I wish I could tell you how many times in the past few weeks I have heard a statement like, “I just can’t imagine that! They go to church.”
I know this is hard for some to believe, but the church does not save a person from their sin.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”
The church and all of its righteous work such as ceremonies, rituals, attendance, giving, teaching and singing does not save a person from their sin.
The church is a place of worship, teaching and its also a sign post that points people to Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells the religious leader something we all need to hear in John 3:3 and 5, “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’”
He goes on to say “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.”
The work of the Holy Spirit seems to be missing in many people’s lives that claim Christianity or attend a church.
Being born again is living out the reality of a spiritual experience in your life.
Once you have had your life opened up to the present reality of God’s kingdom, once you start living as though Jesus were alive and Lord over your life, your actions will be changed and transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Living in a relationship with the Lord goes much deeper that doing the works of church.
Once you have the relationship, the rituals and ceremonies take on a new dimension. You’re not doing them to be saved, but due to your salvation and relationship with the Lord via His Holy Spirit, you act upon the relationship.
Jesus tells us in John 4:23-24, “But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
You may not be able to see the Kingdom of God but it is a reality.
Only when you enter into the realm of the Spirit will your eyes be opened and life changed.
We need the Holy Spirit in our churches now more than ever.
It all begins when you accept Jesus and His work on your behalf.
Please pray that we will see a Holy Spirit led revival in our community.
Pastor Thomas R. Swain,
First Church of God,