I Used To Hate Church

“At that moment (when Jesus died) the curtain of the temple (which separated non-priests from God’s most holy place) was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” 

Matthew 27:51 (my notes added)


Have you ever heard the saying, “The veil was torn,” but didn’t know what it meant? The above verse explains it. In Jesus’ time, at the temple, where people went to pray to God and make sacrifices, there was a 3-foot-thick veil which only the priests could go past, and they went back there to present blood offerings to God for the people’s sins (see Hebrews 9:7). Gross, I know, but God requires blood to remove sins (see Hebrews 9:22).

The amazing thing is, when Jesus died on the Cross, that very moment the earth shook and that veil was torn! (See Matthew 27:50,51). Jesus actually became our final blood offering to pay off our sins! Once and for all! (See Hebrews 10:10, John 19:30).

This is why the Bible says in Hebrews, AKA, “Jewish people,” (the author is speaking to the Jews who were still bringing blood to the temple, when it was no longer required), “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth (faith in Jesus’ blood only), no sacrifice (bulls, goats, etc.) for sins is left” (Hebrews 10:26, my notes added).

The author of Hebrews wasn’t writing to Christians, he was writing to the Jews who kept bringing in the blood of animals to get forgiven when God didn’t want it any longer! Jesus’ blood was the final sacrifice!

The religious Christians want people to think that verse applies to believers in Jesus, and it does not! The author (who was more than likely Paul, but it’s not clear), was talking to the Jews who wouldn’t fully swallow the work of Jesus’ blood as the final sacrifice—they were just dabbling with it. They heard about Jesus, but were still hedging their bets on the blood of animals.

This is a classic religious manipulation running rampant in our churches. Hebrews 10:26 is not applicable to those who have already placed their faith in Jesus’ blood at the Cross. This incorrect teaching keeps people in fear by setting up unattainable goals of never sinning again. We have flesh! That flesh will sin! We have unrenewed mindsets, with sinful attitudes. But sin is not who we are at our spiritual core–that person, is Christ (See Romans 6, Galatians 2:20). The Christian life is not about focusing on sinning less, but instead it’s about living out Christ who is in you. When you do that, then you will sin a whole lot less, and you’ll do it organically. Because a sin-free person is who you really are.

SO PLEASE, STOP TAKING THINGS OUT OF CONTEXT IN THE BIBLE! THE LOST ARE STAYING LOST WHEN WE DO THIS! ON TOP OF THAT CHRISTIANS ARE LIVING IN FEAR! JESUS FINISHED EVERYTHING! THERE IS “NO MORE SACRIFICE LEFT!” You and I now have complete access to God! And, our God is so loving, He made that access easy!…BELIEVE IN JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR.

So I had to set that up because I want to point out the fact that we no longer need a building to find God, or a middle man to speak to God for us. Instead, we are now the buildings of God, the temples, and Jesus is our High Priest! And because of Him, we can now approach God boldly at any time of the day, at any geographical location, about anything we want or need! (See 1 Corinthians 6:19, Hebrews 4:14-16).

This brings me to the subject of church attendance, which sure, is a very good thing, but only if it’s in the proper place in our hearts. And only if you realize that simply going to church doesn’t make you in any better standing with God, and not going, doesn’t makes you any less than with Him either. We are justified in full with God by our faith in Jesus, alone. Nothing added, nothing taken away. This is called grace. (See Ephesians 2:8,9, Romans 1:17).

I used to hate church. I dreaded it. I didn’t want to go, and I got nothing out of it. I felt obligated to go to appease others, to make an appearance so other Christians would approve of me, and also, so that I didn’t lose my spot in heaven (which, you can’t lose your adoption into the family of God, see John 3, Ephesians 1,2).

And when I was at church, the teaching made me feel like a pile of garbage because I could never live up to the expectations that even the church leaders weren’t living up to. It was a charade. Church was simply something to mark off my calendar. I went to church. Check. Now I’m back in the black with God. He owes me now.” This was my mindset.

The problem was, my “good enough meter” teetered all the time, it never rested. If I just do this, or don’t do that, THEN I’ll find the peace I’m looking for! Wrong. I soon found out that my religious actions would never bring me peace. And if I didn’t get the approval of the pastors or the church people when I did “good stuff,”  I was defeated in my soul. They rarely approved of me, most of them just walked on by me or gave me a judgmental look, because I was an outsider–not “as good” as they were.

Church was simply a terrible burden in my life which created frustration, fear, and anxiety.

