escape plan was to jump 18 stories down. I could not even imagine what was going through his head that morning. The horror in his wife awakening to a brand-new day that began with the death and suicide of her husband.
This ought to be a wakeup call for us all. You cannot walk around the planet without an assurance policy. You cannot afford to live each day without hope, a hope that won't disappoint. A hope that comes with promises attached. A hope that is given from the very one who created you. A hope that shows up when you are in despair. A hope that has the cure for what ails you.
God is our hope! He's the only one that never offers life insurance. He offers assurance of Eternal Life. You can't buy into this policy for it was purchased for you on the cross of Calvary when Jesus died for your sins. Do not do what this CFO of Bed Bath and Beyond did. He rejected God's offer and he perished for lack of hope.
Jesus is still standing there with His arms wide open as He calls to you today to rest your heavy burdens, come confessing your sins, requesting forgiveness, because you now believe that His son, Jesus Christ died for you. Tomorrow is not promised. Now is the time to accept the Lord as your personal Lord and Savior.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16