Why do we go to church?

Going to church is more than just a normal weekly activity.

It is a good idea when times of complacency arise to take a step back and examine exactly why it is we do what we do.

After doing something for so long, you can, unintentionally, become very common with that activity. Routine activities can seem mundane, and a lack of urgency can lead to, well…apathy.

Admittedly, this has been the case for me lately in regards to my church attendance. It is not that I ever seriously consider not going to church (what else would I be doing anyway). My disposition towards going to church, however, has been unacceptable, and I am fully aware of this.

In an effort to shift my mentality and energize my faith, I have decided to delve into why exactly it is that Christians attend church.

To begin, the writer of Hebrews gives us an explicit directive regarding Christian assembly. Hebrews 10:25 reads, “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.”

ENCOURAGEMENT

One reason the Bible gives us for “meeting together” is encouragement.  Believers are supposed to be encouraged by being a participant in the congregation of the saints, experiencing this either by a word of encouragement or by various forms of ministry.

We all need encouragement at some time or another. Though our life circumstances may differ, at the root, we all share the same basic reasons for needing to be strengthened by our brothers.

Hebrews 3:13 reads, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Our battle with sin is an ongoing struggle. Through God’s Spirit, we have power over sin and its detrimental effects; however, our desire to resist the devil’s advances is not always strong as it should be.

Additionally, 1 Peter 5:8-9 states, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings.”

As Christians, we can find encouragement in simply knowing that the trials we are experiencing are not exclusive to our respective situations. This is especially true when we encounter someone who has experienced victory in our own area of struggle.

The goal of the devil is to make those who are in Christ feel as if they are alone—estranged from God and man. Isolation is a trick of the enemy, and he uses this tactic to attack the faith of the believer.

If you will recall, Jesus tells Peter in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus said previously in Mark 14:27, “‘You will all fall away,’ Jesus told them, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’”

Though the disciples all insisted that they would not abandon Jesus, it was already predetermined that this would be the case. Peter, however, went on to openly deny Jesus and wept bitterly because of his guilt (Luke 22:62).

Unlike Judas Iscariot, though, Peter was not consumed by his guilt because he did not isolate himself. On the contrary, he reconvened with the disciples and assumed a role of spiritual authority, preaching the inaugural sermon of the New Testament Church.

COMMUNITY

After preaching this sermon, about 3,000 people came to faith that day. Acts 2:42-47 gives this description of the early church:

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

To embrace Jesus Christ is to embrace the notion of community. Just as the early church displayed this by learning, fellowshipping, eating, praying, sharing and praising together, we are to do the same.

Ephesians 2:13-14 states, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two (Jews and Gentiles) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

The sin that caused Adam and Eve to become estranged from each other and God has, effectually, been done away with by the shed blood of Christ. This means that believers who appropriate his blood are no longer under this curse, and are now to be enjoined with other believers in harmony.

Ephesians 4:3-6 adds, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you are called to one hope when you were called—5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

SERVANTHOOD

To embrace the fellowship of the believers is to accept the call of Christ and the responsibility that he has laid upon each of our shoulders.

Ephesians 2:10 posits, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Interestingly enough, we have to be prepared for these good works.

Ephesians 4:11-13 offers:

It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Jesus himself has appointed officials in his organized church body that Christians may be trained for ministry. Each time we attend a church meeting, we should become stronger in our faith and move closer to becoming conformed to the image of Christ.

It is God’s desire that “all men would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4) and as such, he has given us a ministry of reconciliation.

Second Corinthians 5:18-20 informs:

All this is through Christ, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

It is very likely that becoming complacent regarding participation at a local fellowship is the result of a loss of perspective, and of becoming selfish. To align ourselves with a church is to be aligned with the cause of Christ.

As the Church has grown exponentially over the last 2,000 years, each church and every member that makes up each congregation has a certain role to play within Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).

First Peter 4:10 tells us, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

God has placed something on the inside of each of us that will be beneficial for the edification of others. Just as Christ did not come to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28), we should clothe ourselves with the same mindset.

The church in Acts 2 saw people being converted daily, and it was no doubt because of their commitment to serving one another with the love of Christ within the community setting. 

In an effort to not become complacent, we should follow the advice of Romans 12:11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

I know I will.

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~ by christianballenger on December 27, 2011.

One Response to “Why do we go to church?”

  1. Hi! I recently started a blog myself and was doing a little research for a similar article. I ran across your blog in a google search. My blog is: http://5gsandacupofjoe.wordpress.com. I enjoyed your article and hope to read more in the future. God Bles

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