Lies About The Church (Dismantling Lies, Part 3)

(Originally posted 5-25-17)

If you are a husband, you obviously have a spouse and hopefully care deeply about her. You know her beauty; it’s probably what first drew you to her. You also recognize her devotion and love for you. You can admit she has some flaws; perhaps things that are secret that no one else knows. You know her biggest disappointments and fears. Truth be told, she also knows many of these things about you! The beauty of marriage is that it is an intimate relationship; a bond that is strong and not easily broken. It weathers storms and grows deeper over time.
Many of you have heard and understood this metaphor: the church is Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom. It is such a powerful way of thinking about our relationship with the Savior because it ultimately points to the closeness and proximity we have with Him. Being that Jesus loved the church so much, He was willing to offer His life for it. This is a model for us in marriage:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
If you are a husband, you understand how deeply you love your wife and how much it hurts you when she is hurting. You hurt when others say things that are untrue about her. You are moved to protect her name and support her when lies are spoken. How much more then is Christ jealous for and in love with His Bride? This last and final installment of “Dismantling Lies” focuses on two main lies we believe about the church. Again, there are so many lies that exist for this specific topic. In examining several misconceptions I hear or see about church, these are two that need to be dismantled.
Part 3 - Lies About The Church
Lie #1. The church is full of hypocrites
Ok. Let’s get this one out there right at the start. For a non-Christian who’s heard awful things or a Christian who’s been burned by the church, this is a very common argument. I won’t say that there isn’t validity to the hurt that comes from wounds received by a fellow Christian. I know firsthand that in church people will offend, betray, and disappoint you at some point. And it’s sad fact but we live in a fallen world where sin still exists even within the church walls.
To say the church is full of hypocrites is a blanket statement. It forgets that Jesus established His church as His means of building the Kingdom. Sometimes we wonder why He uses weak and imperfect vessels to advance the Gospel, but really that’s the beauty of it. He loves us enough to use us for His will and ultimate plan for salvation.
So I will agree that there are hypocrites in the church. There are people living one life that is their “Sunday-morning best” but then a completely different life on Monday through Saturday. And if that were the case for 100% of churchgoers, I too would say “Why go to church? It’s all a bunch of people who don’t practice what they preach.” But that is entirely not the case. The church locally is a place for hurting souls and when the Gospel is preached, an amazing thing happens. People respond. Lives are changed. Marriages are restored. Families are brought back together. Addictions are broken. Yes there are hypocrites and people can walk through the doors week after week and not let the Gospel penetrate their heart. And I would submit if that is the case, they have never truly believed in the first place. But the church by and large is not full of hypocrites. I’ve seen the power of a church on-fire with passion for the Lord. It is entirely unlike any other movement on the face of the Earth. And it is a beautiful thing.
Lie #2. Church is something that only happens on Sundays; it’s just a building
Some people see church and their activity in church as just something they do on Sundays. Others see church as just a building; a place to go maybe on Christmas, Easter, and for weddings and funerals. To them it is more symbolic than anything. And the depth of their involvement and commitment in church reflects this.
We need look no further than the earliest accounts of the church in Acts to see where this is completely not what church was meant to be. The church in Acts was organic, vibrant, and on mission with God right out of the gate. It is still the model we must use today:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
As you read those verses what words or phrases pop out? For me it’s things like teaching…breaking bread…fellowship…gathering together…meeting needs…being joyous…showing humility…praising God…seeing souls saved.
Togetherness and community; a holy fellowship in Christ.
This is what church is and was intended to be. More than just a Sunday morning experience. More than just a building you go visit on occasion. The local church is a Body and it is living and active; moving in rhythm with the Holy Spirit and being His hands and feet to a broken world. If it is not these things, it is doomed for certain decline and ultimate death. Sadly, many churches are on this path today.

In closing this entry and in ending this series, I hope I’ve at least spurred an awareness in you the reader to examine lies more fully. I stated this in Lies About Ourselves (Dismantling Lies, Part 1), but it bears repeating: Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 Any of these lies exist because Satan has whispered it into the ear of a man or woman. Once the lie is advanced, it turns into belief; a belief that runs in exact opposition to the Gospel. This is how Satan works. It’s how he has operated from the beginning and how he operates today. So it is worth our time to examine his playbook. We should know and even predict some of his moves. By doing so, we prevent unnecessary destruction and devastation to ourselves and our churches.

One closing thought: today if you are not in a vibrant church that I have talked about above or if you are in a church that is in decline because it does not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you need to find a new church! I am impressed to say this by the Spirit’s leading because I realize so many people are in churches today where God’s Spirit has left. The members of these institutions are simply riding the fumes until the day the doors close for the final time. There are places where God is moving, where real community is being built, and where Acts 2 is lived out. Find such a place. You will never, ever regret it.
God bless you! I’ve enjoyed this series and discussing with you over Facebook, Instagram, e-mail and beyond. In Jesus’ name, I believe we have power to dismantle lies and lift up truth. Stay strong in Him and keep the faith.
I love you guys! Be encouraged and be blessed.
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