I want to draw your attention to some thoughts from A.W. Tozer concerning churches and the people that attend.
1. The kinds of people who will not be at home in a Spirit-filled church.
a. Those who put on their religion as a Sunday garment.
b. Those who refuse to let religion endanger their own plans.
c. Those who expect religion to be fun.
d. Those who embrace a church only for cultural values.
2. The kinds of people who will be happy in the Spirit-filled group.
a. Those who have a leading ambition to be rid of their sin.
b. Those who want to know God and to walk with Him.
c. Those who have learned to recognize the voice of the Shepherd.
d. Those who are sensitive to the Invisible Presence.
Now, some are already bristling at the term “religion.” They will clamor, “I have a relationship, not a religion.” True, Christianity is first of all a relationship with Jesus Christ and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. However, it is also a religion, for Jesus said that if we love Him we would keep His commandments. The key to a successful relationship is doctrine. To know Christ is to know the doctrines that are presented in the Bible, thus religion. It has been my experience that those who make the cry, “It is a relationship” are those who do not want to study doctrine nor practice them.
Many people do not want to practice the Word of God. They like it as a “Sunday garment.” If people would practice their Christianity it might affect their social standing, so it becomes a Sunday-only religion. Their plans, pleasures, and recreation come before what God has for them. They seek such and yet say they have a relationship? I have heard many over the years say that they would not do such-and-such, or live in such-and-such a place. What if God tells them to do it or go there?
“People want the benefits of the cross but yet they do not want to bow to the control of the cross.” (Tozer) Fun, fun, fun, yet Jesus tells us to pick up our cross. Ouch, that isn’t much fun. Listen, entertainment is not worship. Let me tell you that true worship will develop a true relationship.
One more thought for today. We do not go to church for the feeling, for the fellowship, for harmony and “how-to” do this or that. We go to church to meet with a holy God. We go to church to be directed to live by His holy Word. We go to church so the Scriptures can teach doctrine, rebuke, correct, and instruct in righteousness.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
–2 Timothy 3:16-17 (HCSB)