Is it really necessary to go to church? Can’t we just commune with nature and God by taking a walk in the woods? Does the Bible really say we need to go to church?
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IS CHURCH REALLY NECESSARY?
Church: What is it for, and what should we do in it?
Introduction: Church should be a place that you look forward to going to every time the doors are open. For some Christians they look it as a chore to come to church, and even wish they didn’t have to go to church at all. But for those that love the Lord they understand that church is the best place to be. It’s a place where you can:
Come out from the world and come to a place that worships Jesus Christ our Saviour freely. Most places outside of these church walls such as at school, at work, and other people’s houses are off limits nowadays from being able to talk about the Lord let alone worship Him. A place you don’t have to worry about what you are going to see or what you are going to hear.
A place that we can assemble together and exhort, encourage, and lift each other up to keep living for the Lord! (Hebrews 10:25), (Eccl. 4:9-12) The world, the devil, and our flesh are battling against us every second of everyday, 24/7 and 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of our lives we have a spiritual battle that we are fighting and we need a place to come together and encourage each other to stay in the battle!
It’s a spiritual hospital: Just as a hospital is a place of healing for your body, the church is a place of healing spiritually for us (Luke 4:16-20).1) Church is a Necessity in every Christian’s Life According to God: There are many saved Men, Women, and children that believe they don’t need church. They think that they can worship God on their own without a church. Now you should worship God every single day and every opportunity you can whether you are in church or not, but you cannot be right with God if you are not attending a Bible believing church.
Jesus Christ Established the Church and set it up: Are you going to seriously meet God one day and tell Him that you didn’t need church? You’re crazy! (Matthew 16:18) Jesus Christ is the builder of the church, are you really going to not be part of something Jesus Christ desires to build?, (Matthew 18:17) You neglect hearing the church and God will neglect you!
(Ephesians 1:13), (Acts 2:47) God saves most people in church at a church service through preaching
(Acts 11:26) This is the first time the word “Christians” comes up in your Bible and it’s associated with those born again believers that faithfully attended the local church there in the city of Antioch.
Without a Pastor you cannot be perfected for God: (Ephesians 4:11-16)
The Bible is only addressed to those who are attending a good local church: If you are not attending a Bible believing church then most of this Bible is not addressed to you personally from God! (Colossians 4:16), (1st Corinthians 1:2), (2nd Corinthians 1:1), (2nd Corinthians 8:1), (2nd Corinthians 8:23), (Galatians 1:2), (1st Thessalonians 1:1), (2nd Thessalonians 1:1), (Philemon 1:2)
You should love your Church and Desire to come! Do You? Or do you dread it? God doesn’t want you to go to Church just because He expects you to (Psalm 27:4) David wanted to be in the house of God every single day of his life! And today most Christians complain if they have to come just 2 days a week!
Illustration: (Psalm 84:10) There is a Pastor that used to have his neighbor’s cat at his door all the time waiting to come in. He never fully understood why the cat never wanted to be at his master’s home but he thought it may because his master had a little daughter that would torment that cat. In the winter time the cat would be outside his door almost all day every day just waiting for his door to open so that it could come in and visit. When summer came the Pastor thought for sure that the cat would be off doing it’s own thing, and sure enough one day when the weather was nice he opened the door and the cat was not there. But a second later he saw the cat two blocks down the road running at full speed towards the open door. At that moment the Pastor was convicted and thought to himself; “Do you have that same excitement when the doors of the church open up to go in no matter what is going on outside?”. We should all strive to have that excitement to come to church as that cat did.
God expects us to Behave a certain way in Church: (1st Timothy 3:14-15) Now God tells us in the Bible how we should live and act outside of church as well, He tells us how we should behave at school and at work, and around our neighbors, and at the gym, etc… But God places even more emphasis on behaving correctly in Church, because it is the one place that is a beacon of the truth. It is the pillar and ground of the truth and it is a place that should be respected. It is the place where God speaks to our hearts through the preacher that He has placed there. Now there is nothing special about that preacher over anyone else in the congregation other than the fact that he has been called to that office, he is still just like the rest of the congregation.
In Church we can give God a great amount of glory (Ephesians 3:21) Jesus Christ is elevated here, He is lifted up above all else, here in church we humble ourselves and exalt our Saviour! And we do this together. Have you ever heard the saying; “There is strength in numbers”? That’s because it is true, the more of us in one place praising the Lord, the more glory He gets! (Revelation 4:11).
But we have to do things the right way to be able to give Him glory: (1st Corinthians 14:40) God wants everything done decently and in order. So we need to know how to behave ourselves in the house of God, and what things we should do and what things we shouldn’t do to give Him glory. And that is what we will Lord willing be covering the next couple of Wednesdays here at church. I don’t want God to take away our Church! (Revelation 1:20), (Revelation 2:4-5).
What does God Desire and Expect this Church to do?
