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Why Go To Church?

Posted by: on Jun 12, 2016 | No Comments

Over the years, we have heard many people make statements such as: “There are too many hypocrites in church…” or, “Why go to somebody’s church when I can worship God at home.”

There is both truth and error in statements such as the aforementioned.

Hypocrisy in the Church

The truth is that there are many hypocrites in church. Fortunately, adding one more to the mix won’t hurt anything, so you might as well go.

Also, it is true that you can worship God at home. In fact, you should do so!

Consider, however, that the purpose of church is not just to get something. Your purpose is also to give. This is not simply in regard to the offering basket. God has given you gifts and experiences that are needed to touch lives.

   

The Purpose For Gathering Together in His Name
by Brotha DC

There is no such thing as a perfect church.  That can be attributable to the fact that there are no perfect people on the face of the earth.  Some may believe that they are perfect, but the proof is in their spiritual fruits1)Click here to read our book on this subject.

The words of the author of the Book of Hebrews are clear:

Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25 [AMPC]

Why should we be part of a fellowship, as opposed to watching a televised religious broadcast? Granted, Christian television is generally a great thing.  However, it cannot replace gathering together in His name.

A key point is that we come together not to only receive. We should also come to give.  Many churches are set up like a stage performance. First, the musicians get everyone pumped up. Then, the headline act delivers a message that hits home. But, this is not what the Lord intended when he instituted the ecclesia (those called out of Judaism and out of the world to become a new thing, the Body of Christ)2)Listen to our audio teaching on “Discerning the Body”.

Growing up in church, I would often hear someone shout after a move of the Holy Spirit, “I got what I came for!”  Great!  How wonderful for you. Now, how about ministering to someone who has not received what they are in need of?

We are not called to be laity (people who lay back while the clergy works).  Jesus brought us into His marvelous light to become ministers of God’s love to our brothers and sisters here on this earth:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own 3)1 Peter 2:9 John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible.purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9 [AMPC]

Walk out that call… following these command directives from the Lord Jesus Himself:

12 “This is My commandment, that you 4)John 15:12 See note 13:34love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father.

John 15:12-15 [AMP]

I am giving you a new commandment, that you 5)John 13:34 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.

John 13:34 [AMP]

Christian love is not an emotional feeling. Christian love is personified in John 3:16 — For God so loved… He gave. We need to give of ourselves into the lives of others. Steve Camp wrote a great song in that regard:

Come Let Us Worship TogetherThe purpose of church6)And other spiritual gatherings, including Bible studies and prayer meetings attendance is so that we can warn7)Reminding believers of the promises and admonitions of The Lord, urge8)See Ephesians 5:19, and encourage9)Building up spiritual strength each other.

The current trend in many of the newfangled churches serving millennials is to make the sanctuary/auditorium a dark environment where individuals may be alone with the Lord10)See our blog on worshipping in the dark.

However, your personal prayer, study, and worship time(s) should serve that purpose. In fact, I am mindful of the presence of the Lord throughout the day (but especially in laying down at night and waking up in the morning).

The idea of coming to church to be alone in the crowd seems to suggest that there is no time spent with God outside of church attendance. A lack of Bible study, a lack of personal worship time, a lack of intercession for the saints, a lack of agreement with your spouse… all of those are tantamount to a person surviving on one weekly meal — and that meal being a measly cracker snack washed down with a little soda pop.

One needs three “square” meals a day for peak physical and mental performance. We are no threat to satan if we equip ourselves with so little spiritual fuel.

We should not sit in the dark, blocking others out. Rather, we need to be inclusive in our worship and in our lives. In doing so, we are like an instrument of iron sharpening another instrument.

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].

Proverbs 27:17 [AMP]

Iron sharpens iron, and a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

יזבַּרְזֶל בְּבַרְזֶל יָחַד וְאִישׁ יַחַד פְּנֵי רֵעֵהוּ:

sharpens the countenance of his friend: Heb. יחד, sharpens. Torah scholars sharpen each other in halachah11)See http://www.jewfaq.org/halakhah.htm

Proverbs 27:17 [CJB]

Believers in Christ gather together to strengthen each other. Kind of hard to do that when the room is so dark that you can’t see each other.

