My three thoughts on why I need to go to church are:
- God commands it.
- We need to Be the church
- It should be a place to serve, give, worship, and meet with Jesus!
God Commands it:
- So, the first reason we should attend a local church is found here:Well, the first commandment in the Bible, is to love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength. Jesus said, that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Novel concept this: we go to church, simply because God commands it!
Read this quote, and it seems appropriate here:
“I often visit newcomers in town and find them to be church shopping. They want to know what they can get out of church. Churches are one more consumer commodity. Worship services are not a place for us to serve God and neighbor but a place where people expect to purchase the best: Inspiring worship, good music, moving sermons, quality child care. As if we buy God and not vice versa. “
Arthur Boers in The Other Side, May/June, 1989
Doesn’t mean we always like it, just like when I am instructing a child on a new level of responsibility, and they do not like to do dishes, clean their room, or homework, it is good for them, and I am instructing them because I love them, and want them to be a responsible adult. (I would never want their future spouses to arrive at my door some day, and say: “Why did you not raise your child better? Living with them is incredibly difficult!”)
So, there may be seasons in the house of the Lord, where we do not particularly like attending our local place of worship, as seasons of our life in Jesus change, but it is the faithful man that abounds with God’s blessing. Sometimes the best we can hope for is to be faithful…
2. Be the Church –
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Definition of a local church:
- Purpose is the public worship of God, edification of the saints, and spread of the gospel.
2. Organization: planned meetings (Acts 20:7), a.corporate discipline (I Cor. 5), b. money raising projects (II Cor. 8-9), c. recognized leaders such as pastor, elders, deacons (Heb. 13:7, 17).
R. Lightner in Truth for the Good Life, p. 115-6
I used to think, that because I hold one of these gifts, that I needed to use it in the local church, yet I see that there are other battlefields Jesus has called me to, outside of the church walls. I attend my local church, but I am not called presently to serve there, as I am often travelling, writing, or creating something out of nothing, as Holy Spirit speaks and flows through me. Yet, everything I do, is to build the kingdom of God, and strong local churches wherever possible.
As I said, I hold a five-fold ministry gift, as described in Eph 4, but there are things that come through the office of my pastor, that God has given to him, not to me, and for the blessing and protection of my family, I need to allow him to fulfill his job in the kingdom, while I am doing exploits in my arena.
Generally though, you will find your place of purpose and service, in the local church, before God sends you out….
Knowing and flowing in your particular gift and calling is critical to finding peace with God and people, but there comes a point where we grow in our local church to the point where we attend to give, not merely to receive.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
It is all about Jesus, He is Lord, Head of the church, and whatever He says, do it, no matter what your particular denomination or local assembly may say about it. If He truly speaks, what He says will be Biblical, though people may think you are out of your mind, going half way across the world to feed the poor, preach the gospel, or perform some Biblical act of love and kindness, you may not be out of your mind, just out of theirs! We have the mind of Christ! 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth
3. Church should be a place to worship, serve, give, fellowship, pray and build a vision far greater than any one of us could build individually!
One of the ways we worship God is serving the people that He loves.
This is such an important truth, I wrote an entire blog article on it: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2017/01/15/we-worship-by-serving-the-people-god-loves/
See here, the Final Judgment of God, no appeals, no lawyers in each of our lives, the final court case. Matt 25:31 ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
One of the ways we worship God is serving the people that He loves. Notice in this portion of Scripture, that Jesus says that one of the ways we will be accountable to God, eternally, is in our treatment of the poor and less fortunate in our midst. Saying we care, will not get us past this verse.
No, to obey it requires action, and these actions constitute worship acceptable to God. Here’s another James 1: 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. Want to walk pure before God?
Here’s something you can do that He will accept. Visit some single mom, and help out there, then stay clean before God. Love her children, help her with her responsibilities, then make sure you remain free from all of the games and sin that would try to drag you into the mess there. You are to be an agent of change there, for good, and God’s glory, not part of the problem.
Of course, people living and serving Jesus together in the love of God, make a fun place to hang out: Acts 2:42 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Christian community, experienced in the love and power of God, is a wonder to behold. Life can be hard, but as we lovingly help each other through life’s challenges, it can be very rewarding and fulfilling – full of vision and purpose.
2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin
Serving Jesus should be a joyful experience, not a burden, but an eternal blessing. One third of the kingdom of God is joy, so let us say with the psalmist:
Psalm 122 [Full Chapter] I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: God really is good, and Jesus really does love you!
Deuteronomy 28:47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Seeking first Jesus, and aligning our lives with His Word, will produce the abundance of all things…
Here’s a great quote:
“Yet membership in a confessing body is fundamental to the faithful Christian life. Failure to do so defies the explicit warning not to forsake “our assembling together.” His understanding of this prompted Martin Luther to say, “Apart from the church, salvation is impossible.” Not that the church provides salvation; God does. But because the “saved” one can’t fulfill what it means to be a Christian apart from the church, membership becomes the indispensable mark of salvation. “So highly does the Lord esteem the communion of His church,” Calvin wrote,” that He considers everyone a traitor and apostate from religion who perversely withdraws himself from any Christian society which preserves the true ministry of the word and sacraments.” Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 70.
Like Nike says: Just Do it!
Let’s pray: Father God, I choose to attend church, to worship You, to serve Your people, to give unto You, and to hear a living Word of power from Your throne. Show me where to become plugged into Your Body Lord Jesus, Amen;