Why we Should Attend Church
- Jan 1, 2005
- Series: Church
Are you a Christian? Are you a member of a church which preaches and teaches the Word of God? Do you attend church services regularly?
Sadly, in our day, there are many who answer "Yes" to the first question, but respond "No" to the second and third. There are many today who claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, yet are not members of any church anywhere, and do not even attend services in a church on anything like a regular basis.
One writer has called this the "Problem of the Believing Unchurched." In a 1996 Gallup poll, 76% of Americans surveyed stated that they believe a person can be a good Christian without attending church. In fact, according to another survey, though 67% of all adults in the U.S. attend church services, only 38% do so every week. Something is wrong here.
One thing that is wrong is the loose view of the Lord's Day that is prevalent in our culture today. Sunday, also called the Lord's Day or the Christian Sabbath, used to be seen as a day which God has set apart as different. It was a day for rest from our labors of the week; but more importantly, it was a seen as the day God has ordained for corporate worship of His name. Sunday was the day to go to church with other believers and worship God together.
But Sunday is now seen as just another day like every day. Stores, restaurants, malls, and places of recreation now draw our attention on the Lord's Day. Sunday is a day of fun, frolic, and entertainment. It is the day to get up bright and early (remember all those excuses people make about church attendance, like: "I work so hard all week, I just need my rest on Sunday morning") to go out to play ball or to the lake to fish.
So, the wrong view of the Lord's Day is one reason why church attendance is down. But there is another, even more deadly, problem. It has to do with a wrong view of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. People have gotten the idea that church attendance is just not important because the church is not all that important. This had led to what might be termed "churchless Christianity" -- people who say that they are Christians but who do not see a need for church membership or attendance. They think that they are justified in visiting many different churches but never settling in one as a "home church."
Such churchless Christianity is heretical and is not acceptable to God.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying that church membership saves you. It does not and cannot. No one will ever be saved because he never missed a Sunday School class for fifty years. We are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-10).
But church attendance is important, not only because the church is important in God's eyes, but because we are commanded to attend church. This means that failure to attend church is a sin before God.
First, the church is important to God. In Ephesians 5:25-27 Paul writes:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
In this passage, Paul tells us that Christ died for the church. Surely, she is important in the eyes of God if Christ would willingly die for her. If she is that important to God, she should also be important to us.
Second, the Bible commands us to attend church, and thereby also teaches that it is a sin to not attend church. We read in Hebrews 10:24-25:
"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."
We are exhorted to have an attitude of concern for each other as fellow Christians. We are also commanded to have a desire to stir each other up to produce actual good works that please God.
How do we do that? One way is to assemble together (this is a formal worship assembly, not just an informal meeting of Christians) for the purpose of worshipping God and hearing His Word read and preached. It is through the preached Word of God that we learn the good we are to do. In corporate worship we also pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith to be given the grace which they need to obey God. Through prayer we receive the grace of the Holy Spirit to obey the preached Word. Then, together with other believers, we are enabled to spur each other on to obedient faith.
Christians are specifically commanded to not forsake assembling together. This makes it a sin to disobey what God says here. Deliberate disobedience (neglect of church services for reasons other than providential hindrances) is serious. It affects your relationship to God. It affects your relationship to other believers. It produces stunted, pygmy Christians (if, indeed, they are Christians at all) who do not know how to resist sin or live righteous lives to please God.