Churchianity vs. Christianity
John 3:1 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” 5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
How have we missed the entire point when it comes to our faith? I believe we have fallen into the same trap that snared a group of religious leaders for many generations. And then came Jesus. In today's world Nicodemus would be a pillar of a church community and considered a "good" man that carries a big amount of influence in the local church. If he was political enough he might even become a leader of a major denomination, as elected by a group of other "big wigs" who happened to agree with his theology and "religion." This kind of religious piety has spread through the modern-day evangelical church and we are now trading members across town by what "we offer!" Winning the lost and spreading the message of Jesus that is listed above in the verses in John 3 have been put on the back burner or taken out of use. It doesn't lessen the pure truth Jesus gave the popular religious leader of "the day" and that truth upset his religious apple cart. He couldn't understand what Jesus was saying and, by the way, most "Christians" will respond in the same way. Why?
No doctrine has become our main doctrine and the words of Jesus don't fit with the message of life today. Our "manmade doctrines" have reduced our faith to religious affiliation and the gospel continues to fade into obscurity as we follow our own purposes instead of the purpose of God. Our Christian Faith has become a Church Faith. It does make some "good" people, even though Jesus says that no one is "good" so we ignore that statement and come up with good things or works and that is our "faith." Of course, Churchianity is a word that has been developed from the continued leaning of Christianity into an institutional religion that has very sinful characteristics and lifeless effects. I am going to compare the two below so you can make a sound choice when choosing which to follow and live out.
Works-based faith - James says that faith without works is a dead faith, but faith because of works causes a deceptive faith that is almost certainly dead and that death is not so easily discernable. People begin to believe that the more they do the more God loves them. Wrong. God's love is beyond anything we can do to prove it.
Sincere Judgement - People who live in Churchianity are the most judgmental people I have ever seen and they try to use God's Word to help them stay that way. They come across as loving and kind, but their own pride keeps them from seeing the truth of God's Word that states we are all sinners and only God's grace can save us. That grace is not tempered for their wants and desires, it covers all who are born again.
Church becomes a club that you have to follow their rules to join. You laugh at their jokes, you agree with their wants, you bow to the group voting record and you never disagree and make a point for the truth because they are the truth. In other words, they are a club and that club has guidelines that if you break them you are out!
They are inward thinking. We don't want anyone who doesn't agree with us to pollute the purity of the club or church. Before long their club has factions come out of it to allow those who are dissatisfied to form their own club because they have accrued different thoughts about things and want their own way of doing things.
Finally, they become so deadset in their made-up beliefs that they only listen to other people who empower and glorify them and further fine-tune their membership by shunning those who might question them.
Converts experience life change and live a life that is led by the Spirit and grown up by the Word of God. If it isn't in "the book" then you shouldn't look.
True Christianity knows the vital need for discipleship and leads new converts to deepen their walk by immersing themselves in the study of God's Word.
A servant's attitude is based on the right attitude for serving. Expecting nothing in return this service is done out of love for Jesus.
Sharing their faith is a life priority and fellowship with other believers who share their faith is a priority new converts are constantly being added to the fellowship which keeps the church growing and alive.
It is a judgment-free zone, where those who are straying or wounded are lovingly led back to their faith by loving people coming alongside them and showing them how to get beyond their past.
They are "free worshippers" and preferential worship styles are not the priority for them. They can worship Jesus in any circumstance and with any style.
They are not always trying to get "their way." They look at the overall health of the church and are a positive influence on church health by being a team player.
As you can see, this is the kind of religion that Jesus faced wherever He went and it infuriated Him. But it didn't stop it from happening and His message of salvation continue to be preached by the faithful ones who still understood what it meant to be born again. This type of religion is very difficult to keep out of an evangelical church and almost impossible to overturn when it has its claws deep in the modern-day church. The people who adhere to this type of religion make fun of anything to do with the Spirit and always default back to a religious way of living. Paul established a growing church fellowship in the province of Galatia but the religious faction came in and began to draw away those new young converts and made them "church people." Paul writes this in Galatians 3:1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
Scripture says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. You are not born again because you have become a good person any more than a pig is anything else but a pig, even though you take it in and wash it up and put lipstick on it. It is still a pig! Our righteousness from good deeds is a dead righteousness that is compared to the filthiest of rags. It is only when we are born again in the Spirit that new life comes and we inherit the kingdom of God. These are Jesus's words, not mine. If you are like Nicodemus and cannot figure all of this out, then it is time to trust what the Word of God says and truly become born-again, and then you will be a Christian, not just a church attender. The difference is the Holy Spirit of God!! Paul was on track when he said these words in 1 Corinthians 2:10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
The Pilgrimage Continues..