Imagine owning a business of your own. You tell the employees exactly how you would like it run and give them all of the resources they need to accomplish their task. But you find out that instead of doing what you said, they thought that they would do it the way they felt the most comfortable and the most enjoyable for them. Meanwhile you are getting no profit at all from the business but are actually losing money. But your employees are happy because they are doing everything they want to do and what feels right to them. Would you say; “Oh that’s okay, you keep right on doing what you are doing, and I will be back in another month to check on you, I love you all, you’re all doing such a wonderful job and listening to me and honoring my wishes so well!” Of course you wouldn’t say that! But so many Christians today just have church how they feel it should be done and what makes them feel good rather than doing what God has told them to do. He is the boss! (Ephesians 5:23)
So what does God desire and expect this church to do? (1st Timothy 3:14-15)
A) To Glorify and Magnify Jesus Christ
(Revelation 4:11), (Isaiah 43:5-9) The whole reason you and I were created was to give Jesus Christ Glory and honor and pleasure!, (Ephesians 3:21)
So a Church service needs to give Jesus Christ Glory, Honor, and Pleasure! (Colossians 1:14-18) In all things Jesus Christ should have the “preeminence”
(John 16:13-14) When the Spirit of God shows up in a church service, the Spirit of God never exalts Himself and never speaks of Himself but only glorifies Jesus Christ. So if you are filled with the Holy Spirit and truly worshipping Jesus Christ in Church, then it should all be about Jesus Christ and not about you! (Psalm 115:1) When we sing, when we pray, when we preach, when we talk it should never be to lift ourselves up or for us to get in the spotlight, because then it would be taking away from our Lord! I have been to church services where those that are speaking are all about themselves, and those that are lifting up praises to God in the congregation never mention Christ once but just what they have done (2nd Corinthians 10:17) Our flesh always wants to be glorified, never God.
(Psalms 22:23), (Psalm 72:18), (Psalm 86:12) To give God glory means that you get a glimpse of who Jesus Christ truly is, what He has done, which causes you to be so in awe of Him and so thankful to Him that you cannot think of anything or anyone else other than Him and you become so enveloped with Him and His truth that you cannot think nor speak about anything else. When you do that, such as in a church service, you are giving Him the preeminence and are giving Him glory through you!
B) To Feed it’s Sheep:
(John 21:15-17) Pastors are to feed God’s sheep
(Acts 20:25-32) Feed the Church of God
(1st Peter 2:1-2), (2nd Peter 3:18) Church members are to desire the sincere milk of the word and they may grow thereby, but sadly most desire entertainment, and so most churches are filled with spiritual babies. They are like an adult nursery with cry babies!
Illustration: A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. The letter reads as follows: “I’ve gone to church for 30 years now. In that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time, and the pastors are wasting their time.”
This started a real controversy in the Letters to the Editor column – much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote the following clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time, my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!” Thank God for Spiritual and Physical Nourishment!
Most want Church to be just like the world. They want music that their flesh enjoys such as rock bands and rappers except with Christians lyrics, they want smoke machines and spotlights, they want big giant tv screens that show different angles of the preacher just like their tv shows and movies do so that they don’t get bored. What happened to just preaching the word being good enough!? (2nd Timothy 4:1-7).
C) To Reach the world with the Gospel: It should be done inside and outside the Church building! (Acts 20:20-21)
– (Matthew 28:17-20) The last thing Jesus Christ told His disciples to do before He went up to Heaven was to go into all the world and teach all nations and preach the gospel to them! (Mark 16:15)
– (2nd Peter 3:9)
– Some Great Quotes on reaching the lost from hell:
– “The mission of the church is missions”
– “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”
– “Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” We shouldn’t just sit in church and then do nothing, we should then leave and go on rescue missions to save souls from hell!
– As you leave the church in NY above the door there is a banner that says; You are now entering the mission field” We have a mission to reach those in the field!
Your Church will be what you make it: “This is my church. It is composed of people just like me. It will be friendly if I am. It will do a great work if I work. It will make generous gifts to many causes if I am generous. It will bring others into its fellowship if I bring them. Its seats will be filled if I fill them. It will be a church of loyalty and love, of faith and service. If I who make it what it is, am filled with these, Therefore, with God’s help, I dedicate myself to the task of being all these things I want my church to be.”
– What do you desire your Church to be? Are you helping or are you just sitting back and complaining it’s not everything you want it to be? Is our church not as friendly as you would like? Then why don’t you try and go out of your way and be even more friendly to more people than you have been. Is it not as full as you would like? Then go out and invite people to come to Church and don’t stop! Don’t give up on them, keep inviting them!
