Church Is NOT Attendance Based
You said a while ago that the Second Birth is the qualification of why people are together in love and prayer and service. Second Birth is for real and to be born again is a miracle. Nowadays it seems to be such a common thing to hear of “born again Christians.” It implies that there are Christians who are not born again. I’m just interested in your comments on this.
You mentioned that the phrase “born again Christian” implies that there’s such a thing as a Christian that’s not born a second time, and of course, that’s not possible. “Unless you’ve been born a second time, you don’t have a place in the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Not believing Jesus on that matter is one of the errors of the religious world, and the home church movement doesn’t solve that problem.
You all will have to come to grips with this—that there are plenty of people who say, “Lord, Lord,” and Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you.” There are people who say “christian” things and have “christian” ways and even do miracles in His Name to whom Jesus will say, “You’re not even Christians.”
The typical thought about that is, “Well, that just means when everything is said and done we’ll find out that some people aren’t Christians.” That may be true, but the reality is that people are willing to accept anybody as a Christian just because they say they are, and that’s not Jesus’ way. If we are attendance-based, centering our Christian life around attending something—whether it’s a big building or a house—then we will never really know who anyone is.
There will be plenty of false or pretend christians who sing well and know their Bibles. “Even the devils believe and tremble.” “Satan masquerades as an angel of light.” It’s very possible to look spiritual if we’re in an attendance-based environment. But there is no such thing as an attendance-based church in the Bible! No where in any of the letters or in the book of Acts or anywhere in the Bible, will you find that church was something that you attended. Rather, it was something where all the people were together as a Family.
“Who are my mothers, brothers, sisters?” (Mark 3).
“If you forsake your life, you’ll have a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions, with persecution, and in the life to come—eternal life”(Matthew 19:29).
If we live in an unBiblical way where we can attend each other rather than give our lives to each other on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then we’re never going to really know who people are. We are going to assume that some people are Christians who aren’t. Weak people will stay weak. False christians can even be leaders in that kind of environment because there is no one there to test their life. There is no feedback. They live in an ivory tower and come down from the tower, preach a sermon and go back. Who knows what happens in that tower?
Jesus said even the twelve apostles of the Lamb were to be brothers amongst brothers. “Call no man leader. Call no man master. You’re all brothers” (Matthew 23:8).
“The greatest shall be a servant of all” (Matthew 23:11). Lay down your life for people. “Decrease,” like John said. Don’t try to increase yourself. Find a way to decrease yourself. Find a way to become nothing. Unless we become nothing, so small that we could go through the eye of a needle, then really we’ve not demonstrated Jesus’ life. So, the process of loving each other on a daily basis is one of the ways we gradually resolve this issue with love and care, with patience and wisdom.
“A little leaven leavens the whole batch” (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). If we’re attendance-based there will always be leaven. There will always be many false christians and many who say, “Lord, Lord,” but were never Born a second time. They just said they were because they prayed a prayer, but they were never truly converted. The Spirit of God does not live in them. They continue to live in sin but they don’t care. They don’t love the light; they love the darkness because their deeds are evil. But who even knows that? All you know is that they sing well on Sunday, but that is not Biblical Christianity.
So it is true that being Born a second time is the only way a person can become a Christian. But let me add this thought: the only way a person can be a part of Jesus’ Church is if they’re a Christian. A non-Christian cannot be a part of Jesus’ Body. How could they be? That’s like sticking a patch of dirt to your arm! It may be stuck to you, but does that make it a part of your body? No, of course not! It’s foreign matter and if you leave it there, it will make your body sick. It’s like if you lie in bed too long, you get bedsores, right? If you just lie there in bed for too long, your skin will start to become infected because you’re touching something that’s not part of you. You may need to have your arm or leg cut off simply because you lie in bed too long. Now there’s a warning for laziness, eh? God built it into our biology, didn’t He?
The point is, God does not mean for foreign objects to touch His Body for long, long periods of time. If we build in such a way that a foreign object is allowed to stick itself to the Body and call itself part of the Body when it’s not even saved, it will infect the Body. It’s not even a part of His Body, because it’s not even saved. Yet it’s attached to the Body, and if we leave it there, leave it, leave it, leave it…it will eventually infect the Body. “A little leaven leavens the whole batch.” That’s a principle of God that’s built into your human body so that you can remember it. We may not allow someone who doesn’t belong to the Body of Christ to pretend that he is, simply because we close our eyes and don’t have enough relationship with him to even know.
Whether it’s in a house or in a big building, if we are attendance-based and most of our Christian life and relationship comes from attending a two-hour service and a couple of programs during the week, we will never know who people really are. It is not possible to know. If you only saw your child twice a week, would you be able to recognize the look in the eye that says they’re struggling or having a problem? No, you wouldn’t. The reason you know that look in their eyes is because you’re very involved intimately with them, and you’ve lost sleep over them. You’ve prayed over them, loved them, and eaten with them. You help them learn their academic studies and so you see those attitudes and say, “No, no no.” You walk with them and throw the ball with them. Your lives are intertwined, intimately.
That’s the kind of relationship that Jesus means for us to have with each other every day. This is not about meetings or programs. This is about loving each other so the world may know that we’re His disciples. That’s also how we may grow in the Grace and the Wisdom, the Knowledge and the Favor of God and man—because of the intertwined love that we have. The gift of you is now given to me daily and vice versa in the same way Jesus was with the twelve every day. He didn’t attend the twelve and the twelve didn’t attend Him.