Sunday afternoons were really special for me growing up. I lived on a mile and a half dirt road and on this road, there had to be 10 kids that were anywhere from 8-12. What a perfect age range for us to play 5 on 5 football. During this time in my life, I didn’t have a lot of friends at school and this time was a good time for me. We would play football, watch football, then play video games, until it started getting dark and we knew it was time to go home. Personally, it meant a lot to me because I was noticed and I felt special, I felt a part of something.
This is the same feeling we should have for Church. There are three reasons we should go to Church. 1) We should go to church for God 2) We should go to church for others and 3) We should go to Church for ourselves.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22 - NIV)
Drawing near to God means spending time with him. Most of you may say, “Well I can spend time with him on my own”. My question then is.. Do you really? If so great! But keep reading. Sunday morning is a time for us to look forward to spending time with God just as I looked forward to spending time with my friends when I was younger. We specifically put time aside on Sunday to worship God, to pray to him, and to be in his presence.
When people come together to share life together we call it fellowship. Fellowship is a foundation church.
We come together in God's presence to worship together but we also come together to challenge each other to grow and to hold each other accountable in living out our faith in our everyday life.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (NIV)
It is in fellowship that we not only get to spend time with each other, share our friendship together but we also share our faith. How many times have you been going through something and someone in your Church was able to relate and share a testimony that helped give you strength? In order to build each other up it is important that we go to Church.
Who do you build up when you are home alone, are you able to hold on to the hope all by yourself?
It is when we spend time together that we can comfort one another and encourage each other to live life together for God. We come together so that we can encourage each other in the promises of God for our lives.
When one of us begins to doubt that God is there and what God has promised. The rest of us are there to motivate and encourage them to keep on believing.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24 - NIV)
Yes we motivate others, but we also need motivation. We need the encouragement and assistance to love each other deeply. If you don’t feel the sense of purpose you believe you are supposed to, have you been to Church lately?
It is together that we can be shown areas that we need to grow, gain direction from Godly people, and be reminded of the truths of God Centered Growth.
It is through hearing the word of God preached to us and explained that we can really gain an understanding of Spiritual Truths. Then to have people in it that help you apply these truths to your life.
If you stay home alone you only have your interpretation, The way you interpret scripture, the way you interpret your TV or online sermons you listen to, but if you are amongst people in the church you can discuss these things and your eyes may be opened, or you may just open someone else’s.
This discussion is much like the “you can’t earn your way into heaven, so I don’t have to do good works to be a Christian”... Well if you are truly filled with the spirit you aren’t working to earn your way into heaven, your motivation is to demonstrate our love for God in response to His grace and mercy. Church attendance works in the same way. When we make it about what we are supposed to do, then it becomes an empty religious practice. When we invest ourselves in the Church because we recognize it’s an opportunity to grow closer to God through relationships with His people and our motivation is to have more of God in our lives, then that same action shifts from being a chore to a joy.
Consider the potluck. It is a tradition in the church today. Everyone brings something from their home (For the most part), that they have prepared. At a potluck we exchange recipes and experience flavors and foods we may have never experienced otherwise. We ask, “How did you make it?”, “What’s in this?”, “What did you do?”.
It is the same way when we attend church and fellowship with one another. “How did you overcome this?”, “Can you tell me what went into trusting God?”, the list goes on.
Can you survive on your own? Maybe, but not very well. You miss opportunities to fellowship with God, and experience his plans for us.
I leave you with this thought. Allistair Begg says, “Your usefulness as a Christian is sidelined when you don’t come to church”. Think about it, if you don’t practice with the Team, how on earth can you benefit the team? The Church is our team, the Church is where we can go to lay aside all of our worldly trouble and refill our salt shakers, so we can go and be the salt of the earth… Your usefulness as a Christian is sidelined when you don’t come to church.
Hebrews 10:25 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. (NIV)
Let us make it a priority to continue to meet together each week for worship, let us not have the regret in our life that we had spent more time with God and with his people.