Like a growing number of people in the Body of Christ, I find that Jesus is not central, let alone mentioned, in our churches.
This trend is disturbing.
I have read reports in states like Rhode Island, that churches are closing all over. What can one expect if people are not hearing about Jesus, their living Savior?
Notice that I said: "Living Savior"
Did you know that Jesus is alive today?
"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)
Yes, even in many churches, or rather buildings with the Cross on an altar or on the walls, there is a lot of talk about Jesus, but who He was when He was on the earth, before He died on the Cross.
Many people do not know that He is now our High Priest FOREVER!
"Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 7: 16-17)
He is still ministering on our behalf today.
This neglected subject is not good.
There is no power in ourselves. We need Life, and we find this Life in Christ Jesus:
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1: 4)
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)
The subject of life and death does not get the much needed treatment in houses of worship either. To this day, men and women are turning the grace of God back into law and religion, which inadvertently brings back sin and license into our lives:
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3: 20)
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Galatians 3: 10)
Not the law, but the grace of God must be ministered to us:
"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2: 11-14)
"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15: 10)
Church attendance does not save us, and in fact, if there is no place where Jesus is not proclaimed and revealed, then that is not church.
Bob George of People to People Ministries could not have put it better [53:00-54:00]:
"Man says: 'Look at what I am doing for you!' Jesus says: 'Look at what I did for you
!' Man says: 'Look at how I went to church.' God says: 'Look at how I went to Calvary'."
Bam! So many people shame others about church attendance, when they have rejected everything else:
"23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23: 23-24)
The word "judgment" does not speak directly of condemning people, but rather God's divine standard, which no man can keep, and then the grace of God which grants us faith to live by righteousness (Romans 1: 17)
Now, there is the passage in Hebrews 10: 25:
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10: 25)
Yet that is one verse out of many verses which promote Jesus, grace and truth which define all that He is, and our growing in grace and knowledge of Him.
Assembly is not about keeping people in line in terms of doctrine, for we are all called to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2: 15), and because of the Holy Spirit we have received all knowledge and direction (1 John 2: 20, 27)
The Word of God is our standard, not the traditions of men:
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15: 9)
Let us put aside the traditions of men, and rest in the eternal truth of God's Word, which reveals one Person: Jesus!
If the building you go to on Sunday, or Saturday, or whatever day of the week does not reveal Jesus, then it is not a church.
It's not about what we do, but what Jesus has done!
Church with Christ is not church at all, and many people will defend their houses of worship without blinking, the same way that they root for their favorite football team.
"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." (John 8: 32)
We are not set free because of church attendance. We are set free because of the truth of God's Word, which reveals Jesus!