I Don’t Have to Go to Church – Lies of the Enemy #16– Purity 1028
Purity 1028 04/27/2023 Purity 1028 Podcast
Purity 1028 on YouTube: Coming Soon!
Today’s photo a view of the Hudson River under blue skies comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while one of my many local exploration adventures that I set out on in the Summer of 2020. This one is from the fishing pier that I believe is located at the end of Ferry Rd in the Nutten Hook Tidal Wetlands Area off of State Route 9J South of Stuyvesant. I am a little vague on the directions because I discovered it after hiking through the forest trails that began over on, I believe Ice House Rd where a small park is located.
I have an embarrassing confession to make in regards to this trip, and it is not the fact that I didn’t quite now where I was going and stumbled upon this awesome view of the river after emerging from a hiking trail to an “unknown road”. I was really impressed with this quaint area and in the summer of 2020 I had several ideas in my head that I was thinking that were “from God” but turned out to be wishful thinking.
At the time there was talk of my local church possibly doing a church plant in the Reformed church in Stuyvesant. One of our Pastor’s actually stepped into perform a service there one Sunday and there was speculation that he would plant a church there. I was also in the possession of a new house and I was officially 8 months single after my divorce and I had ideas about marrying one of the young women who attended my local church, someone who I was fond of but who I had yet to even mention anything about dating, mind you. . So on that day in August, thinking about a possible church plant just down the road from where I live and thinking of the possibility of having a Christian wife, my imagination had me put 1 and 1 together to get 8. I know that math doesn’t work but it is indicative of the quantum leap of faith and assumptions my “prophetic vision” – or imagination was making.
In my mind it was all “falling in place” – I would marry this young woman and together we would join the pastor in this new church plant and live happily ever after living at my place down by the River and serving the Lord at the nearby church in Stuyvesant! It “all made sense”! I could see where the Lord was leading me and I liked it!
So pie in the sky were my thoughts that on the day I discovered this fishing pier, I thought I had stumbled upon the place I would propose to my future wife. I could see it all so clearly and I couldn’t wait for things to fall into place.
But as Smokey Robinson sang: “It was just my imagination, running away with me.” The church plant in Stuyvesant never happened. The pastor in question started a commercial roofing business and moved out of the Stuyvesant area. As for the young woman, I respectfully kept my distance and admiration a secret until I foolishly messaged her on Valentine’s Day of 2021 to get an idea if there was any possibility for a relationship that was more than friendship, because I just “had to know” and was politely informed that I was barking up the wrong tree.
My “prophetic vision” was way off. But the Lord was with me and was guiding me to my destiny all the same. That same year I began a Community Freedom Ministry at my local church and decided to podcast the lessons to reach those who were too distant or fearful of Covid-19 to come to a local church meeting. And it is through that ministry and podcast that the Lord introduced me to TammyLyn Sequin and by years end we were engaged and married on January 1st of 2022!
And it is a really good thing the Lord came though because not only did I find the Christian wife and soulmate, but I was also delivered from the awkward situation from going to church with someone I had expressed romantic interest in and been rebuffed. Because of the distance between us TammyLyn and I had to decide where we would worship and because of that awkward situation and other considerations, I decided to leave my local church for hers and was publicly blessed and “released” from my local church in December of 2021.
So in this story and through my checkered religious past of 2 other liturgical denominational churches, I can understand how difficult it can be when there are awkward situations or problems at a local church and how it could cause some, like me in my 5 year journey into Buddhism, to abandon church all together.
And that brings us to our current series, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives. So today’s big lie is:
Lie #16: “I Don’t Have to go to Church!”
In my experience, this lie was planted in my youth when I learned about God’s omnipresence. I was paying enough attention in church one day to understand that God is everywhere and immediately thought that “If God is everywhere, that means I can worship Him anywhere.” And rather than rejoicing that I could have a close personal relationship with the Lord that went beyond the Sunday service, I thought, perhaps with demonic encouragement,: “I don’t have to go to church!”
