Galatians 2:16 – nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus…….
We Christians sometime spend our time trying to obey the Ten Commandments when in actuality we do not need to be trying to keep the law at all.
We will go to church every time the door is open, tithe our ten percent, we do not smoke, drink, dance, go to movies, we look down on and condemn those who do not do what we feel the Bible commands. We feel guilty every time we mess up and think God is going punish us if we do not do everything we have been told is ‘right’ to do as Christians.
What happened to grace? What happened to being saved through faith in Christ and Him alone. It is not Jesus and baptism, not Jesus and church attendance, not Jesus and tithing, we are saved through faith in Christ and his grace. It is Jesus plus nothing. We have been restored to fellowship with God through Christ by his death and resurrection. That does not mean we just live our lives doing whatever we want, but we live out of love and in the freedom we have through grace. We do things because we love God and love others and no longer out of obligation or trying to follow the law.
Let’s stop laying all the rules and regulations on ourselves and others thinking that will make us better people. Let’s live in the power of His grace through the Holy Spirit, loving God and loving others, letting God lead us in the way He wants us to go and enjoying the right standing we have with our Father.
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Posted in Christian Life, Community, The church, tagged abuse, body of Christ, church, church abuse, fellowship, House of God, New Testament, religion on May 22, 2016|
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Many times when I mention that my wife and I have left the organized church, people assume something happened to hurt us or make us mad.
Just to be clear on this subject, neither one of us have ever been abused or hurt by the church. Neither one of us are mad about some event or some person at church.
After nearly sixty years in the organization, and after the last ten of those years feeling that something is not right with the system, we made the decision to leave and follow Christ outside the walls of religion. To be clear, that is our decision and we certainly do not expect everyone to agree and do the same thing. Many people are part of the organized religious system we know as church who truly love God and want to serve Him.
We believe the Church is a community of people and not a building nor a service held one day each week with paid professionals leading the service. We believe the Church is each of us who follow Christ and see him as the head. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and each of us are equally functioning members making up his body.
We believe forsaking not the assembling of yourselves means we need one another. We live each day having fellowship with those God brings us together with, no matter where it happens. We never truly found real fellowship when we sat in an organized service for an hour looking at the back of the head of the person in front of us. We believe true fellowship is not just sitting together with other people in a room, but it is daily loving, encouraging and praying for one another and meeting the needs of those we are able to help.
The temple in the Old Testament was only a shadow of what was to come in the New Testament. God now lives in us as his temple, and he is our leader rather than another human being we call pastor. There is no hierarchy in the Church today. Each of us are equally important parts of the body and able to teach, encourage, build up and pray for one another. It is truly a priesthood of all believers, not a one man show. Those with specific gifts for helping the Church are not better or more spiritual than the rest. They are brothers and sisters who walk along beside those who need encouragement. They are those who have learned a spiritual lesson and are there to help those who are still learning. They are servants more than they are anything else.
So when I say that we have left the church, it is only the building and organization I am talking about. We left, not because we were mad or hurt but because we believe the religious system most people call church is far from what God is building. He is building a group of people who will daily follow Him outside the walls of religion and organizations of men, loving God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, loving their neighbor and accepting all they meet along the way.
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Have you ever felt frustrated with modern-day Christianity? Obviously the church today is not what God intended and in America the church has become a big corporation more than anything.
On the other hand, no matter what church or Christian group you belong to it seems we just cannot accept each other. We always have groups that say one thing and then along comes another that says something completely different. Then one group gets mad and argues their point and it just seems fruitless to continue debating one another. One group says this is the way to do it, the other says no your way is wrong but our way is the way to do it.
Obviously this is not to say that the advice of trusted Christian friends should be avoided, but the continual arguing over differences, doctrines and interpretations should be something we stay away from at all costs.
