The Voice Of One Transcript

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Why Did You Go to Church?

The relatives of a very sick man were excited when they heard that he had finally gone to the hospital. This was because for a long time, they had pleaded with him in vain to go for treatment. However, their joy soon turned to sorrow and horror, when he returned home less than a few hours later. They were expecting that he would have been admitted and given a bed in the hospital because of the severity of his condition. But that was not why he went to the hospital he told them. He said that he had gone to the hospital to visit a friend of his who had been very ill and is now recovering from his illness. He went on to tell them that there was a celebration for his friends steady progress, and eventual discharge, so he went to be a part of it! Naturally, his relatives were flustered. They could not believe that having seen the progress that his sick friend had made in the hospital, that he didnt opt to see a doctor or hospital staff and discuss the possibility of being admitted for treatment.

This story illustrates the assumptions we make when we observe certain things happening around us. Like in the story above, a visit to a hospital may not necessarily be to see a doctor. A person may in fact, have gone to the hospital to see a sick relative or friend, or even to visit a friend who is a doctor, or a nurse, or some other person who works in the hospital. Then again, it is one thing to go to the hospital to see a doctor; but it is a completely different thing to discuss your sickness with the doctor. There are people who, when they go to see a doctor to discuss their sickness, rather discuss it as though it is an enquiry that they are making on behalf of someone else. Who is fooling who?

Nobody goes to the hospital for treatment without first admitting that he is ill. And even then, he must be willing to tell the doctor his habits which may have led to the illness; otherwise, he would not be properly diagnosed and will not be properly treated. There are those who know that they are ill, but will not go to the hospital. Sometimes, they refuse to admit that they are ill, until the illness has become critical. And when they do go to the hospital, they will not tell the doctors the truth about their habits (which may include sleeping with prostitutes, smoking, drinking, etc.); and may not even want the doctor to give them a scan or take an x-ray. And no matter how excellent a doctor is, if a patient does not disclose all necessary information, he cannot be accurately diagnosed, and the treatment applied will not bring any relief to the problem.

What we have done so far is to illustrate a common problem that we see these days in the matter of faith and religion, using a sick person and a hospital which is where sick people are made well. People go to church for very many reasons. Unfortunately, some people think or believe that if a person goes to church, he has gone to church because he is looking for God or for salvation. This is not always the case. In fact, some people go to church to pick pockets and steal hand bags. Some others go to church to celebrate baby dedication, weddings, or, the recovery of a friend from an illness that almost took his life. They even hear testimonies of how God saved their friend from certain death, when the doctors had given up on them, and applaud such testimonies, but they never do anything about their own lives. Some others go to church because they believe that if they get married to a woman who is a church goer, all will be well with their marriage. So, they see the church as a hunting ground for a virtuous woman. Some others still are in church because they want to make business contacts, or have some demonic problem solved, etc. And yet, some others go to church, but never really admit that they need salvation, instead they put up a front and lay claims to having religious parents who have done more for God than many of the church people they see.

Well, just as it happens with obtaining treatment in a hospital, so it is with receiving salvation from God. You dont go to Him and say I havent done anything wrong. That wont work, because God already knows all about you. Your honesty is indeed, the first step to your full deliverance and salvation. You dont go to church and say, Well, since I have gone to church, all will be well with me. You may have gone to church to commiserate or celebrate with a friend, but it is expected that if you do not have the assurance of Gods salvation in your life, you would seize the opportunity to ask for it. If the words, church and salvation combined dont mean anything to you, then, you need the salvation of God.

Please permit me to say that while we have compared a church to a hospital in our illustration, a church is, in very many ways, not like a hospital. For instance, while a hospital is a place you visit when you are ill, and when you are well you return to your home; a church on the other hand, is a place you go to be made whole (body, soul, and spirit), and afterwards, you will keep on attending for as long as you are physically alive. Also, while a sick person who goes to hospital may never become a hospital staff; a person who goes to church, upon being made whole, should remain there, to help provide service that will help others to receive wholeness. Again, while a hospital needs a doctors touch for treatment; in a church, the individual needs Gods touch to be made whole.

So, when a person goes to church it is expected that it would be to worship God, and to seek the salvation of his soul from sin! It follows that if a person went to church and, did not worship God as God should be worshipped, nor had received the salvation of God, with the assurance that that salvation has indeed taken place; a vital purpose was not achieved. It is expected therefore, that such a person would not be satisfied for as long as the guilt of sin is still in his life; and until he is totally free from the hold of sin over his life. No administration of therapy should make him satisfied, until he is fully assured of his salvation and able to worship God as God should be worshipped. Even at that, he still should not be satisfied until he is himself able to lead others to the place of salvation, and help build their lives. Gods salvation can indeed be found in the church, or anywhere else that the word of God is preached. What is important is that the salvation of God is obtained. And this is achieved Gods way. Some think that merely visiting a church brings salvation. No! Salvation is a gift which God gives to those who ask Him for it. In obtaining salvation, man must confess his sins to God (this is like telling the doctor what you have been doing with your life without holding anything back); he must renounce his sins, and make up his mind not to sin again thereafter (this is like making up your mind not to continue with your bad habits again); he should then ask for the forgiveness of God and receive Jesus Christ into his life (this is like taking the prescribed drugs in the manner that the doctor has specified); and all will be well! The signs that you now have salvation include: your ability to recognize sinful living and avoid it; a peace or calm in your heart which passes human understanding; and a joy that cannot be explained by any natural phenomenon. If, however, a person abandons his walk with God (this is like ceasing to take ones drugs), he will discover that he will begin to deteriorate spiritually (this is like suffering a relapse), and it will soon manifest physically (this is the same as looking as sickly as before one was made well). This deterioration will be clear when such a person commits sin without batting an eyelid; he will no longer have the peace and calm that passes human understanding; and, he will no longer have that unexplainable joy. All that will fill his heart will be sorrow, and the shame of having disappointed the God Who saved him. However, if he observes these symptoms of spiritual deterioration and returns to God by again making his confessions to God, renouncing sin, and so on, he will once again regain the salvation of God, and his life will return as at when he first received salvation.

Did you recently go to a church and you neither have salvation nor the assurance of salvation? Did you once receive the salvation of God, but have lost it through careless living? Is your life in turmoil and you have tried everything to no avail? Friend, you need the salvation of God. And the sooner you confess your sins to God, renounce them, seek Gods forgiveness and ask Jesus Christ into your life, the sooner you will receive Gods salvation along with His peace and joy. Do the right thing today!

Let us pray!