Of course I had no intention of worshiping the Lord somewhere else, on my own, I just thought that I could use the priest’s words against him and be free of the forced routine of my liturgical worship services. I wasn’t abused at this church. I was only expected to sit quietly, behave myself, and conform to the ritualized responsse of the service. But I didn’t want to and could imagine that God would be fine with me staying home watching TV, playing with my toys, or resting.
It was a childish rebellion born of ignorance and selfishness but unfortunately this attitude can and does extend to many people who would identify themselves as Christian or “spiritual” who have decided to forsake any assembly of corporate worship. 57% of Americans either never or seldom attend church,( or synagogue,) as opposed to the 20% of Americans that attend every week (https://www.statista.com/statistics/245491/church-attendance-of-americans/) .
So us regular church going folks are the minority. Most people have decided that church attendance is not required as part of their faith. And technically, they are correct. They don’t “have to go to church to be a Christian”. We can conceive of all kinds of scenarios and excuses where church attendance is either difficult or impossible and thus we will not declare that a Christian “Must” attend a church regularly.
But the intention of this blog and current series is to encourage Christians to live out their faith as authentically as possible and the following bible verses indicate that “church” – membership, attendance, and service – should be something a Christian should want to be a part of.
I am sharing a link to Open Bible.Info’s 100 Bible Verses about church for those who want to see some scripture on the matter (https://www.openbible.info/topics/church_ ) but will share a few to make the point that we might want to enter into a local assembly of the saints.
I think the go to verse on this subject has to be:
10:24-25 (NLT2) where The Apostle Paul writes:
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Even Paul had to acknowledge that some people blew off church in his day, but He encourages us to NOT neglect meeting together because the corporate gathering can motivate us to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
Another go to verse for church is:
18:20 (NLT2) where Jesus said:
20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Jesus indicates that there is something about our gathering together that is blessed by God. Jesus tells us that when we gather together, He is in our midst! He blesses us with His presence.
Corporate worship comes from our faith’s beginnings as God called the nation of Israel to be His people and to sacrifice and worship Him with songs. David sung about what a joyful experience “church” could be in
Psalm 122:1 (NLT2)
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
And I can understand that may not be everyone’s church experience and I don’t mean to condemn anyone but merely want to encourage Christians that the church is the place where we can grow and meet our purpose in Christ.
My skeptical faith became strong faith through my worshipping and serving in a local church. Through my former local church, I learned more about God, myself, and how to actually live a Christian life. And while sometimes the “iron sharpening iron” could be frustrating and painful, I know that the growth I have experience in my faith could have never happened without my church experiences and the growth opportunities that came from being a part of a local church.
So I encourage you to not stand in your liberty to forsake the assembly of the local church and to instead seek out and find a body of Bible believers where you can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, where you can increase your capacity to love your neighbor as yourself and where you can increase your faith and discover your purpose in Christ. )
I know Satan loves it when we isolate. SO resist the devil by choosing to serve and worship at a local church.
I know my examination of this lie was mediocre and thus I am sharing links to several articles on the blog today for Biblical reasons to go to church form Bible Reason.com (https://biblereasons.com/reasons-for-attending-church/ ), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associaton ( https://billygraham.org/story/why-should-i-go-to-church/ ) , Christianity.com (https://www.christianity.com/wiki/church/why-is-it-important-to-go-to-church.html) and crosswalk.com (https://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/10-reasons-to-go-to-church-even-when-you-don-t-feel-like-it.html)
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse :
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT2)
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Today’s verse confirms that the Lord is with those who have faith in Him. We are not left alone on this island Earth. This verse reflects the truth of God’s presence in His people’s lives that really has come to bear with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for those who have put their faith in Jesus.
