For believers, there is no substitute for attending
church. Besides something that pleases God, it is necessary for a believer's
spiritual well-being. For shut-ins or invalids who aren't able to go to
church, the ministries on radio or TV might be the only kind of fellowship
or spiritual nourishment that they get. God certainly understands the
circumstances of these people, and recognizes the sincerity of their hearts.
However, it is a different matter for those who could attend church but are
too lazy, or put other things such as entertainment and amusements before
God, or who harbor bitterness or indifference toward other believers.
It is important to attend church for the following
(1) It is an Expression of our Love for God.
"And [they] were continually in the temple praising and blessing God" (Luke
24:53). Going to church is a tangible expression of our love and worship
toward God. It is where we can gather with other believers to bring God
offerings of praise, thanks, and honor.
(2) It builds up our Spiritual Strength.
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.
10:17). Receiving the preaching and teaching of the Word of God increases
our faith and builds us up spiritually. Every believer knows what it is to
face spiritual conflicts to their faith, and must realize the importance of
being fed spiritually so that they can overcome the challenges. Paul states
that Christians face a wrestling match with the Devil and his evil spiritual
forces, and warns that the church must put on spiritual armor for
protection, as it will take everything at our disposal to stand (Eph.
6:10-18). How important that we take every opportunity available to receive
ministry and strength from God's Word.
(3) It brings a special visitation of the
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the
midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). There is the promise of a special visitation
of the Lord's presence whenever two or more gather specifically in the name
of Jesus. By implication, this means whenever "Jesus" is the object of
gathered prayer, worship, praise, preaching, etc. Even though Jesus resides
within the heart of every believer, he honors a gathering in his name by
coming in the "midst," with his power, awareness, and anointing. In such a
gathering, Christ is able to do things in hearts that he may not at any
other time. The scripture says that God inhabits the praise of His people
(Psa. 22:3), and in such an atmosphere the Holy Spirit will often manifest
spiritual gifts that minister to the body of Christ.
(4) It provides fellowship with other
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with
one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin"
(1 John 1:7). Gathering together also has compounded importance to the
relationship of the Christian brethren. The Bible makes it clear that a
right relationship with God requires a "vertical" and "horizontal" alignment
— that is, we must have a vertical fellowship with God and a horizontal
fellowship with other believers. It is not possible to love God and refuse
to love the brethren. If you have a problem loving other Christians, you
have a problem in your relationship with God. Scripture warns us that
unforgiveness toward others will void God's forgiveness of our own sins
(Matt. 6:15). John wrote, "He who says he is in the light, and hates his
brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the
light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him" (1 John 2:9-10).
One of the most important reasons that we go to church
is to practice love toward the brethren in the form of fellowship. The Bible
clearly shows that if we have a right relationship with God, we have
fellowship with others believers. Keeping ourselves in love and harmony with
other believers keeps us humble before God so that Christ's blood can
continue to cleanse us from our sins.
(5) It is an act of obedience to God.
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of
some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day
approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins," (Heb. 10:24-26).
Not to be forgotten, going to church is also a matter
of obedience to God's Word. The writer of the Hebrew epistle tells us not to
forsake assembling together, implying that continued absence can lead to
willful sin (verse 26). We're supposed to be considerate of our brethren,
coming together to help motivate and encourage one another. "Therefore, to
him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
(6) It allows accountability to spiritual
leadership. "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for
they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do
so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you"
More strong evidence that proves that we're to be a
part of a church fellowship, is that we're told to submit to the authority
of spiritual leaders (within the boundaries of God's Word). God designed
this system of accountability for the progress and protection of His flock.
Obviously, this really isn't possible unless we are a part of an organized
fellowship which has identified elders, pastors, or leaders. It is easy to
see that one cannot genuinely be under submission to a TV pastor who has
never met you. Nor is it possible to be under submission by visiting a
different church each week. The Bible tells us to know them that are over us
in the Lord (1 Thes. 5:12). Submission necessitates a commitment and
relationship to a local body of believers and to their spiritual leaders.
(7) It combines our spiritual strength in
"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything
that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matt.
The Bible indicates that agreement in prayer with
other believers has special favor with God. This agrees with how God has
historically blessed the union of His people in battle against their
enemies. "Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put
ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you"
(8) It honors the Lord's Day.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex. 20:8).
The fourth commandment of the law that God gave Moses
was to set aside the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as a holy day to the
Lord. This was, and will always remain, the official Sabbath. However, after
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday, the early
Christians began meeting together on this day as well as with the Jewish
community in the synagogues on the Sabbath. History indicates that due to
the enmity of the orthodox Jews toward the Christian Jews in their midst,
the Jewish Christians were eventually ostracized. And although they were no
longer bound to a rigid code of laws (Gal. 3:10-11, Col. 2:16), it is
believed that they came to view Sunday as a combined observance of the
Sabbath and the resurrection day of Jesus (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2). This day
of Christian worship came to be called the Lord's Day (Rev. 1:10), a day to
fellowship in celebration of the resurrection, to worship, pray and study
the Word together.
Today, the Christian Jew or gentile, is free from the bondage of the old law. The indwelling of God's spirit has brought a new way for Christians to fulfill the desires of God through His love (Gal. 5:18, Rom. 13:8-10). However, the new covenant does not invalidate the relevance of the ten commandments as they pertained to God's wishes for His people. As much as it remains God's desire for man not to kill, steal or commit adultery, God is still very much pleased for believers to honor Him on a day reserved for Him, out of their love for Him and His people.