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    Q: #275. Why do I need to go to church?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: Over the years, I have heard numerous reasons why Christians don't feel they need to go to church: "They are filled with hypocrites," "They are only out for money," "The Bible says Christians ARE the church; I don't need go to a building to worship," "I used to go, but I was hurt," etc... But, the truth is, we NEED to be a part of a local church for many reasons. Yes, all of the above may be true to some degree, but it is foolish to paint ALL people in ALL churches with one broad brush. There are hypocrites in most churches, some churches put too much emphasis on money, there are people in church who hurt other people, but in nearly every church there are far more people trying to follow the Lord's commands, and live out a life of being Christ-like and obeying what God says in the Bible.

     First and foremost, we need to be in church because the Bible tells we should "assemble" in church.

(Heb 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.

     Jesus went to the synagogue (church) regularly as was His custom: (Lk 4:16) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. Paul attended regularly, traveling from church to   church  to teach: (1 Cor 4:17) For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. David talks about the joy of being in God's "house" in (Ps 84:4,10). Can any of us picture Jesus saying, "Ok, I know today is the day people are gathering to worship God, but I think I am going to stay away because some hypocrites, false teachers, false prophets, and people who have hurt me are going to be there." NO! He went to make a change, to be a light, to share the truth. In fact, I think He may well have gone BECAUSE of them.

     Here are some other reasons why we need to be in a local church:

     God set up rules for elders  (1 Pet 5:1-3)(Titus 1:5-9) and deacons (1 Tim 3:8-13), and He  gifted some men to be pastors (Eph 4:11), bishops (1 Tim 3:1-7)(Phil 1:1), and overseers (Acts 20:28). These roles are found in a church. Why would God appoint men to these positions if church was not important?

     Church can be a place for healing. If we are sick, God tells us to have the elders of the church pray over us and anoint us:

(James 5:14-15) Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

     Church can be a place to participate with others in:
The Lord's Supper/Communion: (Lk 22:19)(1 Cor 11:24-25)(1 Cor 10:16)
Tithing: (Mal 3:8-10)(Jesus said tithing was proper in Mt 23:23)
Celebrating Baptism: (Acts 2:38)(Mk 16:16)(Lk 3:3)(Acts 22:16)
Praying For Each Other: (Acts 12:5)(Mt 18:19)(James 5:16)

     Finally, ALL believers have been given a spiritual gift (usually several) from God. He gives us these gifts to bless and help others. In speaking of spiritual gifts in (1 Cor 12)(Rom 12:4-8), Paul compares the "church" or body of Christ (all believers) to an actual human body. In short, what he says is that all parts of the body are equally important and needed for the body to function well. The eye needs the hand, and the head needs the feet (1 Cor 12:21). In other words, all members of the body of Christ NEED each other. Ultimately, this is the main reason why we need to be in church, to "give," not to "get." Of course, most importantly, we should "give" to God of our time, gifts, treasure, worship, etc... However, we also can and should be using these God given gifts to bless and help those in the body of Christ. If each part of the body does what it was created to do, the whole body will function well. If each member of a church does what he/she was created to do, that church and its members will flourish and impact many people.

     Therefore, let us exhort, encourage, heal, teach, give to, show mercy to, pray for, fellowship with, worship with, and share the burdens of others. No one can walk the walk alone for long, especially in these days. The church is the best place to give (and receive) support in the daily walk.

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