Don't Get Your Tinsel In A Tangle
One Christmas Eve my girls got mad because we would be going to church Christmas morning. Christmas had fallen on a Sunday. Why wouldn't we go to church? It was a Sunday. And it was Christmas! Of course, we would be there! I remember the arguing trying to talk me out of it. I told them this was not open for discussion. We were going to church. They did not let up! So....
The next morning when they got up for Santa Claus - because they get up early on Christmas morning - he had left coal! Yep, Sarah and Ivey got coal and a note. The note from Santa simply said he had heard they had been ugly on Christmas Eve and he would give them a second chance. If they went to church - without attitude - he would come back on his way out of town! Of course, he threw up a couple of flatteries for me!
After the initial irritation of having gotten coal for Christmas, there was no attitude in our house! My girls are smart so you would think they learned their lesson but two years later Christmas was on a Sunday. They started on Christmas Eve, "we are going to church tonight, why do we have to go in the morning?" So the next morning when they came down the stairs there was a huge sign (letter) from Santa with coal in a plastic bag and attached to it. After giving me flatteries he told them that if they were going to church then come on down and we would have Santa as soon as we returned. If they were not going to church then here was their coal and no need to come downstairs. We all went to church! We'll see in 2022 if they have learned their lesson!
So why should Christians attend church? The Bible gives us lots of reasons so first of all we attend to be obedient. In the Bible we are a corporate body with many members united by Jesus. Because of this unity we have churches. The church is not a building. It is a gathering of Christians to worship Jesus. 1 Corinthians 12: 27, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
In church we sing. Ephesians 5: 19, "...speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,..." Our singing is our heartfelt praise to God and Jesus for all they have done for us. We are praising them for our salvation! We also pray. 1 Corinthians 14: 16, "Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying?"
Going to church is an expression of our love for God. When we realize how much He has done, is doing and will do for us we WANT to publicly worship Him. To publicly show our faith and trust in God. We WANT to make the sacrifice to get up, get ready and get to church by a certain time. Matthew 10: 32:33, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven." We all praise and thank God at church. Psalm 22: 22, "I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you."
While we go to church to praise God we are blessed by going. It is not about us. But we do reap the benefits. God deserves to be praised with service and devotion. Psalm 134: 2, "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord." For most people, the main reason why they go to church is personal: so they can be blessed. Although there is nothing wrong with this, we must not forget that the primary purpose of this corporal gathering is to actually bring “service” to God as a blessing to Him, because the Lord deserves to be honored with service and devotion. “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Psalm 134:2 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4: 11
We live in a spiritual war and we need all the preaching and teaching of God's Word so that we can wear a spiritual armour for protection. Ephesians 6: 10-11, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Romans 10: 17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Every once in a while we face conflicts that challenges our faith, so it is important that we are spiritually ready to face and overcome these challenges."
Matthew 18: 20, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." When people gather together in His name, the Lord is there! He lives in the heart of every believer.
You will feel His presence. When a gathering is dedicated to God, Jesus is able to touch the hearts of the people that He may not at another time.
Our prayer life is strengthened by going to church. Matthew 18: 19, "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." When we all pray together we are in favor with God.
Church enables us to have relationships with fellow believers. We encourage each other and build each other up. I like the saying, "Church is not something you go to, it is a family we belong to." Church provides us accountability. The more people who gather together to worship and pray, the stronger their faith will be. There will be spiritual blessings on them all!
We know that we are to go to church. If we do not go to church we are rejecting one of our sacred duties. Exodus 20:8, "Remember teh Sabbath day by keeping it holy." James 4: 17, "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." I have heard all the excuses but a favorite is that Christians are hypocrites. Of course we are! You will not find perfect people there. It is a hospital for sinners wanting to get better. Not going to church because of hypocrites is like not going to the gym with out of shape people.
I go to church as an expression of my need for God and for God's family. Are you ready to make this commitment?