November 05, 2008

Q and A 2.0 Revisited: #6--Church Attendance


Does God expect us to be in church every Sunday?


Our pastor, Jeff Clark, says, “yes”. It’s the worst sin you can ever commit to miss a Sunday. Ha!

Let me throw out a verse to you: 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."

Now, I could say, “God’s Word says it, so you do it.” But, guilt is not a good long-term motivator. Let’s look at the whole context and at the reasons why it’s a good idea to regularly meet together:

Hebrews 10:19-25—“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised his faithful. And let us consider who we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another."

There is a reason that we meet together: to encourage each other on towards love and good deeds. Gathering together as a body of believers every week allows us to learn from God’s Word and to learn from and be encouraged by each other.

On the other hand, the question, “does God expect us to be there every week” is a question of law…of a rule. Is it God’s rule that we be there every week? Well, we don’t live under the law anymore. We don’t live a "rules based faith".

The question is not, do we have to go every week. The question is “why shouldn’t I want to?”.

Sometimes the church becomes a place that is less than encouraging and it falls short of spuring each other on to love and good deeds. That happens because we’re human. So, it’s up to us as the church (remember that the church is people, and not a building) to make it the kind of place that Scripture says it should be.

Saying, “I don’t want to go every week” is to say, “I don’t feel the need to be encouraged or to encourage; and, I don’t feel the need to love and be loved, or do good things and encourage others to do the same."

That puts us in the category of people that the writer of Hebrews takes to task.

Fellowship is one of our church's core values, and it’s one of the Biblical purposes of the church. That's reason enough for us to live it out.

Tomorrow is an interesting question about the Church of Christ and their lack of use of instruments in their worship. Check out all of the Q and A series here.

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