What do you think of church? Is it a building that you go to on Sunday so that you can socialize and get caught up on the latest events? Maybe you are one of those people who make excuses for not going to church. Maybe you have even used one of the following excuses from time to time.
Some Common excuses for not going to church
“Church gets in the way of my weekend”
“ I just can’t get into all that preachy stuff”
“ My Pastor is just to hard to understand. If only he would leave out all those big word”
“ I feel to convicted of what I should be doing when I go to church”
“Church is boring”
“ With gas prices what they are I can’t afford to go to church”
“ I don’t know anybody at church. I feel like an outsider when I go there”
“ I watch those TV preachers that should be enough”
“ My parents don’t go to church why do I have to?”
“ I feel so hypocritical when I go to church”
It is easy to make excuses for not going to church, but in reality if you are the church and part of Jesus’ design was that we fellowship one with another in order to grow and develop as Christians. In 1 Corinthians 12:27 the church is referred to as the Body of Christ. We sometimes forget that the church is not the building we go to but the people in it and that Jesus loves us, the church so very much.
Jesus loves the Church
Read Ephesians 5:25-27. What do these verses tell you about the love of Christ for His church?
If you look again at the verse in 1 Corinthians 12:27 it says that we are all in the Body of Christ. The moment we accept Jesus as our Savior we become a member of His church. Now that church if you notice is not made up of this or that denomination but just people who have put their trust in Christ. The church comes from all nationalities, ethnic groups, races and ages each coming together to celebrate and worship Jesus Christ our risen Savior. And who is the head of this church? You guessed it Jesus.
Jesus is very protective of that which He created, the church. It is part of Himself and as He said to Peter, He would build and watch over it until he day we are called home or Jesus returns to this earth. There is also a verse in the Bible, which refers to the church as the Bride of Christ, and someday we as the church are going to join in the great wedding feast of the Groom, Jesus
Now when you think about us being viewed as the bride and Christ as the groom it give you a whole new viewpoint of the church. What person goes to wedding and starts to belittle or find fault with the bride? Well when we say that the church is one thing or another or make excuses for not going to church that is in essence what we are doing, belittling Christ’s bride.
Instead of making excuses as to why we do not want to be part of the body of Christ, His church we need to examine our own hearts and discover the reasons we won’t go. Remember Jesus was committed to His church so much so that He came and died for the church in order to start the church. This commitment was also found in the Disciples who went forth as believers in Christ and gave their lives for the church in order to spread the love of God and the importance of believers coming together, in fellowship and prayer (the church) and commitment to Jesus and His work here on earth.
Look up 1 Corinthians 11:2 and you will see the importance Paul put on that commitment when he praised the church in Corinth for remembering him. Paul knew that the church was at the center of what God was to do in our world because a group is much stronger than one standing alone. In fact Paul pulled know punches throughout his teaching about the idea that if we are actively involved in the ministry as part of a group a Bible teaching believers (a church) then we are not following God’s plan for our lives. It is that simple and that complex at the same time
It’s time to go to Church!
Church is kind of like boot camp. No you are not going to have to do Physical Training but the idea of Boot Camp is prepare you for battle. The idea of church is help believers be prepared for a battle against, principalities, powers and the dark forces of this world. In other words church is like boot camp because it prepares you to stand alongside other members of your church who will help you grow spiritually and will help you stand against the devils advances.
It’s time to go to Church because of what the church provides!
Four Good Reasons to go to Church
1. You are called to. If you haven’t got the picture yet the Bible calls us as believers to come together as a church. It is that simple. Jesus knew that there was more strength in number than there was in one person in advancing the Gospel throughout Judea, Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. Even today where would missionaries be without the love, support and prayer of the church behind them
2. The church provides leaders and lay people who care for you. Now I know one the excuses for not going to church may be a lack of warmth from a particular group of believers. If you do not feel welcome for one reason or another at one church make sure it not because you already do not want to belong there. A church should eb a place that welcomes all who come in and all who need help. If for some reason you do not feel welcome then search out a church group you feel comfortable with.
There are two things to remember when choosing a church group. One is that they are born again believers who follow God’s Word as it is written and the other things is that you feel that you are led by the Lord to be there. Sometimes you may feel that one church is not for you because God has plans to use you in another church in some way that He will reveal when He is ready.
One example is Paul who wanted to go to the church in Rome but was directed to other areas by God in order to minister to a particular group of believers who were needy in one way or another. The church is there to provide people who care and you may be that person in a particular group, but if you don’t go to church you may never find that out.
3. It is up to the church to take of the needs of other believers. The Biblical principle is for the church to take care of other believers. All throughout the Book of Acts we see believers who sell their property to help others. Now this does not mean that you have to go and sell all you have in order to belong to a church. The idea is to use what you have available to you to help those other believers around you. If you have time, use it, if you have the ability to listen, listen and so on and so on. Get up and show others you care.
4. The church provides spiritual encouragement that you cannot find anywhere else. You cannot watch the Sunday morning TV preacher and get the same benefit out of it as if you had gone to church. Christ intended for us to rub shoulders with other Christians because we need to build upon the strength of each other.
There are times in our Christian walk when we need the encouragement and knowledge of other Christians who are further along in their walk then we are. You cannot counsel yourself it just doesn’t work. We need to talk to, pray with, fellowship with other Christians to help us stand against the advances of Satan.
5. The church provides accountability. I do not know about you but I am like Paul when he says those things I do not want to do are the things I find myself doing. That is why I need church so that in those times I need help staying the course I can go to my brother in Christ and ask them to help me get through a situation by holding me accountable.
This means they call me, pray with me, ask me how I am doing. If not for their support I do not know if I could stand or keep my daily without stumbling and falling. A good loving church group will help hold you up when they see you stumble and correct you when you need correction.
What are the consequences of not making church a priority?
All you need to do is look to those people around you who claim to be Christians but do not attend a church of Bible believing people. They are the ones that cause all the bad press about what a Christian is. When we do not go to church we tend to slowly walk away from the Lord and soon we no longer resemble Christ but the world around us. A good example of this can be found in 2 Timothy 4:10 where a man named Demas thought he could go it on his own away from the counsel of Paul.
Well Demas soon found himself a part of the world and no longer a witness for Christ. What Demas did not only affected his walk with God, but when you think about it also affected all the people he came in contact with because no longer could they see Christ in him and no longer would they hear about salvation through Christ from Demas. Think about the lost souls Demas cam in contact with that would never be saved also because he did not see church as a priority.
Think about this.
How much of a priority is church to you?
If church is not a priority to you, explain how not attending church has affected your life and the lives of those around you?