We have been visiting a ‘Calvinistic’ church the last few weeks, the only Calvinistic church I know of in our area. It’s the same church I wrote about a few months ago here. We decided then that we would not attend because of what we perceive as ‘works’ preaching.
I believe in gospel preaching. Preaching Christ and him crucified, and there is some of that going on at this church.
I decided to try the church again mainly because I wanted Mason to be around other young people, young people that have morals and values. And Mason likes the young people he has met there. I do too. In fact, Mason met a young girl there that he really likes. Her name is Haley and he has been hanging out with her quite a bit. A very sweet young girl. All the people at the church have been so nice and friendly. I genuinely like them. I went to a ladies gathering with them last Wednesday night, and talked at length with several of the ladies. Such nice people.
I’ve had a nagging feeling though about going to the church because of the ’works’ preaching and teaching. I’ve been praying that the Lord would show me if I should be attending or not. When I talk about my concerns with people, I am told, you will never find a perfect church. ----OK. I’ll keep going, I think, knowing all along in my heart that I am not looking for the perfect church. I know what dreadful sinners all people are, me included, and of course there is no perfect church. I can live with an unperfect church.
But, I just think there are some core things that I must have in a church that I am going to attend. One of those things is no works preaching. I believe the bible emphasizes repeatedly how it is all of grace and none of works. And not just in salvation. Look at Galatians 3.
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
I don’t want someone telling me what I need to DO for Christ. I want to hear Christ preached. I want to hear about what Christ has DONE, not I what I should DO.
When I hear about Christ and him crucified, it wells up within me such love for him. That makes me want to do the right things. (Not that I always do, in fact I fail miserably).
This morning in Sunday School, the lesson was on evangelizing. Teaching us a method to use to talk to people about Christ, about how even though we don’t want to talk to others about Christ and it sure is hard to do, we are commanded to, so we must work hard on doing this.
And yes, we ARE commanded to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. I know this. But give me a lesson on what Christ has done for me and I WANT to go evangelize. Give me a lesson about how I NEED to evangelize and I feel guilty because I don’t evangelize enough, or I feel pumped up to get busy and go evangelize to make some points with God. ---And what good is that?
There is lots of talk at this church about repentance and sanctification. Do I believe in repentance and sanctification? You bet I do. But probably not in the same way it’s being teached there. I believe repentance means a change of mind, a change in our thinking, and of course, as that happens, there will be a change in the way we do things, but the main focus is on the change in our minds in the way we see the gospel. The main point being that Christ does it ALL. We no longer work to gain acceptance with God. We rest in Christ alone.
And I believe sanctification means: being set apart and holy, which we are if Christ died for us. We are set apart and holy, as holy as we will ever be. We do not become more and more holy as we go along. When we are in Christ, we are as holy as we can get. God sees us as completely holy and perfect because that’s what Christ is. We don’t work to become more holy. Although we do grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord as believers.
There are so many pictures or allegories in the bible about works vs. grace. I know it must be so important to God. He will have us relying only on Christ. Christ gets all the glory. We get none. I believe that’s what it’s all about. Resting in Christ alone. And that takes all the pressure off of me. I don’t have to do a thing. What a wonderful gospel. I love that gospel and that’s what I love to hear preached.
What am I going to do about attending the church? I don’t know for sure, but I’m leaning towards not going there, and that makes me somewhat sad because I sure like the people there. I’m still praying about it, but I feel in a way that my prayer has been answered already.
Mason & I left after Sunday School and listened to a sermon when we got home on the computer. It was called “Christ, our Hope,” and it sure was good.
I love to tell the story,
'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.