Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Don't be a "Wine-Tasting" Christian

The shepherd's (pastor/ elder/ overseer) charge... "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." -Acts 20:28

The flock's response... "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." -Hebrews 13:17

I'm struck by the symmetry of these statements. Being part of a church is to be earnestly invested in one another. There is no hint in the New Testament of the "wine tasting" Christianity that is so prevalent today. I am no oenophile and have actually never had any interest in wine (Dr. Pepper and sweet tea are my drinks of choice) but there are many wine lovers out there who attend wine tastings. They go for the social scene get a bit of the ambiance, the flavor, the aroma, and move on to another activity. Too many Christians treat the church the same way. Some come to taste the music program or the youth program. Others (who think themselves more spiritual) come to taste the preaching or the excellent Sunday School teacher. Still, they are just tasters. It is one "experience", one activity, one event on their week's schedule.

The church is an investment of your life and all that entails- time, talents, treasures, and trust. The pastor or pastors are there to commit themselves to you. My responsibility is to bring God's Word to bear on my fellow church members and to watch over their application of its truth. Before I was a pastor it was men like Jay Gross, Cliff Mayton, Greg Wallace, and Joe Worley that stood watch over my soul as I sat under their pastoral leadership. Even now there are church members who I trust to watch over me and fellow pastors in the community who hold me accountable. Who is holding you accountable? Are you invested in your church and submitting to pastoral oversight? Are you giving loving accountability to other members of your church family? Or is the Sunday worship assembly just a "wine-tasting" event for you?

If you are not invested then you are not examined. You and I need others to help examine us to make sure we are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5; Gal 6:1-2) and make sure we are producing spiritual fruit. It is possible to have a lot of Biblical knowledge and not be growing spiritually. This happens when we are not invested in a local church and submitted to Biblical oversight from others. Don't taste the wine... drink heartily from the riches of Christ by investing totally in the lives of other believers in covenant together.

1 comment:

Kenneth Bent said...

I call it having a "restaurant" mentality towards church. You just go for the food, the service, and the ambiance, and you leave your "tip", but you never join the Owner's management and hosting team to contribute to the restaurant's /church's success.

If for some reason one day you don't like the 'service', you can simply change restaurants (churches).