June 13, 2021
Before We Meet Again – Church Attendance | Hebrews 10:25
On June 13, 2021, Pastor Eric spoke on the importance of church attendance. This is Part 3 of a series he began on May 30th, titled Before We Meet Again.
In his sermon this week, Pastor Eric explained why we gather with God’s family, why we meet and why God values church attendance.
Every time Christians meet in one place, it moves God’s Kingdom forward.
Here’s what church attendance is not:
It’s not a building.
Many people are not aware that Christians are the church. They mistakenly believe the church is a building. The church is not a building: it’s a group of people, saved by grace, who gather together to worship God. It never refers to a building. Simply attending church does not make us children of God. A church, or the household of God, refers to all believers. Believers are God’s children. We make up the Body of Christ.
John 1:12 says,
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
The Lord accepted us into His family when we accepted Him as our personal Saviour. God dwells among His people. The church is His body. Each believer is a living stone that is part of a spiritual house. We are expected to share the Good News of Salvation with the lost.
When we meet together,
We are not going to see a person.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christians gather together to worship God. We are not going to see the Pastor. People come and go, but God is eternal. If the Pastor leaves, the church must pursue its mission.
When we gather together,
It fulfills a spiritual need.
We should prioritize meeting with other believers on Sunday. If we don’t make meeting together a priority in our lives, it will be replaced by something else. We meet together because it’s fulfilling: It fills a need in our soul. When we gather together to worship the Lord, we are transformed from within. As Don Whitney, professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, said, “There’s an element of worship and Christianity that cannot be experienced in private worship or by watching worship.” We must show up to worship the Lord. Psalm 107:32 says, “Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.” God ministers to and through His church. Some people don’t make time for church or they think they don’t need to attend church services, because they can watch it online. Every believer needs to be part of God’s family. We can’t be solo Christians. Nicky Gumbel, the developer of the Alpha Course, said, “There are two things you can’t do alone: you can’t get married alone, and you can’t be a Christian alone.” The body of believers is one unit, it’s interconnected. If one member is removed, all parts suffer.
Why should we attend church?
To show up for God.
We gather together to praise, worship and serve God, because we know that is His will for us.
To show up for others.
We meet with other believers because everyone is needed. Someone needs your talents and your gifts. The church doesn’t just accept you. It doesn’t just welcome you. It needs you. We are all unique. We are all gifted differently. There are things that the church cannot do. It needs you to do it.
God has given the body of Christ:
- Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14)
- Ministerial gifts (Ephesians 4:11-14)
- Motivational gifts (Romans 12:4-8)
Spiritual gifts – We are told in 1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14, that each believer is given some manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. What is that good? All Christians are given spiritual gifts by God. Their purpose is to build up the church and to edify it. In 1 Corinthians 14:12 we read, “…Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.”
Ministerial gifts – Ephesians 4:11-14 states, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of god and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” These verses show that God gave spiritual leaders as gifts to the church. He gave his people apostles. Apostles today are multifunctional: They are part pastor, part prophet, part teacher and part evangelist. God gave us these spiritual leaders to equip his people and empower them for the service that they are called to do. The church needs to grow in faith, so that it’s not tossed back and forth by the waves of doctrines and trends.
Motivational gifts – Romans 12:4-8 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” We all depend on each other’s work. God gave us each a gift. We did not earn it. What we do with our gift is up to us, but it’s a privilege to serve Him with the gift He has given us.
To show up for ourselves.
In John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” We have a purpose and that purpose is to do the will of God. All Christians have gifts unique to them, whether it’s the gift of teaching, prophecy, ministry, generosity, leadership or compassion. We are to root ourselves in a local church to help the community grow. We can’t do the will of God on our own. Doing the will of God is fulfilling. It’s just as nutritious and fulfilling as food is to our body. It nourishes us. We serve God faithfully with the gifts He’s given us. We are to serve the Lord in our God-given capacity.
To show up for the world/the lost.
The church is the Embassy of Christ. We are Christ’s ambassadors. Ambassadors represent their homeland. An embassy does not follow the laws of the land, but the laws of the land that sent them. The world is not our home, nor our culture. Heaven is. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. We bring the values of God’s kingdom to this world. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Ephesians 3:10 says, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rules and authorities in the heavenly realms.” Jesus gave the church the Great Commission to go out to make disciples of all nations and to be his witnesses. Believers build up the church. We pray together, worship together and serve together for the world to see Christ through us. It starts with God’s people. We have the mandate to communicate His Good News to the world, because it will not find Christ on its own.
Let’s make our gatherings life-changing and God-honouring.