It troubles me, so many Christians who punch the religious clock. They show up for worship service, they celebrate baptisms, they go to the Lord’s Supper, they hear a good sermon, they lean back in the armchair of their religion and take it easy, feeling smug because they are “insiders” to God’s revelation, as Paul writes in Romans 2:17—about the Jews!

I’m not being accusative or judging anyone. I’m lamenting about how many Christians go through the religious motions and choose never to learn more about the depths of faith. They show little or no personal interest in Bible study and, by demonstration, refuse to participate in a guided Bible class or small group, where discussion can take them deeper into themselves and help them apply the Word.

It is so easy to go through a quick review to join a church and simply go through the motions for fifty years. This is like maturing for one year and repeating the process fifty times. A one-year old Christian, fifty years in church!

Absolutely, you can, and you do, grow by hearing a preached message. But it is entirely different—a different dynamic—to be part of a group discussion, even wrestling with the truth from Scripture.

Based on limited internalization and growth in Scripture, where life application becomes part of who you are—much more than what you hear or even know—many Christians of fifty years are not really fifty years deep in the faith, but one year, repeated fifty times. To be optimistic, with a little residual runoff, maybe ten years old. But far from what God intends.

You hear a preached message, which is great, but you don’t have time to chew on it, digest it, and learn from others chewing on the truth. It’s all the stuff that helps you grow spiritually strong.

Ironically, many routine church attenders readily admit they don’t know much about what the Bible says, let alone what it means for life.

If you go through the worship motions, it’s safe to say you are a good church member. But, are you really what Jesus had in mind when He said this movement was focused on making disciples? Preachers can’t disciple a crowd, a congregation. No one can. Jesus limited Himself to twelve. Are we pretending that we are better? You see, you can be a “successful” church if you have lots of people coming and participating in a worship service one hour a week. But what happens to the end goal, according to the Founder: making disciples of others? You see, at the mission level, it takes more than a weekly message.

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