I was recently asked what I would say to someone who is a Christian, on a local church roll and yet habitually misses or never attends.
Well, that is good question.
I would tell them that they need to go to church and then I would try to explain from Scripture why.
First, I would like to say that there are no pat answers, quips, or proof texts that will work on every heart. The Bible is a great scalpel for heart surgery, but it is sorry club for beating people up.
Next, please, note that I am not speaking about those who are homebound or are otherwise truly providentially hindered from attending.
Also, if you have issues with pure biblical truth, you may want to stop reading this post now. But, to equip folks to be able to adequately answer the question of "Why attend church?" I offer the following:
Hebrews 10:25 gives the command to attend church in no uncertain terms... "not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25)
Jesus taught that what God expects is time, talent, and treasures. If you treasure something you will be near it. He said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:34)
"On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save to the extent that he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come." (1 Corinthians 16:2)
God's importance in our lives is not only stressed but commanded. God commanded His people "Remember to dedicate the Sabbath day:" (Exodus 20:8).
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. "Therefore the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."" (Mark 2:28).
Jesus gave us an example to follow in that He was regularly found in the House of God during His earthly walk. "He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read." (Luke 4:16).
Look at these commands:
We are to encourage one another. "Therefore encourage one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
We are comfort one another. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2Corinthians 1:3-4)
We are bear one another's burdens. "Carry one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
We cannot be faithful to these instructions when we set our hearts on saying that we can fulfill our relationship to Jesus apart from His church.
Furthermore, you will not be useful to the Kingdom of God if you are unwilling to use your spiritual gifts in God's church. "But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each one as He wills. For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body--so also is Christ." (1Corinthians 12:11-12) ...Christ's body is the church.
We are also commanded to go. Can we teach people to observe the things God has commanded if we are unwilling to submit to His Lordship ourselves?
"Then Jesus came near and said to them, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."" (Matthew 28:18-20)
Can a believer afford to lose all the benefits and rewards that come from obeying the inspired command of Scripture not to stop meeting together with fellow believers? Can one consider themselves a righteous person in light of the teachings of Scripture and not be in regular attendance at church?
Remember that God responds to the persistent intercessory prayer of a righteous person. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful." (James 5:16)
I would like to remind you of is this:
I have heard some say that they and God have their own thing going that allows them to skip church. This is what God says about that...
"So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. First of all, you should know this: no prophecy of Scripture comes from one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:19-21) "Prophecy" in that verse is not telling the future, but the proclamation of the inspired, infallible, inerrant Scripture. The Bible also states, "Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, "Antichrist is coming," even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us." (1 John 2:18-19)
And the last thing you need to see is this:
"Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer. Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, |his speech should be| like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, |his service should be| from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:7-11)
The Scriptures clearly teach that church attendance is and should be expected.
Based on what the Bible says, you will be in church or you will be telling God and the world, "I do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible because I do not believe that the Bible is true because I do not believe what it says!"
That is what you proclaim by continually skipping church.
I know that this may seem a little harsh to some people, but the love of Christ compels me to proclaim the truth of God's Word.
Go to church this Sunday!