Do not judge a person as a Christian by his faithfulness in church attendance. In fact, being involved in the church society, membership, or hierarchy by no means makes a person a Christian. I know that this is a shocking revelation. How can I say such a thing!
When Jesus revealed Himself as the fulfillment of the scripture, the church members were filled with wrath. They rose up, and thrust Him out of the city and led Him up a hill to throw Him off the cliff. Another time at church a man with an unclean spirit rudely welcomed Him. And finally the whole church establishment felt that they had too much of Jesus' teaching and healing miracles, so they plotted to kill Him and proceeded to do so. You might say, "Ah, that's unfair. The churches that came about after Jesus rose again were different."
Yes, the people who followed Jesus were different. They understood that "the church" is not a building, an organization, nor a club. It is "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that shows forth the praises of Jesus. God's church are people that are born-again. They have been transformed, redeemed, and sanctified by the power of God's word. They have been saved and delivered from sin by the blood of the Lamb. They bare the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They know the Lord Jesus in a real way and He knows them by name.
The carnal mind sees church as qualification for Christianity. Christians go to church buildings and attend church meetings. Good Christians are faithful to attend all the church's services and help out in its activities. They are always faithful and generous in their offerings and tithes. Oh, yes, they are good at defending the doctrines of the church even if they are heresies. They miss the understanding that their salvation must come from Jesus and their faithfulness must be to Jesus.
The Bible tells us that the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God. They that are in the flesh cannot please God.
We need God's Holy Spirit to live in us. Romans 8:9 states: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. One is not led by the Spirit of God if one has rejected the word of God. Jesus came to fulfill God's word. He exhorted the people of his day to do what the Pharisees told them to do, but don't do what they do because they were hypocrites. If one believes the word of God one will take action to live it, through repentance, through restitution, through daily reading of the Bible, and through continual prayers. Jesus wants to fulfill His words in our lives.
Christ came to undo religious formalities. He wants us to have the reality of God within us. He wants to undo the pretentious ceremonies that mean nothing to Him. He declared in Isaiah 1:
" Bring no more vain oblations;
incense is an abomination unto me;
the new moons and sabbaths,
the calling of assemblies,
I cannot away with;
it is iniquity,
even the solemn meeting.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth:
they are a trouble unto me;
I am weary to bear them."
In Revelation 3 Jesus is standing outside the doors of the church saying:
I stand at the door,
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me."
Jesus tells us to come onto Him and He will give us rest. Think of a tired child climbing onto his father's lap. He knows that in that lap is a safe place; he finds so much confidence and peace there that he is able to rest there and even falls asleep. God has called His children to enter His rest so that we can cease from our own works. All the work that we have to do is to labor to enter into that rest, then the picking up of the cross and following Him becomes His work in us.
Romans 8 tells us that we are debtors to God to delight to do His will.