Why Are You Here?
by Kyle Campbell
Why are you here? Have you ever really stopped to think about it? You decided to get up on a Sunday morning, change into your nicer clothes, and sit from one to two hours in a different looking building among people you only see a couple of times a week. All of this and it’s your day off as well (for most anyway). Why are you here? The answer to this question is so important that it may very well indicate where you will spend eternity after this life is over. Could there be any more important question? Consider four possible answers:
“My wife or husband will be upset if I don’t come.” If that’s your answer we’re glad that you’re here but it says a lot. Does this mean that you feel you don’t need to be here (other than for your spouse)? Or do you feel the Lord isn’t concerned one way or the other? Perhaps you’re not concerned how the Lord feels, one way or the other. Is this what the Lord wants from those who worship Him? Just a warm body filling up a space on the pew? Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Just being here doesn’t “count” if you refuse to worship God in spirit.
“My parents make me come.” Many stop attending as soon as they have the choice. Young people, there are many things your parents make you do. Such things as going to school, doing your homework, practicing cleanliness, and brushing your teeth. Which of these will you stop doing once you have the choice? Do you really think you’ll regret having a good education? How much more important are the spiritual values your parents are trying to instill in you? The Lord uses young hands and feet in His service as well as older hands and feet. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” The wisest man in the world said that we should “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’” (Eccl. 12:1). Be busy in the Lord’s work. You can make a difference.
“I’m here because God said I have to come.” In many respects this isn’t a bad reason at all. We often do things just because God said so, even when we don’t understand why. But what often accompanies this kind of reasoning is an attitude of doing only what I have to do. In other words, it isn’t, “God, how much can I do?” It’s, “God, how little can I do and still get by?” Many seem to think that as long as they partake of the Lord’s Supper, they’ve met their “minimum weekly requirements” and are free to go wherever they please the rest of the week. Typically, these members never teach a class, visit the sick, talk to their neighbors about the Lord, or offer much encouragement in the work of the church. Why? They aren’t here! God requires worship for a reason. He said through the apostle Paul, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25). Do you think God wants those who only go through a ritual of service to Him? Does God want children whose main claim to being His child is that they’re there for the Lord’s Supper? Here’s what God said to the children of Israel when they only “went through the motions” of worship to Him thinking that was all He wanted: “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps” (Amos 5:21-23). Serve God out of love from a pure heart.
“I’m here because I love the Lord.” I’m here because I’m a sinner and need a Savior. I’m here because of all the Lord has done for me. I’m here because I love my brethren and enjoy being together. I’m here because I like to worship God. I’m here because I need to be here! I need my brethren praying with me and for me. It lifts me up to sing praises to God. The Lord’s Supper is so much more than juice and bread. It’s a communion together of the body and blood of our Lord and Savior. God’s Word should be sweeter than honey to us. Therefore, we enjoy studying from God’s Book. And our Lord has blessed us in so many physical ways. Isn’t it a blessing to be able to give back to Him? Then when it’s time to leave, don’t you feel better prepared to face the world? Perhaps our worship together helps to “disarm” Satan somewhat as we go about the rest of our week.
Be glad for the privilege of worship. Come because you love the Lord. Truly our God is the Most High, deserving all honor, glory. and worship. “I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so, shall I be saved from mine enemies” (2 Sam. 22:4).
Now, why are you here?
The Church is God’s Temple
By Jeff Curtis
Sociologists say that the modern-day Western world is becoming extreme in its individualism. The individual’s neglect of community responsibilities appears to be accelerating. Civic groups have trouble attracting members, and public service in government is declining in popularity. People spend more and more time looking at screens on phones, computers and other electronic devices. Ironically, while the widespread use of “social media” brings people together in one way, it also isolates people from one another and reduces human interaction.
The church that Jesus built is much more than a community pf people who share a common confession of faith and commitment to a given way of life. Along with everything else that the church is, it is a social network. Like other institutions that depend on social involvement for existence, the church suffers when individualism results in isolation. Adaption to the spirit of the times is possible only to a degree. For example, evangelism often begins with an individualistic appeal; “Do you want to be saved?” some evangelists ask. “All you have to do is say the sinner’s prayer and let Jesus come into your heart.” Such an appeal would have sounded strange to Peter, Paul and other authors of the New Testament. Paul taught in the marketplaces and on street corners. He called on people to repent and to be baptized (Galatians 3:27). He told those who would listen that, following a public statement in faith in Christ and the Son of God and baptism into Christ, the Lord would add the saved to a body of people. Life with Christ means life in community, it means life in the church.
Being saved is more than a private, individual act to let Jesus into the heart. In addition to obeying the gospel, it is becoming part of a people – sharing with them, receiving encouragement from them, and being corrected by them. Each member gives and receives from a social network of people in the church.
The church at Corinth suffered to the degree that Christians in the city forgot they were members of one another. Collectively, they were the people of God, the temple of God. God lived in (indwelt) His temple. The apostle was bold enough to teach that no life in Christ was possible, no indwelling of Christ was possible, no indwelling of Christ could occur in the individual, until that person had been added by Christ to His body. The church flourishes or wanes, depending in the commitment of individuals to all who share faith.
A lecturer in a chemistry class once performed a demonstration one day that made a lasting impression on the class. He took a flask of glass. It looked ordinary. He explained that the glass had been hardened by a special technique. To prove his point, he used it as a hammer. He lifted it high with his hand, and drove a nail through two boards. After that, he lifted the flask, took a small metal shaving, and dropped it into the glass. It shattered into a thousand pieces. He took a broom and swept up the pieces. The class learned that blown glass containers that not cooled in the environmental way can be extremely hard on the outside yet fragile on the inside.
The demonstration shows that churches that are firm in teaching the truth and seemed able to withstand external pressures but were torn apart from within. A church can be strong as a hammer when it confronts external forces and still be vulnerable to internal attacks. The church at Corinth was breaking apart before Paul’s eyes – not because they had left the doctrines of Christ, but because “slivers” of selfishness, pride, and jealousy were shattering their fellowship from within.