The Church - A Place to Belong
My friend Rick Warren says this about the church. “You are called to belong, not just believe.” He’s right. There is no such thing as a “lone ranger” Christian. If we belong to Christ, we also belong to His church for which he died.
Oh, I know, we can make thousands of excuses for not coming to church and most of those are really excuses…not reasons. I know of only three valid reasons why God’s children cannot attend church. One – sickness (Now, I have seen people go to work sicker than they have been not attending church. Most committed believers in Jesus can’t wait to be worshipping with God’s people regardless of how they feel). Second – work (Yet, I know many committed believers who do everything they can possibly do to make arrangements so they can attend on Sunday. If not, they try to attend on Wednesday. If not, they at least attempt to access the website or pick up a CD of the service.) Third – death. I have heard it said lately, that “being” the church is more important than “going” to church and I would agree except for the fact of how can you “be” the church if you don’t “go” to church? Rick also states that we were created by God to be a part of family, we cannot fulfill God’s purposes alone.
Why do we “go” to church? That’s an interesting question, which brings a host of answers. However, the most important reason we “go” to church is to worship God corporately. Of course, we can worship God individually and privately, but while our faith may be personal, it is never private. We are to be connected to God’s family in worship.
I would be very careful and even suspect anyone who says they are a committed follower of Jesus Christ, but do not attend His church regularly. You cannot continue your disobedience to Jesus and call yourself a committed believer in Him. Jesus loves His church regardless of how sinful it is. After all, if the church were sinless there would have been no reason for Jesus to come and to establish His church. Half-hearted church attenders turn in to half-hearted believers in Jesus if they aren’t already.
Let me ask you this question. If you didn’t get along with someone in your family would you leave the family? No. You work things out. You reconcile. You forgive. You compromise. You do whatever you have to do to make your family work. If a person is not a member of a family, he/she is an orphan.
A pastor went to visit a long-time member who had for some time quit coming to church. As he went into the person’s home, he did not say a word as he entered, but immediately went over to the fire and took one of the coals from the fire and set it on the floor. Several minutes went by and the coal cooled. The church member looked up at the pastor with tears in his eyes and said, “I understand. I will see you in church next Sunday.”
The Scripture says, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together as is the habit of some…” (Hebrews 10:25)
See you, church!