Recently I saw a sign that read "Home Improvement: Take Your Family To Church." Our title for this edition of "The Devotional" asks the question, "Why Church?" Why do we go to church? Why is it important? Why does church set everything else apart in our lives? What does the Bible say about attending? What is Jesus' example? Let's take a look and see.
Our key verse in the New Testament is Hebrews 10:24-25.
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (NKJV)
Notice how The Message Bible reads. "So let's do it--full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching." (The Message Translation)
The Word of God said to not forsake our coming together. It says not to avoid worshiping together because it spurs each other onward. We live in a society today that chooses to magnify hurts, depression, emotional issues, and problems in general. We live in a victim society; an issue driven society. Sadly, that attitude has crept into the church. The Bible tells us that some will "fall away" in the last days. When we submit to the "world system", or the way the world is thinking, we will pull away from the things that have remained stable and sure for generations. The local church is one of those sure things.
The world now mocks the church. We must be careful not to allow this world system to drive our attendance habits through the cares and things of life and everyday living. This way of thinking is completely apart from what the scriptures tell us about coming together. We need to come together on a regular basis as believers. We need to hear the preaching and teaching of the Word of God to encourage us and help us in living a life of hope and victory. The preaching and teaching of the Word of God helps us in having a stable focus. It helps us as believers in being accountable as well.
The local church is a life source for all of us. We individually need it. We see it in the book of Acts. The church was the place where "it" was happening. It was exploding with growth, excitement and the power of the Holy Spirit. The church of today should exemplify that same excitement and growth. Excitement breeds excitement. How you come to church affects the service. When you come to church, come excited and ready, and just see what happens and what the Lord will do.
Look at some other verses here.
Psalm 122:1 "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD." (NKJV)
Psalm 42:4 "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast." (NKJV)
Notice being glad to go. Going with the multitude.
If you just do a word search of the Bible with the words "temple" and "Jesus" you'll find that Jesus was there, in church, over and over and over. It was a part of His life, not just His ministry. One that I love is this one. Luke 4:16 , "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read."
The Apostle Paul had "customs" or "habits" too! Notice Acts 17:2, "As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures."
Acts 5:42 says, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
There are many, many references to coming together throughout the Word of God. Being in the sanctuary, the temple, the church, needs to be a part of our lives for so many reasons. Let me give you some straight points as to why it's important to you as an individual.
1. Important for family relationships and life
The Local Church is a very important place for family and relationships. Strong, godly relationships "spark" you. "Iron sharpens iron." (Proverbs 27:17) Families and individuals learn about life and how to live it. We learn about walking in victory and being happy. We learn about giving to our fellow man through outreach and community projects. We learn as a family the power of walking with Christ living big in our lives.
2. It's a community of faith
In this community of faith is where we gain a revelation of Jesus Christ. Church is about growing up and maturing, not about what level you're on. It's where you have a Pastor who ministers the Word of God to you so that you can run and step out in faith and be a doer of the Word. Your Pastor and the other relationships that you have are there for you in a tough time or to celebrate the joys of your life. It's a place where we develop personal and lasting friendships and relationships that endure a lifetime.
3. It's a Non-threatening Place.
There are no perfect people, but we are a people who have a perfect God. In this place you don't have to put on a performance. Jesus loves and accepts people the way they are. Church is that kind of place. It's a place where people find empathy, not sympathy; a place to be lifted up and encouraged to live for Christ.
4. It helps people face the difficult and conflicting areas of their lives.
While dealing with struggles, sins of the past, lack of self-confidence, and more, we learn that the precious blood of the Lamb has been given for our freedom. It's a place where there is comfort in a time of loss or need; a place where Jesus' arms are spread wide through the love of a congregation of family and friends.
5. A Place of Spiritual strength
Church is a place where people can find out who they are in Christ and grow in the things of God. It is a place where your giftings from the Lord can be developed and shine. It is a place where you are encouraged and uplifted to step out and serve the Lord. It is a place where you can be sent out to do the calling of God that's on your life.
6. A place of accountability.
At church we learn about life and that we are accountable to the Lord. We establish relationships where we are accountable to one another. Church helps in establishing accountability in our personal walk of life and to the Word of God, by fostering healing, evangelism, deeper faith, family roots and more. Plain and simple, it helps keep you from becoming "flaky"! When you are off on your own, your imagination about what's spiritual and what's not, can go to all sorts of places that can mislead you at a time and place in your life where you need "your" pastor and "your" church family for life, encouragement and rock solid consistency.
7. Marriage, Family, & Home.
You can be on your way to church and arguing about what seems huge, but when you get to church and are in the middle of worship, the Holy Spirit deals with you. The message seems to be just like the Lord was personally talking with you. It changes you and changes your home. It brings the two of you closer as a husband and wife.
It works on your kids. They're learning how to live for God and not just play like it. They learn that a relationship with God is a personal experience and that it's real.
The Bible says to, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
As a parent, your responsibility is to plant those seeds of training in your kids. If church isn't important to you, don't expect it to be important to your kids. If praying is not important to you, don't expect it to be important to your kids. If giving is not important to you, don't expect them to be givers either. You train them up... they will follow. Your emphasis will be the foundations for not just you, but for generations to come. Fear breeds fear. Joy breeds joy. Godliness breeds godliness.
Dads need to set that example. Moms too! What you tolerate in moderation, your kids will tolerate in excess. The seeds that are sown will produce when they are older. Psalm 78 tells us that these things also pass down to their kids, your grandkids. Generation to generation! Think and do what's important to you, and your kids will do it too, good or bad. Galatians 6:6 says that you reap what you sow.
Dads, how you treat Mom is contagious. Moms, how you treat Dad is contagious. How you both treat spiritual things is contagious too. Being in the local church helps all of the family to grow and mature and send a message to the next generation. As a parent, we are sending a message through our children, into a time we will not see.
The local church is so very important to all of us. Being around those of like faith can spark us to greater things in God. Plug in, be active, and be excited. Church is what we each make it to be individually. Plug in as they did in the book of Acts and let excitement breed excitement. Today is here and now, but the seeds of today will produce tomorrow! Amen.
Prayer: Father, I know that your Word says that a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Being together with a local body of believers, fellowshipping around your Word, building relationships is a source of strength and a faith builder for my life. I choose to make time to be hooked up with my local church family. Amen.