If you ask the average “I’ve been saved all my life” “Christian,” who doesn’t attend church on any days other than Easter and Christmas, they’ll most likely tell you something like, “I don’t NEED to go to church to be a Christian.”
The true answer is: No…a believer does not NEED to go to church to be a Christian. Going to church has absolutely nothing to do with one’s salvation status. However, Jesus made it clear that we are slaves to either Sin, or slaves to Him. A Christian who is truly Born Again will have a desire to use their God given gifts and talents to serve the Lord’s church; the local body of believers. How do we love Christ? We love Him by loving and serving His blood bought bride, the church.
Paul insisted that Christians continue to attend and serve their church…
STIR UP ONE ANOTHER
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Therefore, one who professes that they have come to Christ (meaning, they’ve placed their faith in Christ alone for forgiveness of sin because of HIS meritorious work on the cross, and trusted in Him as their only hope of salvation) but willfully rejects the call to “not forsake the assembly,” is either living in sin and disobedience, or has never truly had their heart transformed. If you have been saved and are living rightly with God; walking in the Spirit, you will have an inescapable desire to serve the church.
Admittedly, the average evangelical church in America today, looks more like a corporation than anything like what is described in the New Testament. More often than not, church leaders bear a closer resemblance to CEOs rather than to humble, compassionate, wise, and tender shepherds. Elder meetings look more like P and L meetings, where the “bottom line” is the main focus and sadly, the “Good News” is often overshadowed by success oriented programs and the rockstar Pastor plugging his new book he wrote that is available out in the foyer.
All of this results in churches that are nothing more than entertainment centers where the people may be drawn in by the dog and pony show put together on Sundays, but once there, the true believers find no real sustenance. This was never God’s intention for His church.
GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR THE CHURCH
When Jesus began to build His church, 3,000 believers were added in one day. (Acts 2:41).
It began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled 120 believers who had gathered for a prayer meeting. These men and women didn’t have a book on “10 Steps To A Successful Church Plant,” or “5 Ways To Get People In The Door,” they didn’t even have the New Testament yet! So how did this happen? No youtube clips on shutting the mouths of lions, no free eBooks to guide the leadership, and no podcasts from other pastors. Why did this church grow?
Acts 2:42 – and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Those are the vital elements that make up the actual function and life of the church.
- A CHURCH is made up of Believers: Non-Believers don’t have the spirit and therefore cannot worship God nor contend with the flesh or engage in spiritual battle…they simply succumb to temptation.
- They devoted themselves to the “Apostle’s teaching” — you can’t live out what you don’t know or do not understand. That’s why Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
- Breaking Bread – communion. – We eat and drink in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice; His love for us that took Him to the cross. This is the most appropriate symbol of our fellowship.
- “continually devoted themselves to prayer.” – Prayer is the most neglected weapon in the Christian’s spiritual arsenal.
You want the point? The meat? What happens when a true body of believers sits under biblical teaching, in active spiritual fellowship, and in constant prayer?
Acts 2:43 – Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe ; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
You want your church to be the best one FOR the community? Then your church ought to be able to instill awe IN your community. If there isn’t anything divinely AWEsome going on there, then it’s definitely time for a prayer meeting. Shut the doors, every knee hits the floor, and no one comes out until every soul in the room is shaken.
When the church follows God’s design, He will do miraculous and powerful things in individual lives before a watching world.