In the age of TV Evangelism, Podcast sermons, and everything we ever need at home, some people question why bother attend church. They hangout with their Christian friends at times and get a sermon Sunday morning in their bedroom on TV. What does the Lord say about being actively involved in a local Christian community? First we will look at specific verses and then we will look at the actions and expectations of the foundational church. Then we can address the excuses and hit at the real problem.
THE STRAIGHT FORWARD
23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Explicitly stated here to NOT avoid ‘worship meetings’. These meetings was when the local christian community would gather and worship God together with music, teaching, sharing resources, and prayer; all together. Sitting at home watching a Televangelist is not this.
22 And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church,
He is also the head of the body, the church;
Christ Jesus is head of the church; Avoiding church is like avoiding a meeting organized by Christ himself.
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.
Here we see the early church were devoted to each other. Devoted to attending ‘worship meetings’ and obey what Christ instructed them with the Lords supper as well. Which, can not be done or obeyed by avoiding the meetings.
1 John 1:3
what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
John boldly says that all the things they have seen and heard and declared to the church, so to enable, and for the purpose of, allowing fellowship to take place!
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.
Paul drops the mic in Romans 12 when he makes it absolutely clear that the community of believers, and local body of Christ is family and focused on each other! Sharing, serving, rejoicing, weeping, showing honor, and just about everything that makes up a community is what believers are CALLED to BE. All of which can not be done when sitting at home watching TV sermons.
Also read Me, Myself, And I and “Doing Me”
ACTIONS OF THE CHURCH
There are actions and events that is meant for the body of Christ alone. People who do not attend church fail to serve the Lord through the opportunities the Lord gives the church. They miss out on spiritual fellowship and service.
27 After they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything God had done with them and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Those who chose not to gather with the rest of the church were left out of the loop in regards to God’s Will.
2 Timothy 2:2
2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Another statement that those who do not attend church fail to abide by here. They are uncommitted to any local body and thus are not being taught or grow in fellowship and faith.
your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully
observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.
It is impossible to ‘carefully observe’ and ‘imitate’ someone’s faith if ‘church avoiders‘ are not in fellowship with them on a regular basis. Thus, another request from the Apostles that non church goers won’t benefit from.
44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every
day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex,
and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful
and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
The early church met EVERY DAY! they met in the temple to hear the teaching of scripture and went privately, more like small groups, to houses to do what Jesus commanded them to do; communion. They were joyful and humble and helped each other! Their common attitude and meeting together everyday built family like relationships! They grew in faith and matured together. All of which, can not be done by avoiding attending modern christian community gatherings.
1 Peter 4:10
10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.
Every believer is given gifts for the sole purpose of building up the church. The gifts purpose is to be used to serve others! What a waste of a gift if people never attend church.
1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-27
12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ… 14 So the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 Now there are many parts, yet one body. 21 So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. 24 But
our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put
the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.
So how effective is the eye without the brain… or the arms without the heart… If you left to go out to eat and left your stomach at home; how well are you going to eat? So, how effective are you for the Lord if you are not part of a local community of believers? How effective are you for the Lord if you are not part of His body? How do other believers benefit from your testimony, resources, knowledge, and gift if you do not fellowship with them?
Also read An Inconsiderate Faith
THE LORDS SUPPER
1 Corinthians 11:23-26,
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
If Christians don’t attend a christian community meeting, how are they faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ in sharing with him His communion? He said “Do this”; are you?
THE GREAT COMMISSION
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is known as The Great Commission because it is stated for ALL believers. It is not a suggestion but an expectation; Go, disciple, baptize, and teach. Are you being faithful to the Lord by following this commission? It is impossible to follow Jesus in this regard if Christians do not regularly meet with a local Christian community.
12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,
Another example of how not attending church makes it impossible to be a faithful servant to the Lord; seeing how a ‘church avoiders‘ can’t train or build up the body of Christ, if they’re not in fellowship with it.
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.
No one can help guard and protect local believers if they don’t fellowship with the local church.
1 Peter 5:2-4
2 Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Some people may think their wise and trained in the bible, but by not being in fellowship with a local Christian community, they fail to be a shepherd and are actually being an example of the wrong sort for the local body of Christ. This also exposes how ignorant they are in regards to scripture and how selfish they are in regards to The Body of Christ. Ultimately their issue isn’t with the local church but with the One who is head of the church- Christ Jesus.
