NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25 New King James Version).
Many Christians do not attend church. They have their reasons and in their minds, those reasons are valid. Some feel they are not in a good spiritual place to set foot in a church. Others were treated unfairly at one house of worship and made the decision to never go back. Then there are those who feel they don’t need to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ because they think they can teach themselves much better. Still there are some who have no desire to serve in their church, so they don’t go, lest they be asked to serve. Church, these are tactics of the enemy to bring division, strife, disunity and conflict to the Body of Christ. Some of these folks may be very strong in their faith, but the longer they avoid fellowship and the feast of God’s word with other believers, the more they starve.
Please read very carefully what is being said here- God is not speaking to those of us who may miss a Sunday or church activity now and then, He is speaking to those who do not go to church for reasons of their own. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:5 NKJV). This verse speaks about marriages, but God granted me insight to it in the context of this message. We, as Christians, are the Bride and Body of Christ. To remain strong yes, we need to fast and pray; but we also need fellowship, corporate and agreeing prayer, as well as worship, to teach and be taught, to be useful to God and others, to share our gifts and talents, to strengthen and encourage one another, to pray for one another and to minister and bring God’s love to the lost. Our relationship with God comes first and foremost above all else, but He also designed us to be social. With our many different gifts we are united in one Body. When we decide we are not fit to be inside a church, or if a church is not fit for us to be inside, we have lost our self-control and given in to the lies of Satan. We may not even realize it, we may still pray, we may still worship…but have we allowed God to use us? Do we have questions God wants to use someone else to answer? We deprive someone else of the purpose God has for them as well as deprive ourselves of our blessings by our refusal to congregate with the brethren.
Make no mistake; God is not just speaking of Sunday services in a church building. Church is wherever we are because we carry it inside. It could be a gathering of Christian friends; it could be coffee with one person. It might just be a small or cell group meeting; or a church prayer meeting. We each are a necessary part of the Body of Christ; let us not give in to the schemes of the devil to tell us otherwise. God has a purpose and plan for us and we have to allow Him to show it.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually (1 Corinthians 15-27 NKJV)
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wisdom and insight. Thank You for the meat of Your word, for Your correction and discipline. May Your truths be hidden in our hearts and may they be applied to our daily living. May we not think ourselves so far above that which You teach us, may we be humble and trusting of You. Forgive us for our selfishness, forgive us for not allowing You to fully use us, forgive us for our giving in to temptation and to the lies of our enemy. Father, remove our doubt, our fear, our pain and show us the path to take. Father we ask that for those who feel they are not spiritually fit enough to gather with Your saints, may they look to the cross again; for those who have been hurt in the past by members of the Body, may they find forgiveness in their hearts and may they have courage to step out in faith and assemble with Your Body; for those who feel that they can teach themselves, we ask that You reveal Yourself to them and to grant them teachable and humble spirits. Father, for those who don’t wish to serve, we ask that You place within them servant hearts, worshipful hearts, gracious hearts. Father we ask for unity within Your Body, within Your Church. We are Your Bride, Lord, purify us, mold us, shape and fashion us to what You desire of us. Let us not deprive one another of the purposes You have for each of us, and let us each fast and pray to draw closer to You. We give You all glory and honor for You are worthy, mighty, faithful, Holy and true. In the precious redeeming name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: If you have not been to church or a fellowship or any gathering of the saints, take that step of faith today and begin to draw closer to the Body of Christ. Ask God to show you where He desires for you to be planted.
Additional Scriptures: see passage
“The bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” ~John Wesley