On Easter Sunday 2016, my pastor John K. Jenkins preached a sermon on the seven misconceptions and lies the devil whispers to people to keep them from going to church and developing a relationship with God.
I loved that Pastor Jenkins chose this direction with his message because on Easter Sunday churches are filled with individuals who generally do not attend church throughout the year. I believe that Pastor Jenkins suspected that there maybe many non-believers or backslidden Christians in the church on this day. Therefore, he chose to put an end to the lies the devil tells, once and for all. I want to share these lies with you and what God says about them. If you are a person who is struggling with a misconception or one who does not attend church for any one of these reasons, I hope this blesses you. I have also included some of my own experiences, which can be identified by my name.
Seven Misconceptions and Lies from the Devil
By Pastor John K. Jenkins of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden
Lie #1: You Don’t Have to go to Church to Worship God
- worshipping at your bedside (watching church online) is not the same as being in a sanctuary with other believers. Coming together in community facilitates an atmosphere of unity.
- corporate worship is important
- the devil desires that you remain away from church to keep you bound in your mess, the church is the very place you need to be to be released from your mess
- What God Says: Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Lie #2: Church is Full of Hypocrites
- it’s hypocrites everywhere; in your family, at your job, at your gym, in your fraternity or sorority. Do you stop going to those places?
- you don’t come to church for them, you come to church to worship God and strengthen yourself.
- sanctification is a process (church people are a work in progress)
- “church people”, were once just like non-believers, they too sinned and still struggle with sin but it is through faith in Christ that they are made right with God
- What God Says: 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, 9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Lie #3: All the Church Wants is Your Money
- God doesn’t want or need your money
- God wants your heart
- How can God touch every aspect of your life but somehow skip your finances?
- Whatever you give, you will get back; this is in ALL THINGS
- Deborah: I struggled to tithe for many months. I attending church for two years before I started to tithe. I started tithing in September 2015 and since then I tithe faithfully every week before I pay any bills. One day I just got it, it wasn’t that God or the church wanted or needed my money. It was a testament to the position of my heart. Is my loyalty to God or money, is there anything more important than my relationship with God and the answer is no. Since tithing I have never been without.
- What God says: Luke 6:38, Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
Lie #4 Church People Have Hurt You, So Don’t go to Church because They Will Hurt You Again
- you get hurt because you have an expectation for church people
- your expectation should only be placed in God because church people are just like the world
- whoever hurt you, you need to forgive. Unforgiveness gives the enemy room to manipulate you and leaves room for devil to come in your life and torment you.
- Deborah: I have been going to church faithfully every Sunday for the past three years. I have taken classes at my church, joined ministries and have come to know the leadership of the church. Within that time I have been disappointed by the leadership in the church and other women I have encountered in the ministries. I did have expectations for the people that I would meet in church because I believed that “church people” were supposed to be good, supportive and positive people. I believe that God showed me instantly that my expectations should continue to be in Him and my focus should continue to remain on Him. It also taught me not to reverence other women in the church because we serve the same God, they are simply human and the place and blessings that they have obtained come from God. The same God that I have equal access to. Now I know to keep focused on God and let any offenses roll off my back. I am a Christian and I am human, I still make mistakes. Christians are human, I have no expectations that they will even be good people. Yes, they should be because they should be Christ-like but we are all fighting against the desires of our flesh daily. Some days, some people lose that war more than others. My faith is in God and Christ.
- What God says: Psalm 62:5, Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.
Misconception #5 Angry with God
- some people are angry with God because of something that happened in your life.
- it may be hard to comprehend but God provides away for you to overcome and deal with the pain
- God may not be the author of what you went through but He investigates it to be sure you can handle it before He signs off on the hardships of our lives
- rarely does God tell you why something is happening in the midst of the hardship, you have to walk through. God reveals why later.
- God is even orchestrating the moves of your life right NOW!
- GOD HAS YOUR BACK! You just have to trust Him and keep going.
- What God says: Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
- What God says: Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Lie #6 You Can Go to Heaven if Your Good Outweighs Your Bad
- it is not because of anything that you do that you are saved, it is by your faith. By grace.
- you don’t get into heaven by doing good. You get into heaven by believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus died, was buried and on the third day rose.
- What God says: Ephesians 2:8-9. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Lie #7: Jesus was Just a Prophet, A Good Man and Nothing More
- Jesus is the only religious figure that was raised from the dead
- Pastor Jenkins visited the tomb of his burial and it was empty
- Many say that His body was stolen by His followers but a stolen body was never found or brought forward to religious/governmental officials
- Jesus fulfills all prophecies spoken of the coming Messiah
- What God says: John 1:1, In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- Jesus was God wrapped up in human form
- John 1:14, So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.