Beware of self centered decisions. Your life is no longer yours as a new follower of Jesus, so you must immediately drop all ideas that you are in charge. Right now surrender all things into the hands of your new Lord and Savior, Jesus.
Forevermore, the Bible is your instruction manual and given to you by God Himself. And don’t forget this either, you must turn from all kinds of wrong ideas and sin. God will show you what to do in His Word, and what false ideas you must turn from. You need a fresh start in every aspect of your life so here is one false idea, of many, that you must flee from …
FALSE IDEA: “I’LL DECIDE MY WAY OF WORSHIP AND FAITH!”
Behind every statement that proclaims such nonsense is a defiant person who has not surrendered to God but lives for himself. Whoever claims the right to make up their own mind and choose their own religious practice is still on their way to hell.
Jesus calls to anyone that wants to follow him, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
Admit it, this is the wicked proclamation of Americans in general. “No one tells me what to do!” “I decide if I like or want to go to church.” I have a private relationship with God and do not need church.” “I decide whether I need church or God.” “I am my own master and I have the right to believe in God in my own way.” “Whatever way that makes me comfortable is okay with my God!”
NO IT IS NOT! This is a lie that contradicts God’s Word. Everything is not up to your opinion. You cannot pick out your favorite verses and skip the rest.
The Bible says, “…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 10:25]
You must carefully study this statement from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. The command is to not do like some hypocrites who are doing wrong by following this old lie of not joining together with the church. Please, please, please do not decide that only the portions of scripture that tell you how to get to heaven relate to you.
If you are attempting this line of reasoning then this is still a matter of you trying to play God, and not submitting to the Lord Jesus. Do not attempt to decide which scripture you like and do not like. This is a clear indication that you are lord over your life still, which leaves the Lord God your enemy.
The only friendship God will accept from a man is surrender and admission of rebellion to His authority and commands. And I assure you, God wants you acting like a humble servant, not a proud, know it all.
The whole idea of gathering together as a member of God’s team comes from God Himself. The word, “Forsake” is from a Greek word pronounced egkataleipoo. Thayer Greek Dictionary defines forsake:
1) abandon, desert
1a) leave in straits, leave helpless
1b) totally abandoned, utterly forsaken
2) to leave behind among, to leave surviving
We are commanded “Do not forsake” and this clearly means “do not desert and abandon your fellow Christians.” And to be clear, the church is the called out people of this world who people called Christians but Jesus called “my church.”
“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:18 (NLT)
As Strong’s explains, “a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both) :- assembly, church.” Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
When you utterly forsake the local church of Christians you are disobeying the direct command of God to stick with and gather together with fellow narrow road followers of Jesus. In your pride, you are defying the Lord Jesus who you claim you love.
Not only that, we are further instructed that “Exhorting one another” is our role as a believer and follower of Jesus. This means to gather together [in a church gathering] to help and support each other by encouraging everyone to obey and serve Jesus Christ. This Bible section is talking to you and everyone who claims to be Christians!
You cannot personally “Beseech, Comfort, Exhort, Intreat” [Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary] other Christians unless you gather as commanded. It does not matter what technology is invented, the command is come gather into the same room and practice the Acts 2 fellowship.
“All scripture is inspired by God” and necessary for your spiritual success. Do you think only the promises of forgiveness are talking to you, but not the scripture passages on obedience and submitting to authority? You cannot possibly conclude that only the blessings are talking to you! You must call Christ your master.
Jesus asks, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46] He already spoke to people who thought they could ignore God’s commands and do things their way and by some twisted thinking believe they still would receive blessings, forgiveness, and eternal life from God.
So Jesus explains, “…Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Matthew 24:23-27
Doing nothing means just that, ignoring Christ’s Words.
Maybe as a new believer you think you love God but can’t stand the “hypocrites” from the church because of some bad experience you had in the past. Somehow you may believe this is a good excuse, and you still think it is okay to not go to church.
God disagrees, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother [church people], is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
If you are “born again” the Holy Spirit that entered you LOVES THE CHURCH and fills every true believer! They are your spiritual family, so stop stereotyping everybody.
Okay now you may be ready to say you don’t hate the church, but you just won’t go and submit to the local church’s authority. If you won’t show your love to them in this way then you are slandering, condemning and judging them. Again God says in His Word to you, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Now, if you really claim to be a Christian, God orders you to join the local church in your city and submit to His human authorities, and then work to build His kingdom. Your excuses are not good enough. You must obey God or, as the old saying goes, “change your ways or change your name!”