Churches Matter, But Not All Churches Are Created Equal

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

A statement I have repeated consistently over my 35 years of
ministry is this: Not all churches are created equal. In America, churches are scattered across every state, every city, every community, and every neighborhood. The fact that these buildings are called churches, implies they are Christian communities and the people in these churches are Christians. But, unfortunately that is not close to the truth.

Years ago, when I was traveling out-of-town, I picked up a local newspaper and was reading it when I came across a story by a local journalist I’ll call Mary. Mary had been invited to visit a church in her city. She was so pleasantly surprised by her visit, she decided to publish a story about this church.

 Mary came to the church service early so this pastor could give her a tour prior to the congregation’s arrival and start of the service.
Mary had grown up without religion being a part of her life. Neither of her parents were believers and so church had simply never been a part of her upbringing. As Mary walked into the sanctuary where the services were held, she notice many altars representing different religions—each with their own religious statues and/or artifacts representing Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and so on. I believe she said there was about nine altars—eight representing better known religions, and one other altar representing all other gods not represented individually. Mary thought this was so wonderful that all religions were respectfully represented and honored. She thought, If all churches were like this, there would be such a greater unity of people amongst people of religion. The rest of her article was about this church and the thought—Why can’t all churches be like this? I understand how Mary could think like this. She really knew nothing about church. It made me more determined to help people understand what God had created the church to be!

 Becoming a Christian is not this automatic happening, from growing up in a religious home. A person isn’t a Christian because they were baptized as an infant and attended a religious church through their early years of childhood and adolescence. Christianity is not even a religion. Christianity is the broken relationship between man and God through sin, being personally restored through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of one’s life. The people who have personally and individually received Christ as Savior, upon this experience, are called born-again.

Jesus explained it like this: John 3:3-8 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the
kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with  everyone born of the Spirit.”

 Jesus was saying that when you give your life to Christ, a miracle happens. You are born-again. Though you can’t see or know where the Holy Spirit comes from, like the wind, you can sense it. Your sins are washed away and your life starts over as the Holy Spirit helps you begin to see life though God’s eyes.

This Christian instantly becomes a part of God’s universal church. The gathering of these believers together in community is what we most perceive as the local church. Unless a church teaches these truths, it isn’t a church!  And this is why all buildings called a church aren’t necessarily so!

This church that Mary was visiting was anything but a church. Other gods are an abomination to God because they deceive people from the one true God and His Son Jesus—the only one who can save us from our sins. And this is why God had Moses inscribe the words, we read in 

Exodus 20:3-5 (TLB).  “You may worship no other god than me. “You shall not make yourselves any idols: no images of animals, birds, or fish.  You must never bow or worship it in any way; for I, the Lord your God, am very possessive. I will not share your affection with any other god… “

To get to my point today, Churches matter. It matters first
that they truly are a church—a place where people can come together to learn
how to give their life to Christ, and then as new believers learn how to live their life for Christ. It matters whether churches teach the Bible so that believers are taught God’s ways. Many  places called churches are simply religious institutions.

If your church doesn’t teach how to give your life to Christ and how to develop a personal and intimate  relationship with Jesus, you are in the wrong place.If your church doesn’t teach you God’s word and help you understand it in a way that relates practically in how to live it out in today’s world, you are in the wrong place. Churches Matter and  God wants you in one! If you aren’t in the right one, or if you haven’t ever personally prayed and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, pray and ask God now to receive you, forgive you, and to lead you to that right church. I promise you, He can and He will. It will happen and your life will change, find direction, find purpose and become rich in blessing through Jesus Christ. Churches matter because Jesus is the head of the church and calls all mankind to it His church—not to false gods and religions that keep us from Him.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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3 thoughts on “Churches Matter, But Not All Churches Are Created Equal

  1. You say that when you accept Jesus, you are born again. But this seems to say that you must be baptized by water. I am concerned that my grown daughter has not gotten around to getting baptized. Am I worrying for nothing?

    • Carole, salvation comes through receiving Jesus. Baptism is a public testimony of the salvation that happened in the heart so that all men man know. Jesus said if you confess me before man I will confess you before my Father. If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my Father. Baptism again is the expression publicly of what already happened in the heart. It would be wonderful for your daughter to be baptized, but she is already saved and on her way to Heaven.

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