Every so often, I hear someone say something to the effect of this: “Why should I go to church? You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”
Now, in one sense they’re right. We aren’t saved because we go to church. It isn’t a work by which we gain the mercy of God. We’re saved only by the grace of God. And this grace is received only through faith in Jesus. However, that being said, someone who truly believes in Jesus will want to go to church. We see several reasons for this in Scripture.
We see a couple of reasons in Hebrews 10:24-25, which says: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.”
We see, first of all, that we’re called to gather together. We’re told that we’re not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some. And we’re told that we’re to do so all the more as we see the day, the day of Christ’s return, approaching. If God desires that we should meet together, why would we refuse him? As people of faith, we naturally desire to live life according to his will.
Yet there’s more to it than this. We find that there are blessings God intends for us to receive through the church. We see in this passage, for example, that we’re to go to church that we might encourage one another.
The Christian life is not designed to be lived alone. It’s designed to be lived in community. And by gathering together, we’re able to stir up one another to love and good works, and to encourage one another in the faith.
We see another reason for going to church in 1 Corinthians 12. In verses 4-7, we read: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” And in verse 12, we’re told: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
We see in these verses that the Spirit of God gives gifts to his people. And he gives them not for our own good, but for the common good. In other words, the gifts that he gives to us are given for the benefit of the church as a whole. For this reason, when we gather with our fellow believers, we’re able to bless them with the gifts God has given us. And, in the same way, we’re able to be blessed by the gifts he’s given to others.
In this chapter, Paul uses the human body to illustrate his point. The body is made up of many parts with many functions. Yet each of these parts, along with their functions, serve the good of the body. And the same is true of the church. We each have a function, we each have a role to play, for the good of the church.
We see another vital reason to attend church in Romans 10:17, where Paul says: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We are drawn to faith through the hearing of the Word. And, although we can read the Word at home, although we can listen to preachers on the internet, TV, and radio, we are exposed to the Word of God primarily in the church. We primarily hear the Word of God in church.
This is far from an exhaustive list of the reasons we should go to church. But it’s a good starting point. If you haven’t been attending church, or if you’ve been very irregular in your attendance, prayerfully consider the Scripture passages mentioned here. And I hope and pray that you will joyfully attend church each week.