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Topic: Church Attendance

What to Expect from Church

by Darrel Cline

In a number of articles (119) we have been writing about the biblical issue of church attendance. We have seen (120) that God turns into a severe disciplinarian if His instruction to His children is ignored (Hebrews 10:27 calls God's attitude fiery indignation). We have also seen that He is not impressed with action (going to church) that is not an honest reflection of the heart (motive for going). (122)

Now we come to another question: what should we expect from the church we attend? It is very important for us to be aware of the fact that this question will be answered in one of two ways. The vast majority of people who answer it will do so on the basis of their own experience and preference. Some few will go to the Bible to ask it what our expectations should be.

Now it should go without saying that if the Bible is the Word of God, we ought to go to it to find out what God's answers to our questions are. However, most people find that a troubling requirement, so they, still wanting to be religious enough to stay out of trouble with God, just fall back on their own particular tradition.

I was amused (in a gallows-humor kind of way--because there is nothing funny about it) recently when I heard of a particular church getting a new main man (priest, pastor, preacher, etc.) with whom the people were very happy. That they were happy wasn't the reason for my response. The reason they were happy was. It seems that they were very happy because the man limited his sermons to five minutes. That way, they could be in and out of there in about a half hour. I don't think God is amused. I know He isn't pleased.

How do I know? Because the Bible says that our church attendance ought to provide us with a solid grip on biblical doctrine (Acts 2:42). For example, when the apostle Paul called folks together for church, he often preached for hours on end (Acts 20:9). The reason? Because people didn't know the heart and mind of God and it was his task to help them know Him. I know (after nine years of formal biblical training with an advanced degree in Bible, and twenty-odd years of pastoral experience) that people cannot get to know the mind and heart of God from 5 minute sermons once a week. And if I know it, God, for sure, knows it.

One of the things that the Bible says we ought to expect from our church attendance is a growing knowledge of the content of the Word of God so that we personally know its Author. In these days of extraordinary ignorance of the real content of the Bible, God is hopping mad (this is no joke). His anger is infinite and almost unquenchable. I say almost because He does relent when we repent. But, our repentance must be genuine and it must result in our looking for a church to attend which makes teaching the content of the Bible a main priority.

Just remember--if the teaching of the Bible bores you, your boredom is with the God Who made you and Whom you will look in the eye one day to see if you can find any acceptance there.

What will you see in His eyes?

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This is article #123.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.