Let me show my hand – I really want you to be in a local church on Sunday.
I know it’s a controversial topic at the moment, but I think there’s a BIG problem underlying all of the online church…
We’ve started to view the gathering of the local church as a convenience at best. It’s more than that. It’s a necessity for the Christian.
I want to give you 5 solid reasons your butt should be in a pew on Sunday.
1. The Bible Commands Gathering
The reason why we have church at all is that the Bible commands us to gather together.
You’ve probably heard this verse before, but I’d encourage you to consider the authority of God’s word as you read this.
And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25
Neglecting to gather together is not a trivial matter – it’s a sinful act.
2. Your Soul Needs Corporate Worship
If God commands us to gather together, it’s because God knows best.
We often don’t realize every way that God works in our souls through corporate worship. Humans were always dependent creatures. And the Christian life is dangerous to live alone.
Notice in the Hebrews passage quoted above that rather than neglecting to gather, we should encourage one another.
We need the encouragement of the local church, the leadership that God has placed in the local church, and the fellowship in the local church
We need to have our sins called out.
We need to see one another worship God.
In essence, corporate worship is necessary because it reminds our souls of who God is and what he is done.
Apart from it, we are very prone to forget.
3. You Need the Preaching of the Word of God
The Word of God is powerful.
The Bible establishes the strong precedent of reading and expositing the Bible in the gathering of the local church.
It’s true that our spiritual health is heavily dependent on our ability to read, apply, and love scripture on our own.
But the preaching of the Word in the gathering is where we learn to do that.
It’s the feast our souls need, and it sets the congregation up to be praying and studying together.
4. You Need the Sacraments
In the gathering of the local church, we see at least three sacraments we absolutely need that I want to highlight.
First, we need communion.
Taking the bread and wine together is not a suggestion. Jesus commanded it.
It is in this act that we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. It is a necessary means of celebrating the Passion of Christ. And we can not forsake it.
Second, we need baptism.
Baptism is where Christians publicly proclaim their repentance and faith in Christ. Our new life is symbolized in this sacrament.
And it is also a command. It’s non-optional for the believer.
When we are not meeting, the opportunity doesn’t exist very well to publicly and faithfully baptize those that God has saved.
Third, we need the gifts of the Spirit.
God gives gifts to his people for the good of the church.
I think we can so often miss that point. If you’ve been given a gift from the Holy Spirit, it is likely not for you.
The local church needs the gifts of one another, whether it is teaching or tongues or anything in between. We have all been gifted for the good of the church.
When we neglect to gather, we lose most of the opportunities to use the gifts that God has given his people.
5. The Church Needs You
Not only do you need the church, but the church needs you.
All people have been gifted by the Spirit for the good of the church, even you.
I’m afraid we have resigned to being passive observers of the celebration rather than being active participants.
The saints of your church need your encouragement.
They need you to use your gifts that God has given you. After all, God has given them to you for a reason.
Loving Your Neighbor
I have also heard some saying that gathering together is unloving.
Their idea is that our primary responsibility is to love one another and our secondary responsibility is to gather together.
I have two large issues with this.
First, it is unloving to neglect the gathering. I believe that many who say this have it backward.
It is a common sinful proclivity for us to think that we know what is loving better than God.
Those who say that it is unloving to gather together are greatly underestimating the importance of the local church on the health of a person’s soul.
Second, we can’t set God’s commands against each other.
It’s not as if God gives contradictory commands. In fact, all of God’s commands fit within the command to love our neighbor.
Therefore, it doesn’t make logical or biblical sense to call it unloving when Christians gather together. The word of God tells you that you need the church a lot more than you think you do.
Only One Caveat
There is only one caveat that I will offer to this post.
If you have been actively participating in a local church that is not currently meeting, I would recommend that you not leave that local church.
I’m not trying to advise you to leave your church for one that is meeting. I’m trying to encourage you to attend church if it’s possible.
Faithfulness to a local church is also important. Submission to godly leadership in your local church is a biblical command.
But if you’re a Christian reading this and your church is meeting, please be there on Sunday.