Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.orgPeanut Butter Religion By Mark J. Ward
"If you were to go to the grocery store for peanut butter, you would find that you had several choices. You could decide on the basis of how much it cost you, how well it suited your particular tastes, and you could even have your peanut butter already mixed with jelly if you liked! Well, believe it or not, many people use this very same approach in "finding a church".
"FINDING A CHURCH"
It has been estimated that there are over 1500 religious groups in the world today. Yet there is only one Christ. In John 17, Jesus prayed that His disciples be united. Paul, by inspiration, condemned religious division in the first chapter of I Corinthians. Why, then, the utter mass of confusion? Is God the author of such? Certainly not! (See I Cor. 14.33; Eph. 4.1-6).
Where do you go to try to find a group of people meeting in the name of the Lord? Ever look in the Yellow Pages? Pretty confusing, isnt it? There are so many listings it can make your head spin. One might drive within a few miles of his or her home and pass by several buildings that represent a place for religious people to gather for worship.
Why not read the New Testament before making such an important decision? Sounds crazy? Not if you really think about it. The words therein are Gods Will for man living today (Heb. 1.1ff; James 1.25). The inspired words of the Bible are the words that should be our guide in searching for a local congregation of people who are practicing New Testament Christianity. But, how many people do you know look to this book before setting out to "find a church"?
"HOW MUCH DOES IT COST ME?"
Normally, one will ask the question, "What will I have to do if I go to that church?" In other words, "Whats it gonna cost me?" If we have the right spirit toward God, we will want to know what His Will is and we will want to do that. However, such is not the attitude of those who are trying to locate themselves with a congregation that will condone their present style of living with little or no change being necessary. This would be a good example of "shopping for a church." If one particular church were maybe more tolerant of worldliness, for instance, it might appear more appealing to the flesh. But this is not the proper criteria for basing whether or not we will join ourselves to a church (Col. 3:17; Acts 9:26).
"IT SUITS ME"
It is possible to "find a church" that suits your every whim and desire. The possibilities are almost endless. But this is a peanut butter religion; choosing the kind YOU like best. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son His Son built His church man has no right to pick and choose in religious matters today like we might pick and choose our peanut butter at the grocery store! (John 3:16; Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Lk. 9:23; Lk. 14: 26-33).Let us determine to seek God and His Will and forsake all others. Brethren and friends, think on these things (Phil. 4.8). mjw
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