Category Archives: Answering The Whys

Answering The Whys? – Why Do I Need To Go To Church?

church question markI’m willing to bet in nearly every Christian church attending house in America this question is uttered by at least one person periodically, if not weekly…

“Do we have to go to church!?”

If it was possible to add a whining sound effect to typed text, I would have done it there.  If forced to choose just one person for the sound effect it would not be a child, but a fully grown, “I work hard all week so let me sleep in on the weekends,” watch sports, and just leave me alone man.  Men in our country are the worst at leading their family to church and, honestly, if dad is asking “Why do we have to go?” more times than not the family “ain’t going.”

To be honest, most of the fault for people not wanting to come to church falls on the church.  In most cases churches have become holy huddles where outsiders are advertised to come, but when they walk through the doors it’s clear they are not welcome.  Poor communication of the Bible, tepid kids programming, and dated worship sung by out of tune singers would cause me to run to the exits too.

As a pastor I want to apologize for those experiences.  We need to do a better job as the church to make the God of the Bible come alive for kids and adults alike.  In order to have God do what He does best, I believe we need to give Him our best as a church and provide environments, teachings, and experiences that He inhabits and that you want to come back to.

So why do we go to church then?  Does God want me to go to church?

Is God so narcissistic that He needs people to come and tell Him how great He is every week?  Isn’t God everywhere, so can’t I have “church” in my head while I shop for groceries at COSTCO?

Scripture says God doesn’t need our worship because if we decide to miss out on the opportunity all of nature is chomping at the bit to give Him praise.  So, clearly if the inanimate can’t wait to praise him, the animate which He sent His Son to die for should not be able to contain themselves when given the chance to worship Him.  Especially with other believers!

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25

I believe the writer of Hebrews frames the “why” perfectly for us to see our need to go to church.

First, what we process is that Jesus is Lord, died for our sins, and is the only reason we have eternal hope.  That alone should drive us to want to be in His presence, but sadly our humanness prevents us from sticking to anything for more than 5 minutes, even our worship of God.

Because of our ADHD humanness, we see that God says we need each other to stay focused. He wants us to encourage each other along in this life through love and demonstrating that love by doing something with what we know.

Finally the way He designed this all to happen is by being in the habit of meeting together.  By connecting.  By worshiping.  By coming together as the church.

Honestly the consequences of not doing this are heart breaking.  If we don’t have someone we are walking alongside, we will slip.  We will stumble.  We will fall and being by ourselves we will be left to pick ourselves up.

Ever been there?

Ever felt alone, dizzy, and scrambling to make sense of your life as you rub your head from yet another fall?  Sure…we all do.

God’s solution for this is community…it’s His people…it’s the church.

We need the church as much as we need air because without it we will die.  It’s what fills our souls with God’s air of refreshment, encouragement, and nourishment.  Dare I say it is “minty” fresh! :)

In all seriousness, we all could think of a reason or 50 not go to church each week.  If I’m honest, the lake sounds great to me too some Sundays.  But knowing that I have a standing weekly meeting with a God that will fill my spiritual lungs, encourage my soul, and allow my worship to bring Him joy is too powerful to pass up.

God doesn’t “need” my worship to sustain Him, but I need to worship Him to sustain me.

THE SPIRITUAL SHORT:

Why Do I Need To Go To Church? – The church is the reconnection point designed by God to rally His children, preach the Gospel to the lost, and allow for corporate praise too Him.  It is the object of Christ’s affection and should be sought after by His children as urgently as the air we breathe.

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Answering The Whys: Why Do I Need To Get Baptized? (Part 2)

As we continue our look at baptism we now dive into the evidence we see to get baptized and why we should do it.

The first and most convincing evidence is not only does Jesus desire for us to do it (Matthew 28:19), but He was baptized.  In the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark we read that “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:9)  A Christian is defined as a being a “Christ-follower”.  This means that we should follow Him in all things including the waters of baptism if for nothing else that He did it!  However, there is more to baptism than just following Jesus’ bandwagon.

Secondly, we see that when someone accepts Christ as their Savior, whenever possible, they are baptized.  As we continue in the story in Acts 16 we see what the response is by the jailer.  “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.” – Acts 16:32-33 (emphasis mine).  We see that upon hearing the Gospel and accepting Jesus there was action placed to their faith.  This passage indicates that inspiration is followed by declaration which is demonstrated in public dedication.  That public dedication is baptism.

