In my witnessing to people about our Lord Jesus Christ, it sometimes comes up in conversations, that they believe in the Son of God, and say that they have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord, but feel that gathering with other believers (Church) really isn’t that important. Well, is it important for a Christian to attend church?
Now when I use the reference to “Church”, I am talking about a body of people that are “born again” and are believers in Jesus Christ. It does not make any difference what denomination or "name" that the church may go by, as long as it is a New Testament Church.
Some people mistakenly think that there is an earthly organization that is the one true church. However, the true church is not an organization, not a series of buildings, but the body of true believers. The true church consists of those who are regenerate; that is, it consists of those who are the true Christians. The true church is the cross-section of believers in all churches that adhere to the essential doctrines of Christianity.
Now you might ask yourself, what are the essential doctrines of Christianity? I have reproduced part of the information found on the CARM website that lays out the essential and non-essential Christian doctrines:
Primary Essential Doctrines: Cannot be denied and still be Christian since the scriptures openly declare that to deny them is to bring judgment.
1) Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4).
2) Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:14).
3) Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:1-2; 5:1-4).
4) The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
5) There is only one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8).
Secondary Essential Doctrines: Not explicitly stated in Scripture as essential but they are derivatively necessary.
1) God exists as a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2) Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (nature of incarnation).
Non-Essential Doctrines: Can be believed or not and it does not affect whether or not one is Christian.
1) Predestination, election, limited atonement, and free will
2) Communion every week, monthly, or quarterly, etc.
3) Saturday or Sunday Worship
4) Pre, mid, post tribulation rapture.
5) Premill, Amill, post millenialism, preterism.
6) Continuation or cessation of the charismatic gifts.
7) Baptism for adults or infants.
Therefore, we can see that if a church or denomination would deny that Jesus is God in the flesh, or physically risen from the dead, then it would not be Christian. Furthermore, we could have two different churches that disagree on the non-essentials, but are still Christian since they affirm the essentials.
Now, let us look in the Bible at some scriptures that mention “Church” and see what the Word of God has to say about it:
"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My CHURCH, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16:18)
The church is important to Jesus because He is explaining to Peter that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church as long as it is built upon the Rock (Jesus). The church was important to Jesus.
"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the CHURCH of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Ac 20:28)
In these scriptures, the Apostle Paul is encouraging overseers to shepherd (take care of) the church which Jesus purchased with His own blood. The church was important to Jesus.
To the CHURCH of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. (1 Cor 1:2)
The Apostle Paul addresses the Church in Corinth who are believers and called to be saints. The church was important to Jesus.
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every CHURCH. (1 Cor 4:17)
The Apostle Paul sends Timothy to the Church in Corinth to remind the believers the ways in Christ. Jesus wanted believers to fellowship and study God’s Word together. The church was important to Jesus.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the Churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33)
The Apostle Paul lets the believers in Corinth know that God is not the author of confusion but of peace. Jesus wanted believers to fellowship and study God’s Word together. The church was important to Jesus.
For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the CHURCH; and He is the Savior of the body. (Eph 5:23)
The apostle Paul lets the church know that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. The church was important to Jesus.
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the Churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (Re 22:16)
Jesus loved His church so much that He has sent His angel to testify. And one of these days, our Lord will return and there will be an awesome celebration taking place during the marriage of the Church and Lamb of God.
After studying and meditating on God’s Word, I can only speak for myself, but if my Lord Jesus felt the church was important to His followers, then the church is also important to me!