I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. —Psalm 122:1
Martin Lindstrom is one of the world’s best brand building experts. He is the author of the groundbreaking book: Buyology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. His research helps corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Red Bull to market their products so people will be motivated to buy them. Time Magazine called him one the “World’s 100 Most Influential People.”
This week I read about a fascinating experiment Lindstrom did using an MRI. This experiment lead him to the conclusion that smartphones have become akin to a best friend in the lives of many people. When the subjects of his experiment heard their phone ring, their brains “fired off” neurons in the area associated with feelings of love and compassion. Lindstrom said, “It was as if they were in the presence of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member.”
It got me to thinking: How many Christians have a closer relationship to their cellphones than they do to the Lord Jesus Christ. How many neurons in your brain associated with love get “fired off” about spending time with Jesus in prayer, Bible study, or going to church (Ps. 122:1)!
Jesus is a better friend than any smartphone! No one loves or cares for you more than Jesus. If you pay more attention to your smartphone than you do to Jesus, your phone has become an idol in your life.
The devil is a dirty liar (John 8:44). His tactics haven’t changed since he lied to Eve in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Unfortunately, we fall his lies more often than we’d like to admit.
Here are four of Satan’s most plausible lies He uses today:
- “Sin doesn’t matter.” Don’t you believe it! Sin does matter. The wages of sin have not changed (Rom. 6:23). We are exhorted, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye SIN NOT” (1 John 2:1). “Awake to righteousness, and SIN NOT” (1 Cor. 15:34).
Sin will rob you of your peace, your testimony, your health, and your joy.
- “Holiness is not important.” That’s a lie out of hell. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” We have the HOLY Spirit within us… We read from a HOLY Bible. You are commanded to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy” (Rom. 12:1). The truth is: It is God’s will for His children to holy lives.
- “Church attendance is a waste of time.” Satan would love for you to swallow that lie. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). It is God’s appointed agency through which He does His work today. Paul said, “Unto him be glory IN THE CHURCH” (Eph. 3:21). We admonished to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25)? You never be more effective for God outside of a church than you are inside (Mt. 5:14-15 cf. Rev. 1:20). Satan knows this!
- “Preaching is not relevant.” So many fall for this lie, even those who attend church. They prefer music programs, dramatic productions, or interactive dialogue. “They heap to themselves TEACHERS [not preachers], having itching ears” (2 Tim. 6:3). God has chosen the “foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). The Bible says, “Preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Satan hates Bible preaching (and Bible preachers). He will do all he can to keep people from the preaching of Gospel.
So, who are you going to believe—God’s Word or Satan’s lie?
“…come together… that Satan tempt you not…” —1 Corinthians 7:5
While the context of this verse refers to a marital relationship, it also applies to our relationship to each other in a local church. It is vital for us to stay close and stick together as a church. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:25, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
In the May, 1987 issue of National Geographic there was an article about the arctic wolf. It described how a pack of seven wolves had targeted several musk-oxen calves who were guarded by eleven mature oxen. As the wolves approached their prey, the musk-oxen bunched together in a impenetrable semicircle, while the calves remained safe during the long standoff.
But suddenly one ox broke rank, and the herd scattered. A skirmish ensued, and the other adult oxen fled in panic, leaving the young calves at the mercy of the wolves. Not a single calf survived.
Paul warned of “wolves” that attack the church today (Acts 20:29). As long as we stick close together and watch each other’s back, we are safe. But, when believers break ranks they become easy prey for the enemy. An isolated sheep usually ends up the victim of our adversary, who is “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
We need to stick together as God’s flock. There is safety in numbers! Lets embrace the concept of “we” rather than “me” in our church. With Christ as our Shepherd and fellow believers surrounding us, we find safety in the flock.
A Pastor’s Confession
Confess your faults one to another… —James 5:16
I have a confession to make.
I confess, last Sunday morning I didn’t feel like going to church! That may be an eye-opener to some who know I am a pastor. But, unfortunately, it is true. You ask, “Preacher, why didn’t you feel like going to church?”
- Because I woke up with a bad head ache that wouldn’t go away.
- Because I was very tired from not getting much sleep Saturday night. (I stayed up too late working on a sermon).
- Because there was a game on TV Sunday I wanted to see.
- Because I knew there would be people at church who don’t like me and gossip about me.
- Because I knew some people couldn’t care less about what I have to say.
But, in spite of all these reasons, I went to church anyway! Do you know, why? Because it was the right thing to do (Heb. 10:24-25)!
“…and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body…” —Ephesians 1:22-23
“And he is the head of the body, the church:” —Col. 1:18
A person may “go” to church without “being” the church. I see this happen all time. A person comes to our church… sits in a pew… enjoys the music… listens to the sermon, then goes home unchanged. Maybe they will return the following Sunday and repeat the same routine.
On the other hand, there are those who are members of the church. They recognize the church is not a building. Nor is it a performance to observe. They not only attend church, but they realize they ARE THE CHURCH. They are actively involved in it’s ministry. They participate in worship… they support it with their tithes and offerings… they use their talents in serving the Lord… they invite their friends… and they regularly pray for their church and it’s leaders.
The difference between going to church and being the church is simply attending an event or being the event—Being served or doing the serving.
Do you just go to church or will you start being the church? It can all be summed up in one word—Commitment.