By Elizabeth Prata
We are saved to serve the church, and by extension, Jesus who is the Head of the Church.
When I was saved I was in my early 40s. I am an introvert, a loner, and by my 4th decade, was set in my ways. I knew instinctively that with salvation comes church. I’d never been a church-goer as an adult, and church-going was easily not part of my life in dark and Godless New England.
I dragged my feet on the issue, and I really didn’t want to go. I thought I could just watch a TV preacher and study the Bible and that would be it.
The Lord’s work in His Bible did its job and convicted me, I started faithfully attending church. I have been faithfully attending ever since.
Sadly, the COVID time of 2020 and the shutdowns, people got the idea that remote churching is OK. Or even that not attending at all is OK. It isn’t.
- We attend church because we love to worship our Savior. If our Christian life is not characterized by joy and gratitude for what Jesus has done for us, then…
- We attend church because we should be accountable to Christian people and they accountable to us,
- We possess spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit that are supposed to work together in the local body by growing the church in union with Christ,
- We attend church to hear the word preached, which transforms our mind into the mind of Christ, helps us repent of sin, and to love Him all the more,
- We attend church to sing praises, hymns, and songs to Him, corporately.
Of course those are just a few of the reasons we attend church. There are many more.
Puritan John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. In a lesson by Derek Thomas, in Puritan: To God’s Glory: Lessons on Puritanism by Joel Beeke and Nicholas J. Thompson and on video in Media Gratiae, Thomas said,
Bunyan was tireless in stressing that the Christian life is not an individualistic one. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian is in the constant company of others. He is shown the way of life through Evangelist, travels with Faithful at his side until Faithful’s martyrdom, and then is accompanied by Hopeful until the end. There are also numerous other characters who assist Christian on his journey. Through this, Bunyan teaches us that the pilgrim journey is to be made in the context of the local church. It is not only the grace of Christ which enables us to persevere but the body of Christ, as Christians encourage and exhort one another in the faith. Bunyan illustrates this beautifully when he writes of Christian and Faithful: “I saw in my dream both of them went on very lovingly together; and they had delightful conversation about all of the things that had happened to them on their pilgrimage.” Pilgrims are not meant to journey alone.
Believe it or not, I’ve had protracted discussions with people who insist that Bible does not command us to go to church. There are people who boast they haven’t seen the inside of a church in over 10 years, yet also insist they are Christian saved by grace.
and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16).
I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one should act in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. (Luke 4:16)
If Jesus modeled faithful attendance, we should follow His example.
so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. (Romans 12:5).
The Christian isn’t a Lone Ranger, he or she is part of something.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18). Jesus is building His church. It needs to have people in the local body… He isn’t building an empty church, or a church of people who aren’t grateful enough to attend worship of His Holy Self. The church is simultaneously global, historical, and local. It isn’t devoid of people.
I liked this short video of Serving in the Local Church by Jonny Ardavanis at For The Gospel. “In this week’s video Jonny Ardavanis communicates 3 reasons why Christians should be serving in the local church!”
I hope this gave you some encouragement to attend a local body. Make sure they are solid with doctrine, test the waters for a while if you need to, but then, COMMIT.