Sharing by: Pam Crawford
"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Chore or a Delight
This week I will attempt to address a question I received concerning the necessity to attend church. The mentality behind this question is that “we don’t need to be in church to connect with God.” To that I say you’re absolutely right. However, we might want to consider what God’s Word has to say about participating in worship within a church setting. In the Book of Hebrews we have God inspired encouragement that we might not want to overlook. Part of this has to do with the privilege we have to worship. In Psalm 122, Kind David is referring to the privilege of stepping into the presence of God. Hang on to that for a bit.
Before we begin I would like to acknowledge that I understand that for the disabled and shut-ins, it is not always possible to be in a church setting. I am so grateful that we now live in an age where the church can come to the people through TV, radio, and the internet. I would caution you to be extremely careful in regards to what you listen to at home. Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it’s all Biblically sound. The more you study the Bible, the better equipped you will be to recognize false teachings.
Now, I also understand that for some of you, you have had a bad church experience. It might not have been in a building per say, but rather, it might have come at the hands of another church attendee or church leader. For that, I am truly sorry. I realize that there are people out there who have a sour taste in their mouth because of an experience they endured within a particular church setting. But, to stereotype all churches and all believers together would be unfair. If you have given it your best shot to resolve the conflict, ask God to direct you to a new place where you can both give and receive encouragement in your faith journey. God will be more than willing to oblige and help you heal if your heart is right. It may take you some time to find the right fit, but it’s out there. If you already have it, praise God!
Let's think about this for a moment. If God’s Word expresses that He desires for us to be in a church setting, wouldn’t it be wise to set aside our excuses and get there? In the Book of Genesis we learn that the first day of the week was established as sacred time set aside for worship. Too often we allow things to crowd out our worship time with God. Sometimes it’s simply a result of sheer laziness. At other times it’s a sporting event, a recreational avenue or an entertainment lure that keeps us from assembling together in church. In America today Sunday is treated like any other ordinary day. This is just my personal opinion, but I think it might be time for those of us that profess to be Christ-followers to take back and protect our day of worship and our family time.
“Those who are truly God's people love the house of God and the worship of God. They arrange their lives around the worship of God. Nothing ever comes up, over which they have control, to keep them from the house of God. They see to it that when the saints of God gather for worship, they are among them, unless their absence is genuinely unavoidable.” – Dan Fortner
As I was pondering God’s instructions for corporate assembly, I came across the following article by Dr. Dale A. Robbins titled “Why Should Christians Attend Church? I personally found his work very helpful as I worked to better understand why God instructs us not to forsake assembling together. For the sake of time I will paraphrase some of what he teaches, and then I’ll provide his website if you desire to explore it further on your own.
Why Should We Attend Church?
· It’s an outward expression of our Love for God and our desire to be obedient to our Creator. It’s a place where we can join our voices to give thanks and praise. At church we can bring our offerings and publically display our faith and trust in God. This is actually something that Matthew tells us God requires (Matthew 10:32-33).
· Church is the opportunity to be in the presence of the Lord. Even though we know that Jesus resides in the heart of every believer, the Word tells of a promise of special visitation of the Lord’s presence when two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus (Matthew 18:20).
· Fellowship within church often sparks encouragement and a willingness to spur one another on to victory. Contrary to what some believe, we really do need others to help us on our journey. Being in the presence of other believers is inspiring when we love and care for one another from a heart of compassion.
· Going to church is an act of obedience. When we put God first, He is pleased.
· Being in church is a means of reverencing God.
“Our attitude toward God will determine our view of worship.” - LASB
I do pray that you have been encouraged to see the value in being a part of corporate worship. If you are not currently attending a church, or you’re in a place of exploration; please consider finding a good Bible-based church where God’s Word is taught in a manner that you can understand. If you would like a few suggestions you can e-mail me. Be blessed on your journey.
Additional Scripture: Psalm 5:7, 95:6,
In Christ by grace,