Church is where you go to listen to sermons on hellfire and brimstone.


I’ve attended churches where “hellfire and brimstone” sermons were the preacher's weekly fare. Other preachers never mention the subject. Between these two extremes should lay a reasonable priority. Christians coming together each Sunday involves more than hearing sermons on eternal damnation. That subject should be reserved primarily for unsaved sinners, since they are the ones in danger of hell. Non-Christians will come, mainly because of invites from Christian friends. And since salvation infers a saving from something as well as for something, a peek into the consequence of not obeying the Gospel should always part of that message.

You, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jude 20-23)

Jude implied that any unsaved persons in the midst of the church need to be snatched “out of the fire.” Even so, the church’s primary reason for meeting is stated in Acts 20:

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7)

The gathering to “break bread” means they were meeting on Sunday—the first day of the week—to take the Lord’s Supper. They came together to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for them on Calvary. Paul severely chastised the Corinthian church for meeting for all the wrong reasons: “When you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.” (1 Cor 11:20) While many churches think taking the Lord’s Supper every Sunday makes it seem too commonplace they never miss a chance at passing the collection plate every chance they get. I sat in a Pentecostal service many years ago, where the preacher screamed at the congregation for the anemic contributions laying in the collection plate. So, he had the deacons pass it around a second time.

Bottom Line: Church is where Christians gather once-a-week to get “recharged,” so to speak. Ephesians 4 gives a clear outline on our goals and purpose as congregations.