With the passing away of older generations in the local church, I have mentioned in the past how the local church is slowly starting to fade away as church attendance is dwindling away, aside from the megachurches. Many of those who are of my generation (Millennials), or Gen X, and the younger generations choose not to attend church. Some don’t attend church because they aren’t of faith, while those who may be of faith don’t be they need to attend church. Does one need to attend church? Is going to church important?
Why Going to Church Important
In Hebrews 10:24-25 states, we read, “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.” The writer makes it pretty clear that the believer should not forsake (abandon) assembling (gathering together) with other believers. So, right of the bat, the writer makes it seem pretty important for believers to not miss assembling together.
Now, some believe going to church is important if you desire to be saved. Does going to church mean that you will be saved? In John 3:16, we see that Jesus told Nicodemus that the only way that one can be saved is by faith. By sincere faith, one is born again through the shed blood of Jesus that washes them clean of sin. So, no, just because you go to church every Sunday, and Wednesday for bible study, does not mean that you will be saved. If anything, that simply speaks of going to church out of religion (mechanical routine).
Uplifting through fellowship
So, if you can’t necessarily be saved by just showing up to church, then you may be wondering, why should I go to church?
Let us pay very close attention to the writer stating, “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” Believers should consider each other, and assemble together for the purpose of stirring each other up in good works. In other words, you and I go to church to not only worship together but to fellowship together; church is for exhorting and encouraging each other in the soul!
Now, some of us will think to ourselves, I don’t have to physically be with someone to be uplifted and encouraged. You see, we have our phones and with our phones we feel like we are connected to everybody, or at least those who we desire to be connected to. There are many who are happy to not have to get up and go to a church to worship because they can watch service on their TV, computer, or phone.
Now, I don’t want you to think I am speaking against such worship, after all, you are able to go over this study online and not physically in my presence. However, there truly is something special about being able to assemble together with other believers in fellowship together. During COVID-19 I missed being able to sing hymns and songs together. I missed teaching and preaching to a congregation and I missed the fellowship after church services.
Some of you may not understand this but there truly is a special uplifting of the soul that happens when we are able to gather together for worship and fellowship. I don’t want you to Why is it more uplifting?
In 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (you can read this whole chapter if you wish), Paul speaks about the profiting of sincere believers through the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” He said, “for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”
When we come together as a congregation, those of us that don’t have the gift of sing, can be uplifted in our soul by those who have been blessed with the gift of singing. When we come together as a congregation of sincere believers, those of us who aren’t so confident in our prayers, can be comforted and uplifted through the prayer of those who have been blessed with the gift of public prayer. Those of us who aren’t able to teach or preach, can come to the church and be uplifted in our soul by those who have been blessed with the gifts of preaching and teaching.
Yes, it is true that you can worship in your home by turning on the TV, computer, or phone. However, as Paul said, God has blessed us with His gifts for the profit (uplifting) of all when we assemble together.
Preparing for the day
Let us also pay very close attention to what the writer said about assembling together and exhorting each other. The writer stated that we should also be “exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” There is a day that is coming that we should be assembling together in order to get prepared for. What is this day that we should be coming together to get prepared for?
“The Day” that the writer is speaking of, in this case, speaks to the rapture of the church. I don’t want to confuse “the Day approaching”, in this instance, with the more familiar Day of the Lord which is prophesied about in the prophecy of Isaiah and Amos (Is. 2:5-22; Amos 5:16-27). The Day of the Lord will be a day that the Lord will give His final judgment of sin and cast the sinner away from His presence for eternity.
The sincere believer will not face the judgment of eternal condemnation at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15). As we have learned in the past, the sincere believers will go before the judgment seat of Christ and our works will be tested by fire (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 1 Pet. 1:6-8).
Do you know if your works will be able to endure the fire of the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ when Christ receives His church? The role that the church should play in the lives of believers is a role of guidance and teaching — edification. Again, some of us will think and say to ourselves, pastor, I can prepare in my works all on my own. This is a moment where I will reference scripture from the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes to add more context to my key verse as to why it is important for believers to assemble together.
Proverbs 27:17, states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” This very familiar proverb is a saying that many quote when it comes to finding a good friend. A good friend is one that will hold you accountable in life and not lie to you. A good friend will encourage you to keep growing and improving as a person rather than allow you to settle in complacency.
It is good for believers to be in constant fellowship with each other so that we can help to sharpen each other. For example, when I teach Sunday School, I love to conduct lessons in a manner where those of the congregation are able to join in teaching each other through their gained wisdom and experience. You see, it is good for believers to be able to come together to discuss spiritual matters as this helps us gain understanding while also strengthening and refreshing us in our soul.
In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, scripture affirms the great value in believers coming together. We will see that scripture states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
As I have expressed, the church is there for growth and improvement. Something that I believe the church has gotten away from is the preparation of believers meeting our Savior. Jesus said that we, the church, should be on watch for His return. Why so?
In Jesus’ own words, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matt. 24:42-44).”
This day is a day that should be of great concern for us. Again, in His own words, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only (Matt. 24:36).” Again, someone will say that they don’t need to go to church in order to get ready, but again, do not think lightly of assembling together.
Sunday school lessons and bible studies are great tools for coming together to discuss and understand the sound doctrine of God. Sermons are great tools of encouragement and uplifting souls to keep moving forward. The fellowship we have with each other before and after worship is good for helping to uplift through brotherly love; this is the king of love that can only be experienced in person.
There are three things that should manifest in the church: faith in the Lord, sincere love, and a good conscience; this is what Paul expressed to Timothy in his first letter to the young preacher (1 Tim. 1:5). These three things speak to the results of being in true fellowship with God and each other.
When we do not assemble together, guess what begins to happen? We can lose encouragement to move in faith. The last thing you want to do is lose encouragement and motivation in faith as that would lead you wide open to falling into temptation and being deceived into sin.
Even more is that when we lose fellowship with each other, we lose the togetherness of a close relationship. Honestly, I believe the reason behind so much of the world’s bitterness and hatred today is the fact that we refuse to come together as people. My parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents would always speak of the tightness of communities when they were growing up, but now, look at our communities. With that same thought in mind, we have apathy growing in the church because of the lack of assembling together in worship and fellowship.
Let Us Come Back Together
The writer of the book of Hebrews, encouraged a coming together and not forsaking the assembly; it is a call that I share with all of you today. In Hebrews 10:22, the writer wrote, “ let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” This is a call to move together in obedience to the word of God as we help each other live in repentance and deny the temptation of wickedness.
In Hebrews 10:23, the writer then said, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” What and who is our hope? The hope of all believers should be Christ; our hope is in the Lord and the promise of salvation. Again, this is where we should come together and help motivate each other in a world that is always trying to make us doubt the promise of the heavenly kingdom.
And again, as we see in my key verse, “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Heb. 10:24).” As I said earlier, even though you may love to sing to yourself, you uplift yourself when you are able to bless others with the gift that God has given to you. The gifts that the Lord has given to us is not simply to our own profit but to the profit of others as well.
The early church began in homes, before moving into temples, local churches, and then into mega churches. As I said earlier, I have great concern for the local church as the older generations are passing away and the younger generations aren’t present. I grow even more concerned about this because souls are being lost to the world and to sin because of the lack of faith, love, and fellowship.
I truly believe that every opportunity you have to be able to attend Sunday worship, bible study, or any other service, and you desire to be in attendance, go – be in attendance. You see, there is a reward for the soul when you are able to assemble together with other sincere believers to worship and fellowship together.