Now although this seems to be the desired order of acceptance of Christ as a Believer we don’t see baptism being prohibitive in coming to faith.  As I said before, baptism is not a matter of salvation.  There are times where baptism isn’t possible as in the case of the confessions of the dying in hospitals, people in prison, and so forth.  We see several examples of this in Scripture, but none more convincing than the thief on the cross.

As this vile man hangs bloody, naked, and suffocating on a cross next to our Lord we see his broken spirit confess to Jesus.  “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. – Luke 23:42-43 (emphasis mine).   Jesus says that in that moment he was saved.  Not after they pushed pause on the crucifixion, ripped him down, found a river, dunked him, nailed him back up, and then finished his execution.  Nope.  Jesus says TODAY you will be with me when this life ends.

So you may still be asking “then why do it?  If it’s not a “requirement” for my salvation what’s the point?”

I’m glad you asked.

I believe baptism is where we begin to put our spiritual money where our mouth is to use modern terms.  Baptism is the public display of our inward faith where we corporately declare ourself property of Someone else and choose to follow Him the rest of our days.

Through baptism we symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus by being buried with Christ (submersion in water), dying to our sin and being washed clean (the water covering our body), and then raising to walk in the new life with Jesus (raising up out of the water).  Baptism allows us to publically declare and accept Christ’s gift of Grace and walk forward on His path in obedience to Him.

Baptism should never be a point of division amongst believers, but rather something we celebrate together when a person steps forward in faith to declare their love and allegiance to Christ.

Listen, I believe that if you are a Believer of Christ you should be baptized.  If Jesus can die alone, naked, bloody, on a cross for our sins I think the least we can do is publicly declare our faith in Him through baptism. Additionally, I think baptism is a critical step in yours and mine discipleship, dedication, and pursuit of Christ in our lives.

In submission to our Savior we submerge ourself in baptism.

So if you are reading this and have not yet been baptized you should pick up the phone, call your pastor, and schedule a time to get “bathtized”.  Don’t wait another minute to publicly declare your faith to Christ and let that moment propel you into a even deeper love and pursuit of Him.

THE SPIRITUAL SHORT:

Why Do I Need To Get Baptized?: Baptism is a public declaration of your inward submission to Christ as Lord and Savior by which you promise to follow and love Him the rest of your life.

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Answering The Whys: Why Do I Need To Get Baptized? (Part 1)

My daughter Aniston loves to ask my wife and I questions.

One of her favorite ones is:  “Tell me ‘bout your work day!

She loves to know what Cherie and I do each day and we love to tell her.  Oddly enough she really IS interested and especially when my wife talks about all the surgeries she was a part of.  Talk about hard to top work days for me!

Well one day I told Aniston about my day and how I was telling people about Jesus and that I got to baptize some people too!  She stopped and asked “Daddy, why do you need to give people a bath?  Were they dirty?”  Yep, you guessed it she thought I said “bathtize” not baptize.

I LOVE my little girl.

I believe many Christians struggle with the idea of why they need to be baptized or “bathtized”?  I mean, does God REALLY need me to get in a tank of water, tell people I love Him, and then get reversed body slammed into the water and brought back up?

Really?

The simple answer is yes.  God’s desire is for all believers in Christ to get baptized.

However, I do think there a few things to point out in this answer for a more complete understanding of this sacrament.

To be clear from the beginning, baptism has nothing to do with your salvation.  Scripture clearly states that our salvation is found in confessed faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 10:9, John 3:36, 1 John 5:5, 1 John 5:11-12).  However, the passage I feel that will help us the most is found in Acts 16.

Here in Acts we read that upon being arrested, beaten, and shackled in jail, Paul and Silas are left to rot in a Roman prison.  Yet not even torture could break their spirit of praise and as they sat in jail they worshiped God.

That night, God sent an earthquake that rattled the jail opening all the cells giving the prisoners the chance to escape.  However, Paul and Silas did not flee knowing if they did the jailer would likely kill himself.  Their faithfulness paid off and as a result we read about this amazing conversion of a Roman jailer to Christ and the basis for our salvation.

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” – Acts 16:29-31(emphasis mine).

There we have it.  Simply put, salvation is found in belief in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So if the question of salvation is independent of baptism why do it?  What is the point of taking this step?

We will continue to tackle the rest of the mystery of “bathtizm” next time. :)

 

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