I recently had the privilege of going to visit Ralph, one of our congregation members who was hospitalized in Tulsa. During our visit, a member of the medical staff there came in to check on things and this hospitalized brother, in typical fashion, introduced me as his preacher. The hospital staff member then made a comment suggesting that that made us brethren. When Ralph then inquired as to whether he was a member of the church of Christ, he said: “I don’t think it makes any difference where you go…”
A couple of weeks ago I was out in the church building parking lot and happened to get involved in a friendly conversation with a close-by neighbor who was baptized into Christ here along with her family several years ago, but who have since fallen away, or become ‘out of service’ members as some might refer to such. I carefully commented on the fact that it would sure be nice to see them back in services again on Sunday. “We’re going to ‘———- church,’” she said. I commented that I’d never seen that church in the bible. She giggled nervously. I said, “Well, if a person is going to claim that they believe in God and His word, then they certainly shouldn’t be going to a church they can’t find in His word, should they?”
You just have to sit back and wonder sometimes when – or worse yet, if – people are ever going to ‘get it.’ When are those who claim to love the Lord and trust His word, actually going to open it up and see, study, believe and obey what it says in black and white? Because if they ever do, then this ludicrous and satanically-orchestrated idea that it simply doesn’t make any difference to God almighty where one chooses to attend church or how one chooses to conduct worship would never rear its ugly and soul-destroying head ever again.
Nadab and Abihu didn’t think it made any difference whatsoever to almighty God where they got the fire to offer on His altar – but God surely showed them that it made all the difference in the world (Leviticus 10:1-2)!
The man picking up sticks to start a fire on the Sabbath apparently didn’t think it made any difference whatsoever to almighty God if he transgressed God’s commands for His holy day over something so “trivial.” But he was wrong – dead wrong (See: Exodus 31:13-17; Numbers 15:32-36).
King Saul insanely thought he could somehow violate the direct commands of almighty God in favor of following his own feelings instead. Not only was that “foolish,” but fatal (See: 1 Samuel 10:8, 13:5-14, and all of chapter 15).
For centuries, countless people – and in many cases, those who claimed to love and serve God faithfully – have in reality, foolishly and fatally chosen to follow the desires and dictates of their own deluded hearts, instead of choosing to learn and follow God’s divinely-inspired words (Deuteronomy 2914-29; 1 Kings 12:25-33; Jeremiah, chapters 3-23; Ezekiel 13:2-17).
Jesus solemnly warned his apostles that “Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father or Me” (John 16:2-3). Saul of Tarsus “thought” he must, and in fact he did exactly that – and more. But as he soon found out, following your own heart and what you may think or feel, as opposed to learning and following only God’s holy word and exactly what it says, only makes a person wrong – dead wrong – no matter how deep their convictions to the contrary might be (Acts 26:9-11).
It defies any semblance of common-sense, logic, or biblical reasoning, when one who claims to love God (John 14:15), claims Jesus as Lord (Luke 6:46), and claims to be religious, rejects outright the word of God which will judge us all on the last day (John 12:48); when they think they can “get saved” by a process never seen or mentioned in the word of God (such as the “sinner’s prayer”); that they can attend a church never seen or mentioned in the word of God; or that they can practice worship never seen or mentioned in the word of God, and yet, that the God Who had that word written down for their instruction, will somehow still be pleased with, and not reject them, who rejected Him!
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)! And one cannot do by faith, that which one cannot find in the word of God (Romans 10:17)! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9). And therefore, as God further informs us, “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Psalm 28:26). Don’t be fooled by your feelings! Learn and do God’s will (Matthew 7:21-27)!