Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
A wave of comfort washed over me. The realization that there existed true believers in my home town gave me such peace. This was the sweet knowledge I gained years ago, while visiting the town I was born and raised. I’d never been brave enough to enter the doors of a church after high school. My parents never went. I hid my faith so as to not be ridiculed. How did I find faith then, you ask? God provided the way. He plucked me from public school at just the right time and placed me in a Christian school. There, on chapel days, I discovered my need for the Savior and accepted His great forgiveness and grace.
So being among believers with my childhood accent brought such a new level of comfort. Knowing God’s at work growing His church despite my cowardliness in looking for it, encouraged me. This is reassurance. God will have His faithful believers from every tongue, tribe and nation. (Revelation 7:9) I’d missed out on this kind of fellowship during College. The yearning in my heart existed, but I didn’t know where to start.
God knows we have a tendency to shrink back when not in community with other believers. So He encourages us to meet regularly to encourage one another in the faith. Jesus said we’d go through trials and tribulations while on earth (John 16:33). He told us to love one another, as He designed us to function in community with others in Christ. For we are One in Christ.
In the city my husband and I moved to, our home church is tiny. Even still, it’s family. We are of one mind, loving God and His mission to minister to His Church and the lost.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a large worship gathering. Those leading were Evelation Worship, Hillsong Worship and Casting Crowns. Brooke Frazer by the way, led by the Lord, mentioned that their worship team prays for the attendees. She had the privilege to lead some to Christ, who no doubt, God completely prepared to receive Him. She made sure to implore them to get a Bible and find a Bible-believing church to connect with. “Ask people at a church to give you a Bible. If they didn’t, let me know, and I’ll have a little talk with them.” She read from her notes, and Hebrews 10, where it calls to persevere in faith. Which reminded me of today’s verse. She then knelt down and picked up some confetti that dropped during worship. They were verses from scripture declaring who we are in Christ, as believers. Praise the LORD! We were all mutually encouraged.
So is it necessary to attend church? Long discussion cut short, a church building is just a location where the body of Christ joins together in Christ’s name. It is the gathering of believers that is the true Church — Christ’s body. The purpose of which is to move and work together, sharing and uplifting each other into deeper love, truth and good works. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Around the world, this opportunity is available in different ways. Whether in deeply persecuted nations, groups of 2 or 3 would be the largest possible without rousing suspicion by outsiders. In free nations, believers can come together in a variety of ways. Much exploration of church size can be found in Francis Chan’s book; Letters to the Church. The overall theme reveals it’s not the building of a church that’s important, but the discipleship in fellowship.
I’ve often heard it said, “my church is the outdoors, in nature. That’s where I feel God‘s presence.” It’s not wrong in the sense of general revelation, and personal time with our Creator. I too felt that way when I tried to justify not finding a church. Getting around other believers is a support net which helps us stay focused on our purpose of ambassadors for Christ. It’s a place were spiritually young Christians receive spiritual food through Bible study with others. The spiritually mature are similarly encouraged by shepherding the young in faith and being reminded of their first love.
Perhaps you’ve been burned by a church group of imperfect Christians. If so, I’m sorry on their behalf.
My issue was fear of being judged. Now I know none of us are worthy of salvation. It’s a free gift. Yet, upon trusting in Christ, we are a new creation. He’s making us knew. It’s a process till we see Him face to face, and so we must bear with one another in love.
What is the significance of corporate worship? Following Jesus and enjoying His presence together with other believers. Devoting ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) We stand side by side with spiritual eyes fixed on our King giving a glimpse of heaven, where we get to adore His beauty forever (Psalm 27:4).
There’s a danger corporate church service worship could possibly give a sense of checking the box on worship. Yet God said, true and proper worship is this: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) Doing God’s will is our adoration for Him in action. (James 1:22-25)
LORD, whatever size group we join together, in Your name, may You Yourself dwell in our hearts richly. May our gatherings, prayers and praises be a pleasing aroma to You. We are all part of One body, Your Body. And as You implore in today’s verse, may we meet together often. ~Amen
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Ephesians 4:2, Ephesians 4:11-16, Ephesians 4:29
1 Corinthians 14:26
1 Peter 5:5