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EIGHT REASONS WHY A CHRISTIAN SHOULD ATTEND CHURCH

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Introduction

During all of the years that I have been witnessing in the streets of the local towns, I have been amazed by the number of people who I have come in contact with who profess to be Christians, but do not attend church. Usually they have been in a church before, and seen something in the people that they did not like, perhaps hypocrisy, or immorality, a lack of love, or something else that offended them. Jesus came across this same problem in his disciples, who failed him many times. One such example was the apostle Peter when he allowed Satan to speak through him to rebuke Jesus (Mark 8:32-33). He later very strongly declared that he would not deny Jesus (Mark 14:29-31), and then denied him three times the same night (Mark 14:65-72). Dear reader, would you have turned your back on Peter? Jesus didn't forsake him, but rebuked him and prayed for him that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32). Then he died on the cross to pay for his sins. The apostle Paul also encountered problems in the Corinthian church; there were contentions among them (1 Corinthians 1:11), which comes "Only by pride" (Proverbs 13:10). They were having respect of persons (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4), which is sin (James 2:9), and some were "puffed up" (1 Corinthians 5:2). One was fornicating with his father's wife (1 Corinthians 5:1), and the others had refused to judge it, or separate themselves (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Some were taking each other to court before unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:6), they were defrauding one another (1 Corinthians 6:8), they were getting drunk at the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:21), and speaking in tongues in a disorderly manner in the church (1 Corinthians 14:1-40). Dear reader, would you have walked out of such a church? Paul did not forsake them, but warned them (1 Corinthians 4:14), and wrote the whole epistle to correct them and encourage them. He obviously prayed for them to repent also, which they did (2 Corinthians 7:8-11), and encouraged them to show love and forgiveness to those who had erred (2 Corinthians 2:6-8). Perhaps you have been in a church, which has been in error, and God showed you some things so that you could correct them. If they were truly God's people, they should respond and repent, and God's purpose would be fulfilled. On the other hand, you may have been in some cult church, or one that is in so much error that it will not repent. In which case God may have showed you some things to get you out, so that he could move you on to a better church. Perhaps you came out, but never asked God where to go next, in which case you have missed God's will, and you are now missing out on his purpose for your life. Whether these thing apply to you or not, if you are a Christian who does not attend church, please consider the following reasons. This bible study gives eight very good reasons why a Christian should attend church.

#1.1 IN ORDER TO BE ONE WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS

JOHN 17:11, 20-23 (Jesus)
11 And now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you, Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.
20 Neither do I pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.

EPHESIANS 4:11-14 (Paul)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

Note: There can be no doubt that true Christians will one day come to the perfect unity just as Jesus prayed for it, because all his prayers were answered (John 11:42). How can we be part of that unity if we do not attend church, or fellowship with other Christians? We become like the people whom we associate with:

(Proverbs 27:17) "Iron sharpens iron; so does a man sharpen the countenance of his friend."
(Proverbs 13:20) "He who walks with wise men will be wise: but a companion of fools will be destroyed."

It is God's will that this unity will happen also, because Jesus came to do the will of God (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38). If we are not part of this unity we have failed to do the will of God, so where does that leave our salvation?

(Matthew 7:21) "Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

#1.2 IN ORDER TO EXHORT AND TO PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER TO DO GOOD

HEBREWS 10:24-25 (Paul)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke to love and good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.

Note: Many Christians need help and exhortation at times when going through spiritual difficulties. Even if we are so spiritual that we do not need help ourselves, there are plenty of people who need our help. How can we exhort church members if we do not attend church? Not attending makes us disobedient to the word of God, because we are forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, which we are commanded not to do (Hebrews 10:25). We cannot consider, or provoke, or exhort people who we do not associate with either. Remember that salvation is for the obedient:

(Hebrews 5:9) "And being made perfect, he became the author of salvation to all those who obey him."
(Revelation 22:14) "Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city."

Salvation is not for the disobedient:

(2 Thessalonians 1:7-8) "the Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
In flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
(Ephesians 5:6) "Do not let any man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience."
(Colossians 3:6) "For which things sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience."

Perhaps it was the question of obedience which made the difference between the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The foolish virgins were lost.

#1.3 IN ORDER TO RESTORE ONE ANOTHER WHEN IN ERROR

GALATIANS 6:1 (Paul)
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.

Note: The apostle James said, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one converts him; Let him know, that he who converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20). How can we know which Christians are in error and restore them if we are not attending church? How can they restore us when we err? Should we just let them die in their sin? That would make us a sinner wouldn't it? "to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17). Where does that leave our salvation?

(Proverbs 24:11-12) "If you forbear to draw those who are delivered to death, and those who are ready to be slain; If you say, Behold, we did not know it; does not he who ponders the heart consider it? and he who keeps your soul, does he not know it? and shall he not render to every man according to his works?"

#1.4 IN ORDER TO HELP ONE ANOTHER WHEN IN NEED

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12 (Solomon)
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him who is alone when he falls; for he does not have another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him: and a threefold chord is not quickly broken.

