Believers: Church-Gluttons?

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Puritan Board Junior
Note: I tried many different titles for this thread, but really couldn't get one that fit.

My question is complicated: Does the/a church(a certain body of believers) exist solely for the building up and edification of the saints, a place of fellowship and corporate worship only among believers? The issue is the belief that we are "church-gluttons". That our churches should be filled with the unsaved seeking Jesus. That we are not doing our job if our churches are not filled with drunks and prostitutes seeking for truth. That we are hogging all of it for ourselves when we already know the truth.

Here is a quote from a friend that should sum up what I am trying to ask:

as Christians we are church gluttons. This is why we do not see drunks or haughty girls present at our church meetings. These places are safe houses for us but not for them.

What is wrong(if at all) with this statement, Biblically?
The church is the corporate body of Christ worshipping together, i.e. church is for the saved primarily.

Having said that, we Paul speaks about unbelievers entering our midst (don't get too wild or they'll think you're all drunk or crazy, Paul says, or something to that affect to the charismatic Corinthians). So there is the possibility and the openness and the hope that unbeleivers will come into the assembly of the saved and be saved too.

I think the main thing you are getting at is this: Corporate worship exists mainly for the saints, but we the saints do not exist for ourselves. The church exists for the glory of God and for others. We are not to be too inward focus but are too come to church and glory in God and return to our stations in life with a determined outward focus at reaching our providential networks of relationship.

The unfortunate thing is that people often think that their Christian life begins and ends in the church building. However, we meet with the church to be refreshed and equipped for service outside the church. We pray for God's blessings so that we may bless others, as per Psalm 67. If the church does not have a focus in blessing others she has forgotten part of her existence. There is an evangelistic or missionary nature to the church that is always to be overt, deliberate and visible.

However, Seeker-sensitive services, I believe, (at least how many are run today) change the nature of what the church exists for. The saints are forgotten and sinners are catered to. This is not the NT church that we read of in Acts.

But, this is not to say we are not to be evangelistic. We have 7 days a week to speak to our neighbors, 6 days of labor and on the Lord's Day too. And every Lord's Day the Gospel should be explained too and sinners sought, even in the midst of feeding the sheep.

Now, about church gluttony:

This is why I think that churches ought not to fill up the weekly schedule of its congregants with meetings where they just sit and listen some more. Once, maybe twice on Sunday to hear the Word, but there is nothing sacred about Wednesday nights- perhaps the week should be used for small cell groups, starting local neighborhood Bible studies, etc.

There is a dynamic that says we should bring sinners into church, but usually it seems that evangelism consists of the church going out rather than sinners coming in. Most evangelism is at least initiated outside the four walls of the church. We go out to invite people in. Therefore, it is expected that flocks of sinners do not show up every Sunday, but that they trickle in as they gain an interest in the blood, usually from the witness of church members as they labor through the week. Therefore, the church will never be "filled" with the unsaved people but with people who God is preparing to save or newly saved people, etc.
I think Pergamum notes this but I want to be more explicit.

Your friend that states that people are Church gluttons doesn't really understand what the Church is. The Church isn't a place though we often call the meeting place a Church but the Church forms every time the local body of believers assembles together to worship. It is God who calls men out of the world to come to Him and to assemble together to worship Him.

Perhaps what your friend notices is how some people turn the assembling together into a social occassion or, primarily, an opportunity to form friendships or to have programs for the kids. In that case, however, people are not "Church gluttons" but are not really interested in "Church proper" at all.

In fact, without going into too much detail, this has been a very difficult thing for me lately to watch men, who I believed cared about the Truth depart for Churches with no Gospel that had programs for their kids. I've received contact e-mails from people asking me "...what can you offer us if you attend your Church?" The answer is the Gospel.

Ironically, however, your friend sort of mimics the same sort of doubt that it is the Gospel and the teaching of the Scriptures that men are called into. In other words, he wants to have a "service" designed that attracts the lost so they can go out and bring more lost inside. There is no distinction between the Word of God that is appropriate for the "lost" or the Word of God that is appropriate for the man in the Church. The Word of God declares its absolute authority over both and commands that men repent of their sin and come to Christ. It will then regenerate a man to respond that he might enter into the Church of God and be discipled or it condemns a man for his sin when he walks out and refuses to obey its authority.

Either way, we are all strangers of God brought into His family by the preached Word and you either believe in the power of that to convert to life, keep in life, and build in life or you focus on programs if you're in or desiring that the Word bend to the will if you're outside.
:ditto: to what has already been said.

My brother-in-law and I discussed this topic at length Saturday at a family get together. If a body of believers is truly "gluttonous", it is a sign of immaturity. As has been noted, our primary purpose as believers is to meet together for worship and fellowship, but this is not where it ends.

If we look at the life of our Lord Jesus, He pulled away at times for worship and fellowship, but the main thrust of His life was in ministry to others, primarily in findng His lost sheep. We call ourselves "christians" and that word means "little Christ". If indeed we are "little Christs", then we will live as He lived.

I honestly believe the reason we are church gluttons is because we are not "looking unto Jesus". We do not have "the mind of Christ". Instead, we bury ourselves in the Scriptures (not a bad thing), we become ingrown, fearful that we might become contaminated by the world, instead of doing as our Lord did--worshipping and fellowshipping and then going out to find the lost sheep. If we have His heart, that is what we will want and do.
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