I feel closer to God out in the woods or on the lake. I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian, do I?




You’re right in that you do not have to go to church to be a Christian, and neither do you have to go home to be a husband. Going to church is not what makes a person a Christian, any more than going home at night makes you a husband. But husbands who want to have a good relationship with their wives will spend time at home.
There is a basic and prevalent misunderstanding of Christianity. It’s the idea that I become a Christian by doing certain good deeds. The New Testament makes it clear that we can never earn a place in heaven by our good lives. We are sinners, every one, and cannot possibly be righteous before a Holy God, on our own merit. God the Father sent His Son Jesus, to take the punishment we deserve. He did this in giving His life as a ransom for us. A jailer in the city of Philippi asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” Their answer was simple and straightforward, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31). However, it’s also clear from the New Testament, that whenever a person genuinely believed in Jesus Christ, it was a life-changing experience.
One change that occurred was that the person became part of the church, the Body of Christ. From earliest days, Christians saw the need to gather for worship, encouragement, and accountability. Some people think that the church is man’s invention. On the contrary, it was Jesus who said, “…I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18) Yet even in the early church, there were some with the attitude, ‘I don’t need to be part of a local church’. For that reason, the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews admonished, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:25). Since the resurrection of Jesus, genuine believers have met regularly for corporate worship, teaching, encouragement, prayer, and
fellowship.
If you find church irrelevant or unnecessary, the problem may lie in one of two areas. It may be your own relationship with Christ that is not right. If the church is important to Jesus (who is building it), shouldn’t it also be valuable to us who follow Jesus? Secondly, it may be that I am not in a church that is helping me grow in my relationship with the Lord. Vance Havner used to say that too many churches start at 11 o’clock sharp, and end at 12 o’clock dull! In our land, we are fortunate to have access to a multitude of various denominations and local churches. It’s important that we find a group of believers with whom we can worship, learn, serve, and grow. May God help you do that. And by the way, keep talking with the Lord while you’re out in the woods or on the lake. Thanks for reading and have a great day





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