I am at a point where I am frustrated with this type of Christianity and ready to say forget it. God loves me. There is nothing I have to do or stop doing to receive God’s love. I am saved through faith in Jesus Christ and I have the Holy Spirit living within me. I do not have to listen to this group or that group, this speaker or that preacher. God can guide me in the way He wants me to go and I no longer should worry about my reputation or what others think as long as I am living pleasing to my Father. Does anyone else feel this way too?
I really think if we accept God’s love for us the way we are, follow Him by being willing to do what He wants us to do and listen to the guiding of the Holy Spirit within us we will be OK no matter what others say. We no longer have to be tossed to and fro by listening to all the different voices in Christianity today. We need to listen and trust God and enjoy the fellowship we have with Him through Christ.
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In our world today there seems to be a lot of talk in the Christian world of standing up for our beliefs and doctrines. It seems we feel this is the best way to show our devotion to God and be a witness for Him.
I am not so sure we are going about this in the correct way. As Christians we are getting to be known more for what we are against and being unloving rather than showing the love of God to others.
A lot of us go to a church building on Sunday and sing and smile and listen to a sermon and think we have fulfilled our duties for the week. All day we are feeling good and close to God and think everything is good.
Then Monday hits and we go grudgingly off to work with a frown on our face and feeling down. We may be in a bad mood and snap at our fellow employees and try to make them feel as bad as we do.
It seems we forget that Christianity is not a religion or a one day a week life. As followers of Christ we are to let Christ live through us in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are to let his love flow out of us to touch those we come in contact with throughout the day.
Rather than try to win people over to our way of thinking by pointing out their mistakes and shortcomings, rather than condemning them and making them feel like outsiders we should be allowing the love of Christ to touch them. We should be accepting and treating all people like we want to be treated.
While Jesus lived in bodily form on earth he constantly spent time with those the religious crowd would not even think of being around. He spent time doing things that the religious leaders thought were wrong and against their religious laws. They could not even accept him as the messiah because he was so different from them and what they thought was a godly way to live.
Jesus accepted people for who they were, just the way they were and did not show condemnation toward them. As followers of Christ we are to do the same. It is not our job to be the judge of others, pointing out their sins and mistakes and treating them like second class people. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin where conviction is needed. We do not need to do the job of the Holy Spirit, we are here to be Jesus to all people, loving, accepting and treating everyone with respect no matter who they are or what they believe.
In our world today with all the discrimination and unloving ways of the world and even of the Church, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to love through us to touch others and let them know they are accepted and cared for, and in God’s eyes they are loved beyond measure. Love is the way of God because God is love. Stop the unloving and condemning attitudes and let those you come in contact with each day know they are loved and accepted just for being themselves.
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You know what bothers me? The way we christians cannot get along. I am not talking about getting along with those outside of our beliefs and our way of thinking, we cannot get along with fellow christians. We are to love those who think and believe differently also, but we are to be known for our love for fellow believers.
Now I do not expect everyone to agree with each other. God gave us minds and personalities and we are all different. But as I read different blogs and postings I see a trend sometimes that is more than just disagreeing. It seems to get down right ugly.
We Can Disagree without Getting Mad
Obviously we are going to disagree on things, but can’t we disagree and yet respect and love the other person? It discourages me so much when I read a blog and go through the comments and see disagreements that turn into arguments. It gets to a point sometimes that I have to get away and stop reading.
I always wonder why it is we just cannot accept the views of others and go on. Seems like a lot of people really get upset when they cannot get someone else to think the same way they do. We have to go on and on trying to prove our point or our way of thinking.
I know when you write a blog you are opening yourself up to comments and disagreements, but do we have to go to some of the extremes of getting mad and losing our tempers because someone else has a different viewpoint.
Are we not being just like the worldly crowd, fighting, arguing and expecting others to see things our way or else? What happened to being known as Christians by the love we have for one another?
Humans are never going to agree with others on every point, but we who are following Christ should be able to disagree with our brothers and sisters and yet do so in a way that non-believers will still be able to notice the extreme love we have for God and for one another.
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