Thus, being an
individual and not associating or being in fellowship with a local
Christian community that meets regularly, is actually being
unfaithful to the Lord and failing the Body of Christ.
Also read All Christians Are Missionaries
What If I don’t Like Any Local Churches?
Get over your self and don’t hypocritically judge. Recognizing flaws in a local body PROVES that YOU need to serve and help that local body. Unless the church is teaching and pursuing heresies and things that which God hates; they need your service and gifts.
What If I Don’t Like Their Worship Music Style?
Get over your self and worship God! There are no modern churches that sing the same songs in the same ways that the earliest church did. Period. Classical hymns, modern hymns, contemporary, gospel choir, WHATEVER! Go, serve, and worship that God that has saved your soul!
But There Are No Local Churches That Have Ministries For My Family/life stage Needs?
Get over your self and start them! Clearly you have recognized a need and you have the experience and knowledge of that need… sounds like that local church NEEDS YOU. Children, elderly, women, teens, college students, single adults, married couples groups, whatever, “GO and MAKE and TEACH” just as Jesus has commissioned you to do.
But I Don’t Know Anyone?
Informal communication is the easiest for those who are just not outgoing. Email people at the local church listed on their website or facebook message them from their facebook page. Introduce yourself and tell them that you want to get connected! boom. If you are out going, just show up one Sunday and introduce yourself to a greeter and ask to be introduced to someone who runs the ministry you want to be part of. OR just bring a close and willing friend; but make sure they encourage you to meet someone there and get connected at that church.
But They Will Harshly Judge Me and Make Me Feel Unwelcome!
You just hypocritically and harshly judged them. They are sinners just as much as you are! Remember, Christ Jesus is head of HIS church and will deal with the members of his body as he sees fit. You are not the judge and jury of what belongs to Him. If this does happen, you call it out, and report it to elders and deacons of the church just as holy scripture calls us to do. Christ Jesus is a far better judge than you and I when it comes to sinners.
What If It Is Too Far?
Visit our Church Finder page; I’m sure you can get yourself to a local church, especially if Jesus, the Apostles, their disciples, and the early church could do all their travels in ancient leather flipflops.
But Their Meetings Do Not Fit My Schedule
Search around, Churches meet at different times throughout the week as well. Go to bed early so you can wake up early. If your current working hours prevent you from being faithful to Christ Jesus and His body, you may want to re-evaluate your life priorities.
THE REAL PROBLEM
Ever wonder where all these excuses and failed justifications for avoiding church come from? Its simple. Our Hearts and our Sinful Nature. In just about every case it is flat out selfish thinking and self-centeredness. In reality, in the eyes of Christ, there are no justifications for not being part of his body, especially when he has called you and enables you through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who cling to these excuses need to truly examine themselves and ask: Do I Truly Love Jesus Christ? In some cases these people may not really be saved but just wanting to act and feel like they belong to a religion. Are you just trying to be faithful to a religion by watching a person of the same religion preach on TV or do you desire to be faithful to Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior by worshiping him through your service in His Body?
When you find a church to get involved with; make sure it is a healthy, gospel-centered, Christ-focused Church body. There are a lot of meetings of people that claim to be ‘christian‘ but WHAT they worship and WHAT they teach can expose their man-centered worldly-focused worship. Please see our Health Church test and Teachings test to be secure in that you are being taught by and involved with those who truly love AND KNOW Jesus Christ as LORD GOD and Savior as revealed in God’s Holy Word. Confessional churches tend to be more gospel-centered, Christ-focused Churches in that no matter who their current pastor or church leadership is, they have firm understandings of what they hold to be true and are grounded in what has always been taught in the faith. They do not have to be of a specific denomination and not all of them are. Be careful of churches that focus on material gains and wealth– those tend to be man-centered worldly-focused in their core. In the same way, be cautious with the more charismatic churches who can also lean man-centered worldly-focused disguised as ‘spiritual’. Keep in mind, ‘non-denominations’ are a type of denomination of its self. Don’t focus on any type of denomination or lack of, but focus on finding a healthy, gospel-centered, Christ-focused church first and foremost.
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