People have “different needs as far as church services and …you have to attend a church that meets your needs…(and) that brings the person closer to God?” A young man recently had to respond to such a statement. The comment begs the question, namely, “What is man’s greatest need?” We know that man is a lost and condemned creature. Sin has separated mankind from God. Sin has driven a wedge between God and man. On the basis of that we submit that man’s greatest need is to be reconciled unto God, the eternal judge of all.
So what church meets your needs? That church which preaches the Gospel! Friends brought a paralyzed man to Jesus to heal him. Surely it was a noble desire and hope of his friends that Jesus should heal the man. What did Jesus say? “My son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2). Jesus was not unconcerned about the man’s paralysis. But He saw the greater need – relief from the paralysis of sin. When Jesus’ authority to forgive sins was challenged, He demonstrated His divine authority by healing the man. Jesus transmitted the authority to forgive sins to the Church when He commissioned the Church to go in His name and preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15), and when He said, “repentance and remission of sins should be preached” (Luke 24:47). The Spirit of God works through the precious Gospel to draw the separated to God, and keep the penitent close to God.
Nothing in the public service should replace or have precedence over the preaching of Law and Gospel! A Christian Church sings praise unto the God of our salvation. A Christian church will exercise its faith in being friendly, sociable, caring, loving, supporting. It will serve young and old. These are fruits of faith and privileges, which flow from the Gospel. So then in serving, what is the church’s primary responsibility as it seeks to serve people?
Maybe this answers that question. On your deathbed, do you want to be reminded of how friendly, sociable, caring, loving and supporting your church was? Or would you rather be reminded and assured of how loving and caring the Lord Jesus is in forgiving your sins by His death and resurrection, and how He has prepared a place for you in heaven? Our church service proclaims that every Sunday. Whether our church and our service meets one’s greatest need depends on whether or not one understands what his greatest need is!