Church is one of the lamest hobbies I can think of.
And here’s the question for us this weekend: How will we approach God in corporate worship? …Is he a real person we will encounter? Or do we keep him imaginary? Many of us open our Bibles claiming readiness to “hear from God,” but the way we really approach the word looks different. Maybe we just want to check off the box or impress our friends or pacify our small group leader. Many of us claim that prayer is our opportunity to “speak with God,” but the way we really pray looks different. Maybe we just dash off a few well-worn clichés, again. And many of us say we are going to the church’s corporate gathering to “meet with God,” but the real approach, well, it looks different, too.
If God is just a myth to you, either pray to be granted repentance and regeneration, freeing you from bondage to the deadly lies of sin and death which this world wants to sell you… or go home, organize your sock drawer and read a fantasy novel.
John 3:3-8 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
One begins to bear ‘fruit’ contrary to one’s former impulses, and that fruit accords with the character of the Holy Spirit of God, as spelled out in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), among other places. If there are no such discernible effects, (not perfectly, but as an increasing pattern and trajectory of life, pushing out the opposing characteristics of natural, selfish life), then one has neither Spirit nor Life.
2nd Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were hardened ; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart ; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.