The saying was once, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” I have attended many Bible Studies that are really nothing more than another Sunday morning service with a few of the accoutrements left out, the individuals range from those who are committed to Christ to those who feel it is their obligation to be present every time the church doors are not locked. The conversations at these evenings of get-togethers are usually much more intensive either before or after the meeting, rarely is any in-depth discussion about the subject matter brought up in the allotted time frame. “Any questions or comments” is usually answered with silence, for either those is attendance already know the totality of the subject, they are fearful to speak for many different reasons, or they have not been paying enough attention to even have heard the question.
The analogy is one of the best ways I can describe the walk of the Christian, either willingly submissive for the glory of God, or simply attending because they feel obligated to. The amount of service we give to Christ is based only on one thing, how much we love Him, there are no dutiful obligations performed because of the fear of possible retributions or actions in love, it gives, and serves, freely, without any thought to self. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Cor. 13:4)
I do not believe many people attend church functions out of love, I do not believe they attend for the sake of worshipping corporally, for the possibility of growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, they attend for the most part purely for selfish reasons. Many believe that by attending these functions God will be pleased with them, they have done the appointed deed, and therefore are in His good merits. Church and all its related functions for many is no more than a work, a fear in hope of not offending, and it is quite easy to prove this theory by simply spending a short amount of time around these individuals.
They are fond of idle and useless conversations, they are good at stating the obvious, their works hold no eternal substance, and when questioned about how the Lord is using them, how He has sent them and what they have achieved for His kingdom the previous week, they usually have an excuse to leave your presence. The compilation of their faith rests only inside the building with the cross on it, they find the location holier than the life they are to be living, it is an excuse, a rationalization for dead works outside of those doors. It is why I refer to many of these places as nothing more than clubhouses, those who are known are accepted, strangers who pass through those doors are not looked upon as opportunities to serve Christ, but as intruders.
Traditions hold sway at these locations, certain constructs have been set in place that must be adhered to, the known is accepted, the unknown must prove itself worthy of their companionship. The pastor, the elders and deacons have set in place a sort of ordinance that must be observed by all, a few of the long-standing members agreeing with these unspoken regulations. The rest of the crowd simply goes along, looking at these individuals as more than what they truly are, closer to the spiritual truth, they are not a part of the problem as long as they do as they are told.
The messages have adapted as well, usually concerning themselves with how they should be inside, not outside, how they should see themselves, and not what others should see inside of them. They have quenched the Spirit, (1 Thess. 5:19) if He was ever in them in the first place, prayers are almost always generalized, personal prayers are held in high esteem, healing and preservation is placed above humility in suffering and service to Christ. The little get-together is over, the niceties are performed, “see you next week” and then back out into the world, for the world, for the flesh and self.
There is more than one evil in this world my friends, but the evil of hypocrisy is to be abhorrent in our eyes, first within ourselves, the most difficult place to accept it, and then among those who claim Christ as Lord. We are told to take the log out of our own eyes first, then to help our brothers and sisters, (Matt. 7:5) but many believe that log is impossible to remove, and so they remain silent, never reproving or correcting (2 Tim. 3:16) with the Word of God, believing themselves judgmental instead of judging with righteous judgement. (John 7:24) As it always has been, fear is the key motivating factor not only in the lives of these individuals but in the churches they attend, but not the fear of the Lord. The possibility of being ousted from the good graces of their friends and family, of not being accepted, of being too stringent and conservative in their following of Christ.
If you desire to follow Christ, many times you must leave that which you love, you must go apart from the crowd with Him alone, you must seek first His glory because of your love for Him, and you must stand when others will not. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16)