Is it IMPORTANT that I go to church?

Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  
While it is common, and in our Southern culture it is even somewhat popular to attend church periodically, is it really that important?  Some make it a weekly practice and have done so for many years!  A cursory glance in virtually any community of this county will prove that churches are esteemed as an important and even an integral part of the fiber and history of Colleton County.  So, with all these buildings and groups gathering on a regular basis, where does the individual fit in?  Is it important that you and your family make church a significant part of your life?  What does God, the Creator and Judge of every living thing have to say about whether or not you go to church? First of all, understand that Church was God’s idea. (Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “…I will build my church…”)   The Bible clearly tells us that the Church began with Jesus Christ and it is His Own. In other words, nobody else owns or controls the Church!  The Church is and ought to be an independent entity, governed by the Bible and Jesus Christ, Himself.  Jesus Christ alone is the Head and Authority of His Church.  According to the Bible, Christ died for the church, and purchased the church with His Own Blood (Acts 20:28 “…the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”)  It was His desire to reconcile sinners to Himself and to provide the Way for man’s Salvation, so Jesus Christ gave Himself to be the Sacrifice for all our sins on the Cross of Calvary.  Through His Death, Burial, and Resurrection (the Gospel) EVERY sinner can be forgiven and saved by the Grace of God.  Salvation is the key to being made a part of the “family of God” and being a part of what God called the Church.  Through the New Testament, the Spirit of God instructs those who have truly been saved to be baptized, to grow in their faith and their walk/relationship with God through regular church attendance (Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”) and (Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”) Simply “going” to church is not in itself the answer though.  God has designed it so that His children would go to church, with the church, and be the church.  While that may sound redundant or confusing, let me explain.  The New Testament says that the Church is the House of God (1 Timothy 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.).  The Bible says that the Church is the people of God who have been saved by the Grace of God (Acts 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.).  This combination of obedient believers gathering at a specific place is important because we gather to hear the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, by God’s Man on a regular basis (1 Corinthians 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.).  The Spirit of God has the liberty to take what is preached and to personally apply it to our everyday life.  Challenging us and changing us by the Power of the Truth, God’s Word! Next, realize that while oftentimes the church may be visualized as a building, church is a gathering!  The church, as the Scripture defines, is the gathering together of those who have been transformed by the Power of Jesus Christ, Who is risen from the dead.  These people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, have been changed from the inside out and now, in obedience to the Bible, gather often for worship and fellowship as they continue to grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.  Because of this truth, it is vitally important that you attend church regularly and that you attend a church that is faithfully fulfilling its role as the “pillar and ground of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).  In other words, church is NOT simply a place to enhance or elaborate political or cultural preferences, it is the place where the Eternal Truth of God’s Word is to be preached and taught without hesitation or reservation!  While politics, policies, and cultural issues WILL be addressed from a Biblical Worldview, the point of the gathering together of the family of God is to hear the preaching of the Word of God, and to go out as obedient doers of the Word and not hearers only.  God’s Word says for those who simply hear and do not apply the Truth of the Bible to their everyday life are only deceiving themselves.  They think that going inside a building called a church and hearing what is sung and said is enough to get them through the rest of the week…not true! God warns us against that kind of thinking.  He tells us that when you hear only and do not obey the Word of God, you are lying to yourself, and worse than that…you are believing your own lie (James 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.). So, now that you know that church is important, and God wants you and your family to go to church, how do you know which one to go to?  History and heritage both have a strong drawing power to cause people to attend this church or that church, but soon they find, in many cases that they are attending a place without the preaching of the Word of God and without the Power of God.  This choice will be easily made and easily ended.  The Bible is the Source for all our answers in life, and this answer is no less obvious in the Word of God.  The Lord clearly instructs us to go to church, and then He defines what it means to be a genuine church.  It is the place where TRUTH, God’s TRUTH, is clearly and consistently preached and practiced.  The New Testament churches not only preached the Bible, but they lived the Bible with obvious power and holiness demonstrated in their daily lives.  Any church that will not preach the Word of God as it is written is not adhering to the basic function of a church and thus cannot be qualified as a church that you and your family should attend.  The church MUST be obeying the Word of God as well.  Why would I want to subject my precious family to a place and be influenced by people who were clearly living in open rebellion and disobedience to the Word of God?  We’ve all seen and known the hypocrites who live in sin all week and then sing in the choir or teach a class on Sunday.  This too must be disqualified as a place fit for my or any family to attend as “church”.  I need a place where the people fulfill the greatest commandments, Love God and Love People.  When they are doing this, there will be no shortage of clear Bible preaching, Christ honoring music and worship, as well as fellowship and discipleship to help me and my family to grow in the Truth of God’s Word.  While there may be plenty of buildings across the county calling themselves “church”, make sure to get your family in one that is Biblically defined and obedient to the Word of God! See you in church!  
Pastor Jones can be reached by email
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