When we surrender our lives to do His will rather than our own and commune with Him regularly through Bible study, prayer, and worship – may be in a church setting – we learn of the experiential reality of the Lord’s presence in our lives. He encourages us. He strengthens us. He helps us. And if we faithfully follow Him, He leads us to victory and in victory. When we put our faith in Christ, we have won. We are accepted into God’s kingdom. Nothing can separate us from His love and nothing can harm us in the ultimate sense. We are victorious in Christ for eternal life but when we repent and decide to live as Christians we also get to experience the victories that the Lord prepares for us here on the earth and all we have to do to experience them is to choose to go “His way” rather than our own.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
1 JOHN 2:2
There is one passage more than any other which is appealed to by those who believe in universal redemption, and which at first sight appears to teach that Christ died for the whole human race. We have therefore decided to give it a detailed examination and exposition.
“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). This is the passage which, apparently, most favors the Arminian view of the Atonement, yet if it be considered attentively it will be seen that it does so only in appearance, and not in reality. Below we offer a number of conclusive proofs to show that this verse does not teach that Christ has propitiated God on behalf of all the sins of all men.
In the first place, the fact that this verse opens with “and” necessarily links it with what has gone before. We, therefore, give a literal word for word translation of 1 John 2:1 from Bagster’s Interlinear: “Little children my, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin; and if any one should sin, a Paraclete we have with the Father, Jesus Christ (the) righteous.” It will thus be seen that the apostle John is here writing to and about the saints of God. His immediate purpose was two-fold: first, to communicate a message that would keep God’s children from sinning; second, to supply comfort and assurance to those who might sin, and, in consequence, be cast down and fearful that the issue would prove fatal. He, therefore, makes known to them the provision which God has made for just such an emergency. This we find at the end of v. 1 and throughout v. 2. The ground of comfort is two-fold; let the downcast and repentant believer (1 John 1:9) be assured that, first, he has an “Advocate with the Father”; second, that this Advocate is “the propitiation for our sins.” Now believers only may take comfort from this, for they alone have an “Advocate,” for them alone is Christ the propitiation, as is proven by linking the Propitiation (“and”) with “the Advocate”!
In the second place, if other passages in the New Testament which speak of “propitiation” be compared with 1 John 2:2 it will be found that it is strictly limited in its scope. For example, in Rom. 3:25 we read that God set forth Christ “a propitiation through faith in His blood.” If Christ is a propitiation “through faith” then He is not a “propitiation” to those who have no faith! Again, in Heb. 2:17 we read “To make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17, R. V.).
In the third place, who are meant when John says, “He is the propitiation for our sins”? We answer, Jewish believers. And a part of the proof on which we base this assertion we now submit to the careful attention of the reader.
In Gal. 2:9 we are told that John, together with James and Cephas, were apostles “unto the circumcision” (i.e. Israel). In keeping with this the Epistle of James is addressed to “the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad” (1:1). So, the first Epistle of Peter is addressed to “the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion” (1 Pet. 1:1, R. V.). And John also is writing to saved Israelites, but for saved Jews and saved Gentiles.
Some of the evidences that John is writing to saved Jews are as follows. (a) In the opening verse he says of Christ, “Which we have seen with our eyes … and our hands have handled.” How impossible it would have been for the Apostle Paul to have commenced any of his epistles to Gentile saints with such language!
(b) “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but anold commandment which we had from the beginning” (1 John 2:7). The “beginning” here referred to is the beginning of the public manifestation of Christ—in proof compare 1:1; 2:13, etc. Now these believers the apostle tells us had the “old commandment” from the beginning. This was true of Jewish believers, but it was not true of Gentile believers.
(c) “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him from the beginning” (2:13). Here, again, it is evident that it is Jewish believers that are in view.
(d) “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us” (2:18, 19). These brethren to whom John wrote had “heard” from Christ Himself that Antichrist should come (see Matt. 24). The “many antichrists” whom John declares “went out from us” were all Jews, for during the first century none but a Jew posed as the Messiah. Therefore, when John says, “He is the propitiation for our sins” he can only mean for the sins of Jewish believers.
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 269–271.