The Baptist Beacon
FALLING OUT OF CHURCH
By Elder Lynn Stapleton
In Acts chapter 20 we read of a young man named Eutychus who fell asleep in a third story window and fell to his death while Paul was preaching the word of God. Through the power of God, Paul miraculously raised Eutychus from the dead. Jesus told His disciples they would receive power from God to perform such miracles. The point in this lesson however, is the Christian's basic need for a disciplined life.
A coffee commercial on television humorously demonstrates how a cup of coffee in the morning can transform a wolfman into a civilized human being. This funny commercial reveals something about human nature. Most people have a morning routine or discipline they go through to make themselves presentable and ready to face another day. Most of us are creatures of habit and we follow our own morning regimen to the tee.
Similarly, we have other habits in our lives. With careful observation people around us could set their clocks by our routines.
For example, most people arrive at church at about the same time every Sunday, sit in the same seat, and often request the same songs.
There is nothing wrong with routines and disciplines. We need them!
In the beginning, God created Adam and put hum in the garden to dress and keep it. God set the example of resting on the seventh day and later commanded Israel to follow His example. He also gave them a detailed discipline for an orderly and successful life. In the New Testament, Jesus
established the church and gave His disciples a similar discipline to follow.
Two things come to mind as legitimate reasons for this discipline. First, the child of God cannot work for the Lord with out proper training and discipline. Second, the child of God cannot possibly survive the
dangers and pitfalls of this ungodly world without this spiritual training and discipline. In His great commission in Matthew 28, Jesus commanded His church to teach believers all things. While spiritual training should be taught in the home, the church is the place where spiritual training and discipline begins.
Many people attending church today are like Eutychus. They are looking for a comfortable place in the church. In the Middle_Eastern climate, a seat in the third story window may have been the most comfortable seat in the house, but the consequence is that Eutychus literally fell asleep in the service and fell to his death. In similar fashion, people who do not want to get involved in the church or who simply want to attend services fall out of church all the time. When crises come (they do not have to be big ones) they are pushed over the edge with disastrous results.
Some times a family quarrel may be all it takes for someone to fall out of church. A career change, a medical emergency, or just a slight change in the every day routine. One person may be offended by another person and one or both will fall out of church and years may pass with out either ever attending church. Some people may never return.
Over the years I have seen many people fall asleep on the Lord and then fall out of church. Most of them never intended for that to happen.
The way to avoid falling out of church is to get involved in the Lord's service. Jesus concluded His sermon on the mount by saying whoever would hear and keep His sayings is like a wise man that builds his house on a rock. Jesus said his house would endure the storms of life. Every saved person needs the discipline taught in the word of God and to become involved in the church. Few will fall out of church if they will live a disciplined life for God.