It’s no wonder you hear so many stories of people who have fallen off the deep end, but their loved ones will tell you, “I don’t know what happened, they grew up in church.” Well I know what happened because I was a person who fell off the deepest end. IT’S BAD TEACHING. Bad teaching of trying to get people to do what only Jesus can do for them. It’s unrealistic, “do better,” “be holier,” non-gospel. It’s, “I gotta add to it to get it!” It’s “I gotta try harder to keep it!” It’s “I’m only 60% good, 40% bad,” CRAP TEACHING!

ONCE (THAT’S ONE TIME) YOU PLACE YOUR FAITH IN JESUS, AND BELIEEEEEEEEEEEEVE HE’S SAVED YOU, YOU ARE 100% GOOD WITH GOD! SPIRITUALLY PERFECT! ENGRAFTED WITH CHRIST! Not because of anything we do, don’t do, or teeter-totter in doing, but only because of Jesus finishing everything required by God for us, at the Cross!

We don’t need to die to self, God LIKES yourself! He wants you to be you! YOU AIN’T NO SURPRISE TO HIM! Be you! Enjoy yourself! Friend, the greatest, “most perfect” Christian you can think of, hasn’t earned a thing…it’s all been free. The same standard applies to you.

Why? Be. Cause. Of. Jesus…Be. Cause. Of. Jesus. BECAUSE OF JESUS! Say that with me and believe it! “Because of Jesuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!”…Now that’s why it’s called Good News! That’s what the gospel means, good news!

You can’t have it both ways. It can’t be good news for only a certain amount of “well behaved” people. Churches need to stop teaching that, and instead, start teaching that Jesus lived the life we couldn’t, and now, we can enjoy His life. They need to begin to teach the truth of the finished work of Jesus. They need to begin teaching Christians their true identity in Christ.

So what happened to me in regard to my church attendance? Well, I stopped attending the dog-and-pony show at that church. I stopped listening to the lies of the devil as he tortured me with, “You better not be a church hopper!” I stopped feeling guilty about wanting to leave that church, so I did. There are a million church buildings out there, so I found another one to attend. I also forgave that church for hurting me, and I released them from what they owed me, which was grace and unconditional love. Further, I stopped putting my identity in a brick-and-mortar building, and instead, I began to seek Jesus daily on my own, through studying His Word, myself.

I also began to read grace-filled Christian books and watch Christ-centered teachings. And lastly, I invited Jesus into every part of my life (not just my Sunday mornings) even the parts I was extremely ashamed to bring Him into. By doing so, this has allowed me to form a very deep relationship with Him.

Jesus soon taught me that I am the Church–I am–and so are you, if you’ve placed your faith in Him! Remember, Christ destroyed the need of an actual building to find God on the deepest level! Instead, a better relationship has come into place through Jesus, a Personal one! (See Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 8:13).

So today, my friends, know this: You are The Church, once you place your faith in Jesus, and nobody can stop this! When you get this correct mindset established in your soul, not only will you look forward to going to church, but you will also find the right church because the Holy Spirit will lead you there! And guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear will no longer be a part of your life because you know that Jesus has made you a Church! An actual walking, talking, house of Christ! Someone who goes about their lives showing others who Jesus really is!

-Matt

A prayer for you: Good morning Heavenly Father! Thank you for this day you’ve blessed me with! It’s Sunday, and I’m pumped about going to church to learn more about you, to praise you with others, and enjoying the corporate feeling of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for leading me to my church! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have a been hurt so very badly by people IN church, give them peace. Give them a brand new mindset toward church in general. Help them to see that church is good if it’s centered on your unconditional love in Christ! Help them to understand that nobody can be perfect in every word or deed, except for Jesus! You chose us humans to run the church buildings, so naturally, there will be huge flaws involved. Give us the grace to cover those flaws with the love and forgiveness of Jesus, while at the same time, give us the confidence we need to establish healthy boundaries which those in church must respect. Help us to recognize when someone is trying to manipulate us with guilt or fear, and give us the strength to stand up against it! If there is a religious spirit pestering any of these dear readers, I BIND HIM IN THE NAME OF JESUS! BE GONE! YOU DEMONIC IDIOT! God, begin to make ALL churches what YOU designed them to be, all throughout the world! Which is with Christ as our leader! Which is with Christ as our perfection and identity! I pray for REVELATION in our churches! I pray that you will RAISE UP the Church, which is all of us, so we can begin to change many lives for the better! Amen.

For more of my teachings, pick up one of my books.

How Can I Know God Better?
What To Do When Life Sucks
Categories: DevotionalsTags: , , , , , ,

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