Borrowed Truths

The Attendees

Picture of Borrowed Truths

The Attendees

I have noticed something over the last few years that I would like to bring to your attention today, an item that seems to be much more prevalent in the Christian community recently. Approximately ten years or so ago I knew a man that by a simple sentence instructed me in a way that has given me many more possibilities of witnessing to the lost than I realized and which has also introduced me unknowingly to other followers of Christ. If you have noticed over the course of your own life, after the initial pleasantries have been concluded, the “Hellos” and “How are you” statements have been achieved and normally a statement about the weather has been answered, most generally one of the next questions is inevitably “What do you do for a living” or something similar in reference to where you are employed.

This individual I knew, this brother of Christ, worked for a road department, maintaining and ensuring that the traveling public was as safe as possible as they traveled to their destinations on the highways and byways. His answer to this question was always the same, and he honestly looked forward to being able to respond in the same manner to any that asked it of him. “I am a Christian, cleverly disguised as a road worker.” The responses he received as you may have guessed covered the entire gamut, from puzzled stares, short one-word answers, to exclamations of joy from other believers who had just had an opportunity to meet a fellow Christian.

The usage of this statement in my own life has been a great blessing for me in this area, and I also have had opportunities to respond to that question in like manner. I must admit though, very few times have the conversations been carried much further after giving these people that response to their question of my employment area, it seems to really take them off their guard, it is not what was expected. What this answer does is threefold in a sense, it informs these individuals of our first priority, that of service to our Lord, and our place of employment, that building or site that we return to usually five days or more days a week that trades us money for our labor is secondary. Next, it affords an opportunity to either witness to this individual or is in a sense a quick assist to see if we have just met a fellow believer, and thirdly, the most important reason of all, is that we have just lifted up the name of Christ, we have given Him the glory first and foremost.

Every opportunity we have to speak to others about Christ is one we should always take, no matter where we are, no matter the circumstances, no matter if we are in a hurry to be somewhere else or not. The only true timeline that should matter in these moments is the time that we have been allotted to serve before we are called home, a servant does the bidding of his master.

The company I work for recently hired a young man who has a cross tattooed on his arm, an excellent opportunity to begin what I hope will be a long term witnessing opportunity, for when I asked him the reason for the permanent mark on his arm his reply was “I don’t know, I was young and dumb.” Do you think that I am planning to exploit this opportunity, of course! My responsibility is quite clear and easy, bring him to the cross and let Christ take it from there, his response is his decision from that point. Which brings me back to the point of the initial statement of this letter to you, that item I have been noticing in the Christian community, those greetings of the professing believer.

The initial response I most generally receive from those who state they are followers of Christ when I mention that I also serve Him is “Where do you go to church.” Now, this is of course is a reasonable question, for we have been commanded to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25), but this verse has almost become a mantra to many who call themselves Christians, as if it is the one verse above all others that we are to adhere to, and that is the problem. Nearly all, not all mind you, but most of these individuals that ask this question of me do only that, they go to church, and that is about all they do. Church attendance has become the “go-to” proof that they are indeed Christians, their weekly foray is the accomplishment of all of God’s commandments, and although they may be able to tell you that there are indeed sixty-six books in the Word of God, they struggle to be able to describe sanctification, salvation, or even the basic precepts concerning the assurance of our salvation.

My answer to their question of the place that I worship is usually one that they shy away from, and generally ends the conversation immediately, I am very sorry to say. My reply comes in one of three forms, “What are you studying in your Bible at home,” “How has our Lord been using you recently, what beyond church attendance have you been doing for Him,” or “How involved are you in your prayer life today and how can I pray for you.” These questions generally receive no response, they will look at their watch and exclaim that they have someplace to be or give some other reason, some excuse to excuse themselves, their service is to their church, not to Christ, though for these individuals it can be very difficult for them to discern a difference in the two. I have always wondered if the church that they attend was forced to close its doors, would they just go to the next one down the street, or be content to not have to get up early on Sunday mornings anymore.

These individuals rarely read their Bibles, much less study it. The Sunday morning announcements are glanced over to see what new entertainment the church will be offering soon, and the prayer requests on it are simply passed over. Their conversations in the church building almost always revolve around the current events of the world and their own interests, it is nothing more than a place that you are supposed to go on Sunday. They say that “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25) is one of the most important verses in the Scripture, but when they meet a servant of the Most High God during the week, they excuse themselves when the conversation turns to the Truth of the Words of God and no longer revolves around their church or the world. Many of these buildings are nothing more than mausoleums, and though not all of them inside of them are so deceived as to believe that they are serving Christ, many by simply attending each week are.

I hope that you are already aware of this my friends, but attending church regularly does not make you a Christian, being an obedient servant to the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has commanded us to be, being constantly submissive to the Holy Spirit, and doing all that we do for the Glory of God does. If there are any rewards in Heaven for church attendance, they will be given only to those who have done all these things with it. There are no rewards for simply filling a spot in a pew each weekend.

It has become much easier for me to recognize these individuals that we are speaking of here over the years, not only do they ask me where I go to church, but about the only thing they offer me is this statement, they invite me to their church. No questions concerning my faith, nothing about my current walk on the path to His Kingdom, not even a question to see if I need any prayers in a specific area of my life, just invite me to church. My one hope is that this individual is not representative of their particular church, that there are actually God-fearing, Christ-centered, Bible-believing servants of the the Lord in that building, and that this one is just one of a very few within that congregation that believes that church attendance means that they are a Christian. Hope is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? One can always hope.

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