Today most Christians have been conditioned to judge one another based on what “church” fellowship they attend. So often when someone finds out I am a Christian, the first question asked after that is “WHAT CHURCH DO YOU ATTEND”. My response is that I am part of the SAME church as them as the BODY OF CHRIST. (Really the only thing that divided the early church as the church was the cities they were in) This fact amazes me because somehow we have convinced ourselves that the early Church had the same standard. That they didn’t value the love that each other had but focused on who was sitting in a pew every week. One who reads the New Testament would find out they are extremely mistaken.
Let’s go to scripture and find out how to know if someone is a believer (Christian) or not.
1 John 3:17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person?
Here we have a simple one that simply tells us that LOVE will show us who is a Christian or not. We are given an example of what a Christian would do in a situation. I remember the days when I went to a weekly service and passed by the needy because I felt I had to use that money to pay my “tithes”. Sometimes I would tell them I wish I could help you but I only have enough money to pay my “tithes”. Did that mean I did not have God’s love in me? ABSOLUTELY!!!
The next scripture i’ll use is probably the most important way for us to know who has the Spirit of God (who is a Christian).
Gal 5 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Here we have very detailed understandings as to who is of God and who is not. What characteristics both sides of the spectrum would have. Notice one of those characteristics of those who follow the sinful nature does NOT say does not attend weekly Sunday or Saturday service. Also notice none of those characteristics of those who live by the Spirit does NOT say attends weekly service.
Another example of what will make a Believer is when Jesus tell’s his disciples what will happen when we go before judgement.
Matt 25 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Again noticed we are not being judged base on attending weekly services. By now I hope you guys are getting that it’s about LOVE. LOVE…. LOVE!! Every aspect of being a believer of Christ is LOVE. See going to a church building is SO much easier than loving other people… even those who aren’t loving toward us. We Christians over the years have created so many standards that make it mentally easier for us to consider ourselves Christians. How many times have we heard someone define their Christianity by… I PAY ALL MY TITHES, I GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY, ETC. Not often do we hear… I LOVE EVERYONE WHO PASSES BY, I GAVE ALL MY PRECESSION TO TAKE CARE OF THE NEEDY, in fact, most of us can safely say we have NEVER heard that. (I have a few times now)
Then we have those who use the “DO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLY OF GOD” (Hebrews 10:25) as a scripture to condemn and rebuke those who do not attend those weekly services. It’s funny that a scripture is being used this way even though early Christians DID NOT meet the way we do today. This is what happens when MAN’s heart tries to use scripture for their own means. It is usually does with good intentions BUT is not used with the intent it was written. That chapter in Hebrew is NOT about going to a church building what so ever. It’s much deeper than that on a historical aspect.
How easy it is for us to take scriptures like Acts 20 7 (On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.) and use it to support what we already do. Just because you use it that way doesn’t make it correct.
Now those who do go to weekly services, I don’t want you to feel like this article is against you. It is about those who feel they are superior because they go to those weekly services vs. those who go out and feed the needy, those who have home fellowships, and those who LOVE as Christ teaches.
Let us learn to grow as loving people who no longer judge one another based on silly human arguments. (1 Cor 2:13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words) We are going to have to learn how to let go of some of the things we have been conditioned to believe in order to do this.
Love you all,