Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What is Church and Why Church?

One of the things I learned early on through my theological studies was the importance of being a member of a church. Here are the main reasons why we should 'go to church.'

Being joined together with other believers is important because:
1. It allows you to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
2. It allows you to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
3. You can 'stir one another up to love' (Hebrews 10:24)
4. You can 'stir one another up to good works' (Hebrews 10:24)
5. For accountability, so that you do not fall into sin (Hebrews 3:13)
6. To serve each other (Galatians 5:13)
7. To instruct one another (Romans 15:14)

This is not an exhaustive list, but it's some of the major texts that speak to the believer's obligation to "do church," and what exactly that is.

Incidentally, Hebrews 10:25 directly states that we should "not neglect to meet together." 

So we should seek to be together with other believers when we can. The most common way that this is possible for the typical person is the Sunday meeting. Unless you are serving believers, submitting to authority, giving generously, studying Scripture, and bearing burdens outside of the weekly gathering (unlikely), you're definitely obligated to go. And unless there's not a single church that's not apostate in your area, I would question the motives of someone refusing to go to church, because all the people there are missing out on your contribution/participation.

I can sympathize with frustration that the weekly gathering isn't enough to satisfy the above purposes of church fellowship. But that wouldn't justify abandoning the effort because you feel like you're getting a low return-on-investment. After all, fellowship isn't an instruction based on our perception of its effectiveness, it's a blanket, unconditional command by God. That was what ultimately drove me to attend, despite my introverted personality. I would instead recommend continuing to work to build up the church by participating in the 'standard channels,' but continuing to expand outward -- invite people to your house for Bible studies, be in communication with other believers throughout the week. Do life with each other, so you'll be able to bear each other's burdens. If you're unsatisfied, let that turn to zeal and be used to build up the local body.


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