My own post, Don’t say that!, from Wednesday got me thinking…do we use that way of thinking to infiltrate our minds and give us the excuse to miss corporate worship?
Do we lack engagement in the local body because we know that our salvation does not depend on it? Or does it?
I would argue that our salvation does depend on it. So many times we think the gospel is only for non-believers, therefore we don’t need it once we have it. The gospel not only saves you. The gospel sustains you. And this happens in the local church. (Yes, I said local church – that is biblical, the local church is where the body of Christ gathers, just not the building).
Time and time again, I’ve heard the apparent argument made, “I just don’t like going to church. I can sit in my living room and worship God. This is much better.”
I ask, “Can you? Can you sit in your living room and worship God?” Yes, that is true, you can worship God in your living room and should worship God everywhere and in every aspect of your life. But, if you think you can continue being a Christian apart from the local body then you should really question if you are a Christian at all in the first place. You see, being a Christian pushes you to the local church. Why?
1. The local church is where discipleship happens.
You can’t disciple yourself. Discipleship happens by living life together with a group of believers. God ordained the local church as the primary place this takes place. The Christian faith is not a privatized belief, it is a public outworking of Christ in your heart enhanced by involvement with the local body of believers. You will be exhorted and held accountable. Go spend time with Christians. “As iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
2. The local church is where you will be encouraged.
News flash: Being a Christian is hard. I know, surprising? Of course, if it was easy there would be no reason even to be having this discussion. Christians need encouragement, to be built up daily. Being a member of a local body gives you a place to be encouraged so that you can continue along in the marathon set before you.
3. The local church is where you will learn more about the word of God.
In the local church the word of God is being proclaimed. Of course, the prerequisite is that the word is actually being taught. There are many churches where this does not take place. They teach on secular subjects instead of scripture. Be careful to find a local church where the word is being taught faithfully. When you find a local body centered upon the word and the gospel you will learn about Christ deeper and more intimately than you ever will by sitting in your living room by yourself.
Yes, it is true that, as Christians, we are the body of Christ, not the building down the street. However, if that’s where the church meets then go! Go get involved and be discipled! Don’t use the popular way of thinking of today: “I am the church so I don’t need to go to that place over there.” Instead, it is because you are the church gives all the more reason that you go gather together with other believers on a regular basis.
“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.” Hebrews 10:25-26