II Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness (sure, dependable, unwavering). But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
In this chapter, Peter gives both a warning and an encouragement to God’s people. The warning was that they were cautioned to not allow themselves to be misled by false teachers. During this time, there was a clear danger that people would infiltrate the church and teach false doctrine, in efforts to lead God’s people astray. The Bible refers to these types of people as “wolves”.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
It could be that these “wolves” in the church would try to undermine what the pastor was preaching. It could be that these “wolves” in the church were trying to get God’s people to second guess the Bible teaching they were receiving. Perhaps we have heard the term “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Have we allowed a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” to possibly get us to disregard what is promoted and taught at our church?
We must understand that false teachers are one of the greatest tools that Satan uses to get us off track. This was true during Bible times, and this is especially true today. There will be people in Christianity that will try to show us a “different” way to live for the Lord. Maybe this “other way” is less committed, and the convenience of living a less committed Christian life may just appeal to our flesh.
Perhaps, they will try to downplay the importance of being separated from the world? Just take a look at the hundreds of churches out there that are filled with thousands of people that claim to love God, yet the fruit of their lives prove otherwise.
Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.
We must be careful that we don’t fall for this lie of the Devil. The Bible tells us in I John 2:15, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. How about it? Do we love the world more than we love our God? Do we love the world’s entertainment more than we love our God’s desires? Do we love the world’s ambitions more than we love our God’s purpose?
This is why faithful church attendance is so important! Being in church at all the services allows us to hear truths from God’s Word that we so desperately need to guide us away from these false ways! If all we do is rely on social media pictures and videos to give us an idea of what “church” should really be like, we will easily be swept away by that which only “appeals to our eyes.”
Faithful church attendance to a healthy, God-fearing church will ensure that we are constantly fed with strong Biblical preaching that can help us spot counterfeit Christianity. What are some of the ways that a church can help us grow as a Christian?
The Encouragement to Grow in Grace
The Bible makes it clear that God’s plan for all of us is to grow as a Christian. We often hear that a healthy plant grows…a healthy child grows. The same applies with Christians: a healthy Christian grows. Every sermon we hear at church is an opportunity for growth!
The message may be on separation. If we pay attention, guess what? We will grow in that area. The message may be on purity. If we pay attention, guess what? We will grow in that area. What messages are we allowing ourselves to hear on a weekly basis? We must realize that those messages are God’s way of helping us to grow.
God grows us into His perfect will. Think about the steps of growth we’ve already had in our lives. Whether if it was sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, learning to read, learning to do chores, or learning to problem solve, all of these achievements help prepare us for our next stage in life. As we grow in the Lord, we will be fit to do His will.
The Encouragement to Grow in Knowledge.
This encouragement to grow in knowledge speaks of “information.” This knowledge also speaks of our personal relationship with Christ. Both of these areas of knowledge are greatly helped by being faithful to church. We naturally learn more “information” about God’s Word through the Bible teaching we receive in Sunday school or any of the main services.
The Bible does make it clear that God doesn’t want us puffed up in knowledge. He also doesn’t just want us to be hearers, but doers of the Word.
I Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
At the same time, we can’t be doers of the Word if we don’t know the Word. There must be a healthy knowledge of the Bible in order for us to live an obedient Christian life.
There is a false narrative out there that says living for God doesn’t require church attendance or a higher standard of living. This is false. This is lazy Christianity. My worth as a husband is not what I say, but what I say coupled with what I actually do for my wife. The same applies for me as a dad. And the same applies for all of us as Christians.
My prayer is that we all see the importance of church in our lives. It’s not just a place of fellowship. It’s a place where we can grow in grace and in the knowledge of God.
We all have good intentions to be better Christians, but good intentions are not enough. We need the right tools and commitments to be where God would have us be. Faithful attendance and commitment to our local church is a sure way to help us get there!
Memory verse of the day:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Life is not made up of the things which we possess, it is made up of the eternal relationship which we have with Christ.
As a Christian you must, on purpose, do what we can to allow good things into our hearts.