The woman liked church. There was something special about being within the four walls of its fellowship.
At church, there were friendly people who accepted her for who she was, there were plenty of social opportunities, and there was that general feeling that came when you fulfilled your duty.
She was going to church after all.
But there was one thing that the woman really didn’t get. And that was a growing intimacy with Jesus.
Heck, she wasn’t so sure about him at all. Church was enough wasn’t it?
Why complicate it with something she couldn’t see, hear, smell, taste or touch?
No, for this woman church was enough. It made her feel good. And that’s what she was after – to feel good.
Now, I don’t know who this woman is. For me, I think she’s a combination of people that I know or I’ve heard about.
Probably, too, she’s a bit of someone I used to be.
And maybe there’s some of you in her as well.
I have a friend who always encourages me to dig deeper in my relationship with the Lord. Our talks are often sporadic; we see each other here and there.
But when we have a few moments to ourselves, I always make sure to put on my “listening ears.” It seems that when she talks about God, I often feel like I’m drinking.
She’s what I call a “Titus woman” to me, exemplifying the scripture found in Titus 2:3-5 (see below).
The other day we had one of our “talks.” We both attended the same Christmas party, and I needed a ride home. My husband had played “taxi driver” enough that day with our kids, and I thought I’d give him a break, so I asked her.
In my driveway we lingered in her vehicle, and I listened to her as she shared some of the things God had been teaching her.
And one thing she had to say about churchgoers hit me hard: “There are many in the church who are bound for hell,” she said. “People like to ‘play church.’ I’ve gone to church all my life, but I haven’t always been a Christian.”
Now that may sound harsh to you. The people are going to church after all right?
Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but we need to remember that God is true to his word.
And no matter how holy our surroundings, if we haven’t been born again then our future isn’t bright. God wants our heart –all of it.
You know, my grandmother went to church for quite a few years before she died. She and my grandfather had been invited by some friends and somehow they ended up as churchgoers as senior citizens. I’m thinking that my grandfather even became an elder in their church after a while.
I was just in college then, but I mustered up my courage to ask my grandmother about her relationship with God. She never talked about him, and I wanted to make sure that she was going to go to heaven when she died, so I went ahead and asked the question.
“Oh no,” she quickly replied. “I’m too much of a stinker.”
Now, I know that response was kind of a funny, but it was also sad. This churched woman either hadn’t grasped the meaning of her salvation through Christ, or she hadn’t received it at all.
I found this quote from the late evangelist Dr. D. James Kennedy in his book, “Delighting God,” “Many people don’t realize that all historic Christian denominations have always held that a new birth is essential to enter into salvation. That is a view not only of Presbyterians and Methodists and Lutherans and Baptists and Congregationalists and Episcopalians but also of Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox. There is no Christian denomination that does not maintain that this is true. But tragically millions of people in our country and even in our churches have no experiential knowledge of what it means to be born again.”
Kennedy later quotes 2 Corinthians 13:5a: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith. …”
I think the late Christian singer Keith Green said it best: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.”
Churchgoer, are you born again?
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
John 3:5-7 New Living Translation
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
Ephesians 2:8-9 King James Version
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 2:3-5 New International Version 1984
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.