GALATIANS 6:2 (Paul)
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Note: How can we fulfil the law of Christ through bearing one another's burdens, if we don't attend church to associate with other Christians, and find out how we can help them? Where would that leave our salvation?

(Romans 2:13) "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."

#1.5 IN ORDER TO BE PART OF THE ONE FOLD

JOHN 10:35,11,14,16 (Jesus)
3 To him the porter opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
4 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: and they do not know the voice of strangers.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
16 And other sheep I have who are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

JOHN 11:51-52 (Caiaphas)
51 And he did not speak this about himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for that nation;
52 And not for that nation only, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

Note: Jesus is the good shepherd (John 10:11; 10:14), and sheep are symbolic of saved Christians. In context, "this fold" is Jewish, and "not of this fold" refers to Gentiles, but today, "not of this fold" could be seen as other churches, that is denominations, and the one fold as the true church of God. Denominations is not from God, "For God is not the author of confusion," (1.Corinthians 14:33). It is clear however, that there are some saved Christians in various denominations, because Jesus said that they are his sheep (John 10:16). When they are called, the true sheep will hear his voice (John 10:3; 10:16), they will follow him (John 10:4), and be led to the one fold (John 10:16), which is the true church. If we are not in a fold, that is in a church, what makes us think we are a true sheep? Jesus is gathering together in one, "the children of God who were scattered abroad." (John 11:52). If we are not being gathered, how can we be a child of God?

#1.6 IN ORDER TO PROVE OUR FAITH

2 CORINTHIANS 13:5 (Paul)
5 Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves. Do you not know your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you are reprobates?

1 THESSALONIANS 5:21 (Paul)
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

JAMES 2:17,20,26
17 Even so faith, if it does not have works, is dead, being alone.
20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Note: When we believe something in our heart, there are two ways of expressing it to make it a living faith; confessing with the mouth (Romans 10:10; 2 Corinthians 4:13), and by actions which correspond with what we say we believe (James 2:17; 2:20; 2:26). If we believe that we are part of the true church of God, and confess it, but do not act upon it, then we have a dead faith, and dead faith will get us nothing. If our faith is not enough to get us to make the short journey to church now, how will it enable us to make the long journey to heaven when the time comes?

#1.7 IN ORDER TO BE A PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

1 CORINTHIANS 12:14-22 (Paul)
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body was an eye, where was the hearing? If the whole body was hearing, where was the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where is the body?
20 But now there are many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

Note: The church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1:24), and each Christian is a member of that body. We are meant to function together as a body in order to do God's will. If any member of our physical body, such as a finger, is cut off, and detached from the rest of the body, it becomes useless. It cannot respond to instructions from the head, or work in co-operation with the rest of the body. It ceases to be an effective part of the body. So it is with any Christian who is detached from the body of Christ, they cease to be effective themselves, and render the body less effective by their absence, because they are necessary (1 Corinthians 12:22). We ought to go to church to worship God, hear the word of God, work in it, help it, give to it, find out which member of the body of Christ we are, and perform our function. If we fail to do this, we have failed to do God's will, and where does that leave our salvation?

(Matthew 7:21) "Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

#1.8 IN ORDER TO TITHE TO THE WORK OF GOD

MALACHI 3:7-12
7 Even from the days of your fathers you have gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you said, In what shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, In what have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; nor shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the LORD of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightful land, says the LORD of hosts.

Note: A tithe is one tenth of a person's gross income, or increase. Tithing is part of God's financial plan to provide for his work, and has been since the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-4). It continued with Jacob (Genesis 28:20-22), and was a part of the law given by Moses (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 14:22; Malachi 3:10). The tithe belonged to God (Leviticus 27:30-34), but was used for the service of the Levites (Numbers 18:21-29; Deuteronomy 26:12), and to support strangers, widows, and orphans (Deuteronomy 14:28; 26:12; Acts 6:1-3). Tithing is really an act of faith, because God has promised a blessing if we do it, and a curse if we don't (Malachi 3:8-11). Because the tithe belongs to God (Leviticus 27:30-34), he considers not paying it as robbing him (Malachi 3:8). Modern day tithes should be paid to the church treasury for the support of the ministry, and widows and orphans in the church (Acts 6:1-3). Some functions of the Levites, such as teaching the word of God (Exodus 18:20; Deuteronomy 24:8; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Ezra 7:10), are now part of the ministry of the church (Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). A person ought to tithe for these reasons, and also because the Lord Jesus Christ endorsed it (Matthew 23:23). What Jesus said has not passed away (Matthew 24:35), and his words will judge us when he returns:

(John 12:48) "He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has one who judges him: the word which I have spoken, the same will judge him in the last day."

Dear reader, if you are not regularly going to church, please give this study careful consideration. To receive and understand what God would have you to do, ask God to show you (Philippians 4:6; James 1:5-7), meditate on the scriptures (Joshua 1:7-8;  1 Timothy 4:15-16), and act what you are shown (Romans 2:13; James 1:22-25). May God bless you and lead you into his perfect will, in Jesus' name.

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