Iron Sharpens Iron

That is not to discount what goes on at the pulpit or platform:

  1. The word going forth from the Pastor or Minister is spiritual food that imparts spiritual strength.
  2. The songs lead by the praise and worship team are Tehellim that impart a closer walk with Him.

Still, people go through unique experiences that often require a unique and personal brand of ministry. The world needs one on one ministry — personal evangelism.

One on one is how God changes lives. True, a pastor can preach a great sermon and give a convicting altar call. Still, it takes individuals to invite people to church to hear the sermon and to respond to the altar call.

We all need someone we can lean on...Yes, the Pastor may preach a great sermon that covers the entire congregation like buckshot. Consider how your unique life experiences give you the ability to minister to your brothers and sisters in Christ who may be suffering in like manner with sniper-like accuracy.

Believers can strengthen each other in regards to:

  • Their marriage (if you are married and have overcome a similar problem)
  • Their single life (if you are single and God has given you joy and victory in your singleness)
  • Their white collar office politics (if that is your experience)
  • Their desire to move up from blue collar work (if that is your experience)
  • Their financial situation (if God has delivered you financially)
  • Their unruly neighbors (if you have achieved victory over that type of situation)

KoinoniaAgain, church services and small groups are where this level of ministry is most effective.  The Greek word for this is Koinonia (those born again in the 1970’s may remember this word being used a lot). The definition of Koinonia includes:

  • Fellowship
  • Association
  • Community
  • Communion
  • Joint participation
  • Intercourse
  • The share which one has in anything, participation
  • The right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
  • A gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship

It is difficult to have Koinonia when people are gathered in the dark, unable to see (or greet or encourage) each other.  It is difficult when people rush in for a service and then rush out to get a round of golf or to hit the all-you-can-eat cafeteria.

Koinonia is also non-existent when churches take on the Country Club mentality… where there is a social hierarchy that newcomers cannot transcend.  If a newcomer hungry for fellowship is ignored because you have your own social agenda, how easy might it be for satan to get his clutches on them?

I had a friend years ago who came to Christ and was hungry and thirsty for Christian fellowship. The women ignored her because she was not a part of her clique. The men largely ignored her… except for the few who were on the hunt for a conquest.

Years after those experiences, she with me that, for a long period of time, she went home after every service and cried. The good news is that God eventually used her to lead a thriving singles fellowship in her church.

If we lose the spirit of Oneness in Christ Jesus in our churches, we risk people falling away from congregations (and taking with them their gifts, their talents, and their finances). Even worse, I have seen people storm out of churches to adopt Buddhism, Islam, and other belief systems — or, become agnostic or atheistic — because of the caustic behavior of some in the body of Christ.

We Are Many Yet One Family In Christ

I remember working under one pastor whose church property was a rental.  The amount he paid for monthly rent was fifty-thousand dollars.  My thought was that he should have put that money into ownership of a building.  But, since he had a large and affluent congregation, he had no second thoughts about paying $50,000 a month rent.

Unfortunately, over time, he unwittingly opened a can of worms that had several affluent members leave the congregation. Faced with a large monthly bill and a fraction of his former church income, the pastor changed the focus of his ministry aggressive fund raising.

This pastor went so far as to bring in guest ministers who were adept at strong-arming money away from congregants. In the end, it cost him more than a large ministry. It also tore his family apart.

Such tragedies can happen when one ignores following the voice of the Holy Spirit12)Check out our Topical Series on Hearing the Voice of God.

If you see a brother or sister heading in a perilous direction… even if it is a pastor or leader… seek the Lord as to what you can do. Ultimately, the decision to receive wise counsel is up to that individual. Regardless, pray… and then follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

References   [ + ]

1. Click here to read our book on this subject
2. Listen to our audio teaching on “Discerning the Body”
3. 1 Peter 2:9 John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible.
4. John 15:12 See note 13:34
5. John 13:34 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
6. And other spiritual gatherings, including Bible studies and prayer meetings
7. Reminding believers of the promises and admonitions of The Lord
8. See Ephesians 5:19
9. Building up spiritual strength
10. See our blog on worshipping in the dark
11. See http://www.jewfaq.org/halakhah.htm
12. Check out our Topical Series on Hearing the Voice of God
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