Loyalty is not near as important as it used to be. Most will stay with their husband or wife for a while until they have some hardships and find someone that seems better and will no longer be loyal. Most today will be friends until it gets a little rough and then they drop their friends like a bad habit. And even more so, Christians drop their Church if the Preacher says something they don’t like, or they are offended by what another Church member said, or they don’t like the new paint color the Church is being painted. Christians need to find a Church that is following the Lord and that goes strictly by the word of God, and then dig in and stay through the good times and the bad times! In sickness and in health! And hold the fort for He is coming!
Illustration: There was a 100 year old church member who was having his birthday celebration at his church he had faithfully attended since he was a young child. At his birthday celebration, after everyone had cake, ice cream, gave him cards and gifts in the fellowship hall, the entire group of family and friends, numbering over 100 people, were asked to come to the church sanctuary. His great grandson, a young man in his early thirties, had him come to the pulpit. Before most of the church congregation, he was asked the question, in a loud voice, “Great Grandpa, we all know that you can barely hear and you cannot see, so tell us, why do you still go to church every Sunday?” The 100 year old, faithful Christian, answered, ”Because I love Jesus with all my heart, He commanded me to be here and I just want to show everybody whose side I’m on.”
Church -(Nehemiah 8:1-8) A great example of a Church Service!
– When we come to church we need to make sure that we are desiring to hear the word of God. It is easy nowadays with so much entertainment that distracts us, to just show up to church, sit down, and then just expect to be fed. We need to make sure that we are not filled with the junk food of the world so that we are hungry and desiring good food.
– (1st Peter 2:2) “ As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
– (Job 23:12), (Psalm 19:8-11), (Psalm 119:18, 27, 33-38, 160-167), (Proverbs 2:1-9), (Jeremiah 15:16).
– (Isaiah 66:2), (Nehemiah 8:2-3,5) We are to have such a reverence of the word of God that when it is opened and read and preached then we should be attentive that we are doing nothing else.
– Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you are telling them something and you know they are not listening? They were talking intermittently to someone else, or fidgeting with something in their hands, and when you ask them a question they have no idea what you just said? That hurts your feelings and makes you feel like they could care less about you.
Illustration: There is a true story that has been told of Franklin Roosevelt. As a President many time you have to endure long greeting lines at the White House. He complained to some of his closest friends and family that no one really paid any attention to what he said to them as he was shaking their hands. One day, during a reception, he decided to try and experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guest’s responded with phrases like;- “Marvelous!”
– “Keep up the good work!”
– “We are proud of you!”
– “God bless you sir!”It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. When President Roosevelt told him that he had murdered his Grandmother this morning, the ambassador from Bolivia didn’t look shocked at all, he just leaned in close to the President and whispered; “I’m sure she had it coming.”
1) We need to Gather ourselves together as One Man with One Desire; to hear God’s word spoken to us!
Reverence God’s word
2) Follow your Pastor as he follows the Lord:
(Nehemiah 8:1,4,5-6) God has church set up so that a Pastor is the leader of the congregation, just as Ezra here was the man of God that the people came to hear the word of God.
– (1st Corinthians 11:1-2) The church congregation are to follow their Pastor as long as he is following Jesus Christ. Just as a leader leads his army to battle.
– (Hebrews 13:7, 17-18) T he Pastor is to have a certain amount of rule over the congregation, which means you are to follow them. You listen to them and follow their instruction.
– There are many that say; “Well who does he think he is talking to me that way?” Well he is the preacher telling you the truth from the Bible. Most will not submit under a local Pastor, but God has set it up this way.
– (1st Peter 5:1-4) Pastors are to not do it for the money, it’s not a job but a calling! And they are not to lord over the flock (they are no better than anyone in the congregation). Just as a police officer is just another human being just like you and I, except we are to honor and respect the position and authority they possess and obey them.
– No Women Preachers! (1st Corinthians 14:34-35), (1st Timothy 2:11-12), (1st Timothy 3:1-7).(Nehemiah 8:8-12)
– After this congregation heard God’s word, they were weeping because they understood they were not right with God. That is exactly what a church service is for, to bring you under conviction in the areas of your life in which you are not right with God so that you can get them right! That’s why they said to them when they leave to not weep or mourn because they got things right with God before they left the church service!
– (2nd Timothy 4:1-4)You and I are sinful beings, but the devil wants us to think that we have everything all straightened out and that we are holy little angels. (1st Timothy 1:15) “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
– When anyone got a glimpse of the Lord, they always were so convicted of their sinful state that they fell flat on their face before God:
– (Genesis 17:1-3) Abraham did
– (Joshua 5:13-15)
– (Ezekiel 1:28-2:1) Ezekiel did
– (1st Chronicles 21:16) David and the elders of Israel did
– (Revelation 1:13-17) John did
– Now if every great man of God got right with the Lord right away and didn’t wait, then we shouldn’t wait either! (1st John 1:9-10) , (Proverbs 28:13) .
3) You should be convicted often after preaching and make things right with the Lord at the Altar Call: