WHY CHURCH MATTERS
“Church” as used in the Bible is derived from the Greek work “ekklesia", which does not refer to a building but an “assembly” or the “called out ones”.
Church is therefore a gathering of believers.
The purpose of this gathering is to worship, praise, help each other, fellowship and learn the word then go out and make disciples. Church again encompasses two categories, the church universal made up of all believers everywhere and the local church or assembly, a specific place where believers connect and fellowship. According to Ephesians 1:22-23, Matthew 16:18 and Colossians 1:8, Christ established the church which is also called His body of which He is the head. Christ and the church are intertwined and to be a Christians is to be part of the church universal and must be part of a local church/local assembly of people.
Many people go to church for many reasons including compulsion, out of habit, because they are looking for something from God. However, the bible gives us a host of good reasons why we go to church or why church matters.
1. We go to church because God expects us to.
The first four of the Ten Commandments teach us how to relate to God and in the fourth (Exodus 20:8) God says “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”. This was a day set aside to rest from work and focus all energies on God. Jesus and His disciples observed the Sabbath and, on several occasions, went to the synagogue, the place of worship “as was his custom. (Luke 4:16, Mark 3:1-6)
Although Christians are not commanded to observe or keep the Sabbath, the early church following the same pattern of having a day of worship, set aside a day to focus attention God. This day is what the bible calls the day of the Lord and it fell on “the first day of the week” which is Sunday. The early church settled on Sunday as a day of rest and worship because Christ resurrected on Sunday. The believers would gather together on Sundays to study and to fellowship and by so doing grew their faith.
It is easier to worship and focus on God when we gather together. Going it alone is challenging as we will encounter many distractions, some legitimate, others frivolous.
2. When we gather together, we experience God’s presence in a special way that we cannot experience doing church online, via TV or podcast.
There are some spiritual encounters we will not get by “watching church”; there are some experiences we can only have in the presence of the Lord within the body of Christ. God releases some anointings and graces only when we are together. Some healings and deliverances can only occur when we come into His presence in a gathering. The bible makes us understand that when we gather in Jesus’ name He comes to share fellowship with us. In John’s account of the resurrection, Jesus chose to appear to His disciples twice while the were gathered together. (John 20:19-26)
3. We go to church because we are many parts of one body.
1 Cor 12:10-15, Romans 12:3-8. The import of these two scriptures is that we are many parts of one body-the body of Christ. God has given us many gifts and many graces to function as part of one body. The gifts and graces are for the benefit and the growth of the church or the assembly of believers. God being smart does not give all the gifts in one person. He gives different gifts to different people so that we are forced to need each other. He distributes the gifts among us so that when your gift contacts mine and mine contacts hers and hers contacts his then we can experience the glory of God. In order for the body of Christ to function and carry out its mandate we must come together as a church.
4. We go because we need to hear a word from the Lord.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says that God instituted the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ for the benefit of his church-his body and these offices are built such that they are exercised when we gather together as a church.
5. The church grows as we gather together.
The early church experienced increase as the kept meeting regularly. The early Christian church grew because the believers met regularly for teaching, worship, prayer and fellowship times and as they continued to do this the Lord added to their number.
6. Our children need spiritual nurturing and guidance, especially in our world today.
They will come only when we come and make church a priority. Teach a child the way he should go.
7. We come to church because we love God.
“Going to church to honor and worship God is one of the ways we show our love for God.” We are here because of John 3:16, to worship a God who gave without strings attached and still gives. Our attitude should be
that of David in Psalm 122:1-I was glad when they said unto me “Let us go into the house of the Lord.
8. We are commanded not to forsake the assembly of the saints.
Hebrews 10:24-25. As we continue to assemble as a church we spur each other on to love, to be and do better.
If we are serious about our walk with Christ then we must make church your priority. No Christian can survive when disconnected from the body of Christ.