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?
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:
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.
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
B) To Feed it’s Sheep:
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!
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: