At Russell Road Church, we have been in a series that is called “Out of the Darkness.” I want to talk to you about four lies that can hold you in darkness and keep you from walking in the light. The word deceived means to believe a lie. What you believe is vitally important because it is what you will govern your life by and what will determine your future. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us that He is the truth. He doesn’t just tell us the truth; it says He is the truth so what He tells us we can count on for sure. In John 8:44, Jesus tells the religious folks, “You are of your father the Devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. If he can plant deception in our lives through misconceptions, we will be deceived and believe the lie.
Lie No. 1: You don’t have to go to church to worship God.
It is God’s will for us to live a lifestyle of worship as soon as you get out of bed. When your boss is riding you and you don’t tell him what you are really thinking, you submit to him and do your best for God. In Hebrews 10: 24-25 it says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” When you stay home and don’t go to church, all you are thinking about is yourself and you are being selfish. We are supposed to be there to stir up love and good works in others who need it so they can use their gifts and talents to assist others and worship God. We can’t do that staying home and not connecting with God’s people. In verse 25 it says, “as is the manner of some”. I need to go to church. I get encouraged when I go to church and see others who have gone through some difficult situations. I say to myself, “If God can do that for them, then he can do that for me.” The day is approaching that you will be found doing the right thing. God loves unity! People get breakthroughs, marriages get healed, financial problems get resolved, people get off drugs and lives are transformed where there is unity. You can’t be unified with others sitting home by yourself.
Lie No. 2: The church is full of hypocrites.
The church has people who have challenges, issues, problems and struggles and we can all be hypocrites while we are growing and maturing.
You have hypocrites on your job, and that doesn’t stop you from going to work. You have hypocrites at the bank, and that doesn’t stop you from trusting them to handle your money. You have hypocrites at the grocery store where you shop, but that doesn’t stop you from going to the grocery. You have hypocrites at the country club, but that doesn’t stop you from going and playing a round of golf.
The church is the best place to be for hypocrites because you can be changed by the power of God’s Word.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, not thieves, not coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” We all fit into one of those categories somewhere, but in verse 11 it says, “and such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Hypocrites can be changed and healed by the power of God’s word and His kingdom. It says, “and such were (past tense) some of you.”
We are sick and in need of a Savior and healing in our lives. The church is not a social club for healthy people; it’s basically a hospital for sick people. Psalms 107:20 “He sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions.” The church is a place for ministry, deliverance, healing, reconciliation and solutions to problems, a place to get a better attitude towards life. When you begin to live your life His way, it affects your attitude. The church is the best place for hypocrites!
Lie No. 3: All the church wants is my money.
God does not need your money! It’s all His anyway! The church is a place that helps you begin to manage your money. Using God’s principles, God is very generous. We live in a very self-centered, selfish culture. God wants your heart, not your money. In church we learn to be generous and being generous is a good way to handle your money.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will put into your bosom, for with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” When you have a true encounter with God you want to sow into His kingdom and see the same thing happen in other people’s lives.
Lie No. 4: I got hurt in church.
In Psalms 62:5 it says, “My soul waits silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him.”
We go to church with these false expectations on people, and people will let you down and do you wrong. We should keep our expectations on God and Him only, because I can let you down and you can let me down. We should never allow anyone else’s behavior keep us from worshiping God.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 “Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive, for if indeed I have forgiven anything I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ. Lest Satan (liar) should take advantage of us. For we are not ignorant of His devices.” One of the meanings for the word ignorant in the Greek language is darkness. You open the door for the Enemy in your life when you don’t forgive and don’t want to be reconciled with the person who hurt you. It will keep you in darkness and affect all your relationships. Sometimes God allows certain people in our lives that will hurt us. There is usually a life lesson learned if we will stay connected to the body of Christ, because He is a good God and He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. He wants to take those life lessons and use them to help others who are going through some of the things you have gone through, and that can be very fulfilling.
Do not be deceived. Find a good Bible believing church and get planted there and you will discover some very real answers to some of the struggles you are facing.
The writer is the pastor at Russell Road Church, Sidney.