Why the church matters
“Here we go again…”
“You want to know something about Christians and their churches?” Grandpa asked loudly at the dinner table. As with many Asian family patriarchs, dinner time was the time when he would declare his opinions on any and every topic under the sun to his captive family audience. Of course, nobody would question him or offer any pushback. If you disagreed with him, you sat in silence. If you agreed, you would nod and offer small comments to curry favour with him. Grandpa knows best. No questions asked. I, a seminarian, glanced over at my cousin, a pastor, and we exchanged the “here we go again…” glance. “The church is just trying to take your money.” he explained to a family table of active church members, Grandma included.
Ignoring his warnings of the church when the food arrived, Grandma instructed us all that we were to bow our heads to pray for the food. Grandpa obeyed. She then proceeded to pray boldly, if not somewhat passive aggressively, for her husband’s salvation before we began to eat. While he might be alone in his opinion of the church at the family dinner table, he is definitely not alone away from it. I have heard multitudes of reasons why the church is unnecessary, some even from self-professed Christians, “I don’t need the church, I just need Jesus.” “I don’t need the church to read the Bible or pray.”
In Hebrews 10:23-25 it says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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.”. While there are a multitude of reasons why going to church and meeting with other believers matters, in these verses I am reminded of 4 important ones
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we must “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering”. There is nothing quite like being in church and singing songs of praise to God while hearing other brothers and sisters affirming these truths and singing them with me. If you have ever worshiped in church, you will likely identify with this feeling. It is edifying and healing for the soul. It doesn’t matter how my morning or even week was going up until that point, all of it is washed away as we realign our hearts as a family towards God. It is always a highlight of my week. Additionally, we are taught and learn from the Word together as a family. Our learning happens in community and we experience the Word together. The church helps us hold fast to the confession of our hope.
God created us for relationship. God is a relational God, not only within Himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but also with his creation, us. God reaches out and relates to us just as we are. In turn, we have been created to reflect this relational characteristic of God. We are designed to live in community with other believers. We find this community at church in worship, in Life Groups, and in serving in the Kingdom of God together.
To Good Works
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul reminds us “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”. While we are not saved by good works, we are indeed saved for good works. Within the church, we are able to discover and use our spiritual gifts that God has blessed us with in order to join him in His mission. We do this in partnership with God and with His family of believers.
The Day Draws Near
The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers that they are to encourage each other and not neglect meeting with one another especially in light of Jesus’ return. Meeting together to worship and delight in who God is during our time here on earth is but a foretaste of what is to come in eternity. Then, we will experience and worship our God in unity forever as we meet him face to face.
The church then, is the family of God gathered together to affirm the truth of who God is, to love one another as He first loved us, to serve one another, and to experience a taste of what worshiping God in His eternal temple courts will be like. I love gathering as the church of believers and I look forward to seeing and worshiping our God with you there!