II ROMANS 30
GOING TO CHURCH IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING A CHRISTIAN
There are a couple of verses which I want to examine again, for I feel that they need to be emphasized because they are so important but are so often ignored by those who call themselves Christian. In verse 11, Paul says, “Never be lacking in zeal. Keep your spiritual fervor”. In all my years of preaching, I have observed that many people come to church regularly and occupy the same pew Sunday after Sunday. However, if most of these were asked what the sermon was about, they would have no idea. Their singing is lackadaisical and they are obviously not concentrating on the words of the song they are singing. Even the prayer is often a general dissertation, covering a wide range of needs, but without the zeal of earnest petition and realization of the presence of God. The Lord’s Supper usually has someone whose words are trite and copied from the past, and lead us through a ritual that has little contact with our inner soul. I do not think this statement is too harsh, for most of you realize the sad truth contained herein. For many of these people, attending church is the whole expression of their religion, and they leave it here when they go home.
The reason I wanted to go back and look at this verse again is because it expresses one of the things which God considers most important. In the book of Revelation, God sends a message to the
church at Laodicea in which He says, “You are lukewarm, and I would prefer that you be cold or hot. In your present condition I will spew
you out of my mouth”. What a terrible thought, to be so obnoxious to the Father that He wants to spew you out of His mouth. But that is how He feels about those who go through the motions of their religion but do not have enough zeal or spiritual fervor for it to affect their lives outside the church building, and even lacks earnest involvement
when they are there. Let us all take heed, lest we let our faith slip into a state of lukewarmness.
In this section of the 12th chapter, Paul is describing what it takes to be a Christian. Too many preachers and church leaders would describe a Christian as one who had gone through all the right rituals and obeyed all the correct rules of what they call “The Gospel”. The word “gospel” means “good news”. In this 12th chapter we are being told how God wants us to live in order to be happy in this world and in the world to come. He tells us how to have the most precious gift…
the gift of hope.
In verses 9 and 10 he says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil and love what is good. Be devoted to one another with brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves”. Paul does not list any
legal rules or ritual acts. He says a Christian is not one who has passed the initiation requirements, but one whose life imitates the
sacrificial and love-driven life of Jesus Christ. That is what makes one a Christian. Even obeying all the rules does not make one a Christian. Only a life motivated by His Spirit within, and truly loving that way of life with sincere fervor, is acceptable to the Father. Just
ask Him, by reading all of His Word, not just the selected passages
that support an interpretation of what some think He wants.
To be continued next week.