Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Church is NOT just Sunday

April 3rd, 2011 by Ryan

This post was posted originally on my Blog here.

Today I want to talk about “compartmentalizing”. Now, Mr. Webster the dictionary defines this as:

to separate into isolated compartments or categories”

Basically, this means we are taking things and separating them into segregated categories.

We all know what a compartment is. It is a defined area in a divided whole. If we look at a floor plan for a house we can see that we have different rooms.

A Simple Houseplan

A Simple Houseplan

Each room is labeled for different purposes. We have our bedrooms for sleeping, dining rooms for eating, living rooms for… well, living.

 

When we talk about compartmentalizing in relation to one’s life we are talking about dividing the different aspects you life into different compartments or categories. An example of this would be the separation between “work” and “home” or how you act around acquaintances compared to your close circle of friends or family.

I don’t want to talk about whether it’s emotionally healthy to compartmentalize areas of your life like work and home. I want to talk about something bigger, and more important. I am talking about something that will affect every part of your life, for the rest of your life. I want to talk about the dangers of compartmentalizing our faith in Jesus. We cannot put GOD into a box or a compartment. He is much bigger than this. The truth is if you think you can put your relationship with Jesus in a box, you probably need to re-evaluate your walk with Jesus.

We will be basing this conversation today on the red letters in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels.

It is so easy to compartmentalize today when most people’s lives are so sectioned.

A Simple Life

A Simple Life

We go to work. We go to school. We go to church (even if it is across the street). We get into this routine of compartmentalizing that sometimes we can try to put our spirituality in a compartment as well. If we are not careful it can become this compartment that rarely gets opened. We are living for ourselves all week, then we spend 2 hours on a Sunday morning.

Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, CHURCH.

Is GOD only worth a seventh of your life? How does GOD affect the daily decision in your life, job, and family? By compartmentalizing our faith we are treating our relationship with Christ like an emergency kit we store away in the attic “just in case”. We are subconsciously using Jesus as a “Get out of Hell Free” card.

Turn to Matthew 7:15:

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

This verse talks about false prophets and that talk is cheap.  It is easy to fake it for two hours on Sunday.

On a Christian music album by DC Talk from the early 2000s called “Jesus Freak” there is a quote from Brennan Manning. It goes like this:

“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Denying Christ by your lifestyle doesn’t just mean living a sinful life. It means living a life that doesn’t reflect who Jesus was. It is leaving Jesus and our faith in our sectioned off compartment.

Another quote along the same lines is from Dwight L. Moody.

“Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.”

There is a quote by Charles Spurgeon that takes this idea a bold step further.

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”

It is the fruit that the world sees. I would paraphrase Matthew 7:15 like this:

You say you love GOD. Prove it.

It is easy to be a Christian at church. We can come here and have a safe place to pray for each other and sing worship to GOD as a community. This is good, but are you following Christ in the “in-between” times? Gathering amongst fellow Christians and proclaiming Jesus’ love at Church is easy. Loving your enemies is hard. Going against the flow is hard. Being different is hard. But this is part of the bigger picture and what GOD has called us to do.

In Matthew  5:43-45 Jesus says:

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’t and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies!t Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

To be like Christ wants us to be in this verse, it takes a whole lot of Jesus’ strength that he gives us. If we are only seeking him on Sunday we will fall short.

A few months ago when I preached about “The Great Commission” I said:

Religion does not happen in church.

True religion happens when you walk out the door to live the message of Christ

What I mean by this is that although what you get from church on Sunday is good. Living it among the people whose lives you touch each day is better.

Turn to Matthew 5:14:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

If we are only showing our lights in church we are missing the mark. We need to bring the light to where there is darkness. It doesn’t make since to turn on another light in a lit room. In Chapter 5 of Luke’s gospel Jesus said:

Luke 5:31-32 ESV

31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

If our light is only shining in church, to those who are seeking Christ, we are not being effective. We do need to disciple and urge one another toward living a better, more whole Christian life, but we need to expand this outside the confines of a day or a building.

This is not an issue if GOD is part of your whole life and not stuck in the “church room”. If we truly live our faith in Jesus, GOD will overflow your life. Let’s look back at the house plan earlier.

A Simple Life

A Simple Life

We are the light of the world as Jesus said in the passage we read earlier. It is hard to contain light; if a light is on in one room it bleeds into the other rooms. If we are seeking GOD we will let his light shine through our lives

“…it gives light to all in the house.

A God filled life

A God filled life

If we truly love Jesus and live for him in every area of our lives he is going to flood our hearts with love. We will be living his Word in every aspect of our lives. Our light will shine pure to everyone that we meet.

 

 

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