250. GOD IS NOT IMPRESSED WITH THE NAME OF YOUR DENOMINATION
(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 6)
It is important to remember that there is nothing great about the name of a Church or the name of any particular Church denomination or gathering. What is great is the name of Christ. It is so easy to forget this and to take pride in one’s denomination, as if God is impressed with the name of our denomination, our history and our reputation.
The Church at Sardis for example, was apparently taking confidence in their name and the reputation they had in the eyes of others. Because of the name they had, they mistakenly thought that the Lord was pleased with them but he was not. In Revelation 3:3-4, the glorified Jesus conveyed to them: “…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”
To think that because of the name of denomination that we belong to, that we are better than other bona fide Christians, more favoured, more spiritual, more pleasing to or accepted by God is nothing but pride. Sometimes, this is due to the honourable legacy left by those who went before us, who genuinely devoted their lives for the Lord and selflessly sacrificed their careers, a sure monthly income and the like, to come to our shores to spread the gospel and to build God’s Church. Yet, we cannot hold on to the hem of those who went before and think that we are something, not because of our own achievements but because of what those who went before, did for the Lord. The Lord could be pleased with a Church today and tomorrow, due to the infiltration of worldliness, apathy and apostasy, be displeased and even disgusted with it.
Haven’t we learned from the children of Israel? In the New Testament and even to today, many of them believe that they are holy, God’s people, spiritual and destined for heaven, not because they are devoted to the Lord and are serving his Son Jesus Christ but simply because their father was Abraham. Their confidence is misplaced. When it should be on Jesus Christ and when they should be focusing on believing on him and serving him and growing in Him, they have placed their confidence in what they historically were and who they came from. They think that God is pleased with them because of their ancestral heritage.
Truth be told, some Church denominations do the same today. They proudly put their confidence in what the Church is reputed to be or used to be and think that by affiliation, God is pleased with them because they belong to the said Church, which has had such a great history. Yet, it is good to remember, that the source of greatness is CHRIST, not a denomination. God is pleased with obedience and wherever truth is being promulgated and practised, not necessarily with the name of a particular denomination. God is not as impressed with your Church name as he is with the obedience of his children. God is interested in the lives of his children (Christians), wherever they are and truth.
While separation from all that is false is certainly right and there are some denominations that are non-biblical or lack sound doctrine and should therefore be avoided, it is important to note that God is not giving kudos to any denomination, simply because it is named what it is named. He is giving kudos to bona fide Christians, submitting to the authority of the Word of God and living a life that pleases him. He loves and is faithful to all of his children, wherever they are and while it is important that his children separate from all false denominations or those that do not promote sound doctrine and therefore undermine HIS truth, it is important to remember, that even in denominations that have sound doctrine and are aspiring to be obedient to God’s Word, there are people in the membership and within the pews who are imposters, sitting as tares among the wheat.
God gives kudos to obedience, not the name of the Church you go or grew up in or associate with and the name it has built for itself.
I do believe that there are some people who, when before the Lord on Judgment Day, will say that they should be let in to the place that he has prepared for those who are his because they attended some particular Church. Others who are genuinely saved but wasted their time on earth and therefore did nothing much for the Lord, would want to put forth as one of their achievements, that they attended so-and-so.
Yet, as stated before, God is not impressed with the name of your denomination. We cannot hide behind a Church name or piggy-bank off of the accomplishments of our past brothers and sisters. Every man and woman, including Christians as stewards of the manifold grace of God, must give account of his or her life to God and what he or she did while here on earth. What Church you attended or did not attend is of no essence. This does not mean that you are allowed to play wanton and go to any Church as you please. There are definitely some so-called Church gatherings that God does not want you affiliating with. That is a fact. To attend anywhere therefore, irrespective of the doctrine and practice, would be to dishonour him.
Yet, on the other hand, it is important to note that you gain no points because you were in any particular membership and in regularly attendance. You please God when you obey his Word and are faithful. You please God by having relationship with him through his Son Jesus Christ and devoting your life in humble service to him, as servant.
Even when you do this though, note that God is not impressed with you. Let not pride deceive you. There is nothing that we can do really, to gain points with God. This is why Salvation is free.
Obeying and serving God in humility is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
(Written on 21st May, 2022, added to thereafter)
Today, I found a quote from Vance Havner, which is relevant to the above Article. He stated (and it is so true):
- “A church may have the bones of organization and sound theology. It may have the body of a large membership. But, if the breath of the Holy Spirit is not on it and in it, then it is only Sardis, having a name to be alive but dead.”
(Addendum written on 30th January, 2023)