Purpose of the Church Pt3 Church Attendance

It’s tempting sometimes to want to skip church. Maybe we have chores and errands that need to get done, maybe it’s too much work to get the family up and out the door in the morning, or maybe we just want to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors.

If we attend church three out of four Sundays in the month, that’s enough, right?

This kind of thinking (which many Christians have probably fallen into) is really looking at church attendance from the wrong perspective.

Many of us think about church as something we have to do; it’s another thing to check off our weekly checklists. Our view toward church attendance can begin to be transformed, however, when we consider a few important things that remind us of the privilege of meeting each week specifically to focus on God and His people.

In some places, church attendance is regulated by the government. Unless you are registered, you cannot legally meet. Or you must meet in small numbers. Or you can meet, but are constantly afraid of what might happen. The news of church bombings across the world, often during worship services, is a frightening reminder of the high cost of meeting with other believers.

You don’t have to go to church, you get the privileges of being able to go to church.

We have the privilege of living in a society where we are free to get to go to church. It is hard to imagine persecuted believers whose baptismal services are secret, dangerous affairs ever saying they have to go to church. Listen to the global church, and be renewed in your gratitude for the privilege of freely worshipping with believers.

The importance of true Christian fellowship is that it reinforces these things in our mind and helps us to focus on Christ and His desires and goals for us. As iron sharpens iron, in true Christian fellowship Christians sharpen one another’s faith and stir one another to exercise that faith in love and good works, all to God’s glory. Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers.

Walking into a church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. No matter how you slice it, going to church just isn’t going to save you — it’s only true faith in Christ alone that saves(Sola Christos). If indeed you are a true believer you are not going to lose your salvation by not going to church. However, it’s pretty hard to believe that a genuine believer would fail to go to church. The Christian life is to be lived within the context of the family of God Ephesians 3:14-15(ESV)14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named,, and not in isolation.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that church attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.

If we cut off a hand or a finger and set it aside from the body it will eventually become dead and rotten. Same with a believer who does not belong to a local body.

Look again at what the Bible says, “Some have gotten out of the habit. We should not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other.” The church is an encouraging place. We all need encouragement. Life is hard. Life is difficult. We all run into various kinds of challenges; health problems, financial issues, conflict within our families. We have an opportunity to encourage one another and that is part of what church is about. Sunday service is where fellowship begins. Being in worship, coming to extra meetings and serving is where you get to know people on a deeper level. But it starts on Sunday; the launching point to fellowship and community is in church services. Every Sunday that you come, there are going to be people who are looking for you, wondering if you’re there. People will miss you. And the longer and more consistently you come, the more you will be missed. Because the more that you are in church, the more you are involved, the more people miss you and notice that you’re not around. It is a marvelous thing to be a part of a local church it is like having a much larger family.

You cannot say that you love Jesus and hate His bride.

It’s through our attendance at church that we hear the preaching of the Word of God. Ephesians 4:11-16(ESV)11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. This clearly tells us that God has placed pastors and teachers in the church “to prepare His people of works of service, so that the body of Christ might be build up and strengthened.” You cannot benefit yourself of this spiritual training if you are on the water on Sunday morning — trying to worship God in the Chapel of Dagon…

A church helps you defend Christianity against those who attack it. When Jude told the early Christians to “contend for the faith” Jude 1:3(ESV)Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. he directed his instruction toward a group of believers, not a scattering of lone-ranger Christians. Answering challenges from coworkers, friends and family members is always easier when you can ask fellow church members for help and wisdom. A church helps its members maintain correct doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13-16(ESV)13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. You might begin to adopt unbiblical ideas without realizing it yourself. But you probably won’t adopt unbiblical ideas without someone at your church realizing it, and they can help you get back to the truth.

The church must be together to carry out many of its purposes.

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27(ESV)27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20(ESV)12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us.
Ephesians 4:11–13(ESV)
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers
1 Corinthians 12:21–31(HCSB)
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. 28 And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. 29  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30  Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other languages? Do all interpret?31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.

Church is not something that you do individually it is something that you do collectively. To be a follower of Christ is not just what you do by yourself it is what you do together with other people. We are what the Bible calls the “family of God.” A family is by its very nature inter-dependent. What it means to be a part of a local church is that you’re inter-dependent with other people in your church. There are strong reasons why you should come to church regularly.

1.Church is the place where believers can love one another
John 15:12-17(ESV)12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

2. Encourage one another 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11(ESV)For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

3. Inspire one another to love and good works Hebrews 10:24(ESV)And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

4. Serve one another Galatians 5:13(ESV)13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

5. Instruct one another Romans 15:14(ESV)14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

6. Honor one another Romans 12:10(ESV)10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

6.Be kind and compassionate to one another Ephesians 4:32(ESV)32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

1 Peter 2:5-6(ESV)you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church, and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”. As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”

Christians should take church attendance seriously. The Christian life is to be lived within the context of the fellowship of the saints. The Bible knows nothing of a “lone ranger Christian.” Many logs burning together burn very brightly, but when a log falls off to the side, the embers quickly die out. When you face the difficulties of life as we all surely will, you’ll be thankful for the love, support, and prayers of your extended church family.

Don’t come occasionally to church. Don’t just come when you feel like it. Make regular church attendance a priority and let it be a good habit that becomes a part of who you are. Nothing does more for your spiritual health than regularly being in church. Being in a church service is irreplaceable. It is a moment in time and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There will always be competition for your time and other things that you could do on a Sunday. But these are really good reasons you should regularly attend church.

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