See You On Sunday

BNC Plane ShotIt’s alarming the number of people who will say they are Christians but are not part of any church. Every believer needs a church home to learn, grow, share and be empowered. So why do so many think it’s unnecessary? Perhaps disillusionment has set in. A church is only as perfect as the people making it up which means, no church is perfect. Or perhaps weariness of life has set in. It’s much easier to sleep in, read the Bible on your own and call it church. There may be many reasons why. However, I’d like to share reasons why I believe it’s fundamental to our faith to be involved in a church body. Before I go on, let me say I know there are many who simply cannot physically attend church. This is not for you. This is for those who can, but choose (for whatever reason) not to.

Three reasons why we must involve ourselves in a church body are found in Hebrews ch. 10. In verse 22 we see that church is a place where we draw near to God. I think we often don’t realize what a HUGE thing it is to be able to go into the sanctuary, hear God’s word, and be ushered into his presence. Until Jesus came, died, rose again, and sent the Holy Spirit, that just did not happen. The priests had to offer sacrifices and there were a lot of regulations to properly worship. That’s not the way it has to be anymore! Hebrews 10:19-23 says:

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

We can have confidence that when we enter the sanctuary, we are coming into the Most Holy Place. We can meet face to face with our God. We can come to him freely knowing he has cleansed us and given us hope in this life and the one to come.

Another purpose is to encourage fellow believers. Sometimes we come to church excited and in the mode to praise and worship. Other times, we find ourselves in the midst of extreme difficulties and we need to be encouraged – we need to see hope. What a blessing it is to come to church weary and leave feeling empowered! We can be part of infusing the life of a fellow believer with strength and courage. Life has a way of making us feel weary. But when we come to church, we can be encouraged to keep going. To keep loving the unlovely, to keep doing what God has called us to – even when it’s hard. Look at the first and last part of the next 2 verses in Hebrews ch. 10:

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I believe “The Day” refers to the return of Christ. No doubt we are closer to that time than ever before. So we must encourage each other to keep on. To keep loving and doing good. We may not have much time left!

Drawing near to God, helping others to love and do good, encouraging each other – all are key reasons we need to be in church regularly. While we can find God in his word (we certainly need to spend time there daily) and in praise music (also good and needed) we also need to get together with other believers. Without that, we are cutting ourselves off from some of the key things Jesus died for us to have. We miss out on being in his presence in a way that only happens when believers gather. We miss out on the guidance to live and love better. We miss out on encouragement. And we miss the blessing that comes from being one who gives guidance and encouragement to others. Now look at that middle part of the above verses:

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Back in the days of the early church apparently there were those Christians who thought they could do just fine on their own. They had given up meeting together with the church. They chose to give up the fellowship, the guiding and encouraging of others, and enjoying the presence of God with other believers.   The writer of Hebrews doesn’t give us any reasons why some believers were beginning to give this up. Perhaps it was due to hypocrisy in others, or fear of persecution. It could have been simply that they got busy in the day to day living and just got out of the habit of going. Whatever it was, the writer encouraged those reading his letter to NOT give up meeting together. There is power in numbers. We need each other – plain and simple. Don’t let anything or anyone keep you away from the place where God can speak to you, guide you, bless you and use you to be a blessing. God has given us a great gift and a wonderful privilege. Don’t neglect being a part of it. And better yet – bring someone along with you this Sunday!

~Tara Hensel