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What are you doing in the church?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Christ related
Normally we do not do things without a reason: we work to earn money to live; we try to provide for a comfortable retirement; we make good investments so that we can enjoy life without economic stress; we take part in sports to exercise our bodies and remain healthy; we take relaxation to stay alert and productive; et cetera.
Therefore there should be a motive for going to church - a logical, understandable, enjoyable, good enough reason to encourage us to attend regularly. It could be that we love the congregation and/or the minister; above all, we love the Lord and His Word; prayer is high on our agenda.
Is this what we find in real life? Are there people who attend church, but do not understand what they are doing there? Let us consider the reason for going to church.
The church is the gathering of the saints, the future bride of Christ. They are in the process of being prepared for marriage. That marriage will be characterized by only one thing: holiness. Revelation 19:7-8 says: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints).”
Note that the “bride has made herself ready”. When did she do it? It is not done there (after death) at the wedding feast. The preparation is now, here on earth. God graciously gives us time in this life to prepare for eternity. Preparation is not sitting in church without a goal. It is attending church with the overwhelming desire to get to know the Bridegroom better (this should not take place only in church).
It is also stated that the “fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints”. We will be in heaven in a pure, clean and sinless community. Sin will be confined in hell. The need to do righteous acts is here in this life before we die. Part of this is to learn in church how to have good relationships with the other parts of the bride. This bride consists of billions of people (just like an earthly bride has billions of cells, nerves, et cetera). Fancy being part of the bride, but you really hate the guts of the one elder, the pastor is really an old fashioned man out of sync with what is going on in the post modern world, and besides, the services are too long. Your problem then is a lack of sanctification.
Question: do you understand the seriousness of the preparation of the bride? There are people whom Jesus said He definitely will not get married to. To be more frank, He said that they wouldn’t even be in heaven to get married to Him. (Matt 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”) Why these stark, harsh words? They reckoned that they prophesied and drove out demons in His name. But Jesus was honest: they did not do what His Father commanded. What is it? Without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We have the Holy Spirit to help us.
Church is a ‘school’ or a ‘beauty parlor’ for all prospective members of the bride.