Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is Attending Church Important?

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!


Chris Weigand said...

Thanks for the wonderful post. It is well said and supported and brings light on a subject that some Christians question. Thank you again.

Brian Ray Todd said...

Each Believer is given unique gifts by the Holy spirit to be used within the body of Christ for the building up fo each other and the work of ministering to this world through their individual gifts and talents in the power of Christ - the Head. Corporate worship and fellowship is desired by the Lord and benefits the body of saints in abiding obedience and love. Why would we forsake the assembly of the saints? We do what we love.

Psalm 89:7 "God is greatly to be feared (meaning "never desiring to let Him down")in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him."

Lloyd said...

Thank you Chris and Brian for your visits and comments. The point I was trying to make with this post was that every Christian needs the fellowship of other Christians. Like you said Brian, the Lord has given us each spiritual gifts, and these gifts we share with the rest of the body of Christ.

So many times we allow ourselves to build "denominational walls" around us which makes it almost impossible to communicate with other "believers". We allow ourselves to be caught up in a battle of "who is the better Christian" over non-essential Christian doctrines. Jesus commanded us to love one another so the world will know that we are His.

Sonny Davis said...

Great truth here, Lloyd. I am teaching a lesson to the youth in my church today about the need for fellowship, particularly the Church. I will probably draw some of my points from your post.
Have a great day.

Lloyd said...

Thanks Sonny, a lot of believers don't realize the importance of Christian fellowship in warding off Satan's attacks. We need to stick togeather and help one another in our low times and celebrate in our high times in life. May God continue to bless you and your youth ministry.


I read your comments on a couple of blogs I follow and just wanted to stop by and say hi.

Keep up the good work for Christ, Ron

Lloyd said...

Thanks Ron for the visit. I went over to your blog and enjoyed several of your posts. May our Lord continue to be with you. God bless, Lloyd

God's student said...

Hi Lloyd,

A very good read - thank you!

I'll definitely pop in again.

Gregg said...

This is a great topic, the church, or the body of Christ is of utmost importance to Christ and to God. Acts tells us that God purchased the church by blood, so it is very important to him.

I want to suggest to you (humbly) that you revist your assertion that the Trinity and the Virgin birth are secondary essential truths.

The Trinity is involved in redemption or there is no redemption. The Father ordained salvation from eternity past, the Son was the willing sacrifice that appeased the Father, and it is the Holy Spirit that applies the work and benefit of the cross to those who are saved. The Trinity is not mentioned by that name, but you can not read the NT and not see that the Trinity is involved in unity in the redemptive process.

If Christ were not born of a virgin, then scripture itself would be suspect - how then could we trust any of it, if a major piece of the incarnation is not essential; and the work of the Holy Spirit (again the necessity of the Trinity) upon Mary was necessary or Christ would have been born with a sin nature rendering him useless as a propitiatory sacrifce.

These are not secondary essentials. These are truths that serve as the foundation for our redemption. I know you label them as "necessary", but secondary they are not.

Thanks for speaking for the church. It is of extreme importance, both the universal body of believers and the local church. What an unfortunate pity it is that the local church as "screwed up" its symbolization of the universal body of Christ.

Lloyd said...

Gregg, thank you for visiting my blog. I’m really sorry that I didn’t make this clearer regarding the seven essential Christian doctrines. All essential Christian doctrines are equally important when it comes to each other and to the Christian Church.

What you may have been confused about, or I did not make it clear enough, is that “primary” and “secondary” only refers to whether the doctrine can or cannot be supported by the Holy Scriptures.

Primary essential doctrines cannot be denied since the scriptures openly declare that to deny them is to bring judgment. Secondary essential doctrines are not explicitly stated in scripture as essential but they are derivatively necessary.

As you can see, the primary essential doctrines list scriptures to support them, and secondary essential doctrines do not. The “Trinity” and the “Nature of Incarnation” cannot be found in the scriptures. However, there are plenty of scriptures that support the doctrines’ the Trinity and the Nature of Incarnation.

I totally agree with you that the Trinity and Incarnation are extremely important to the “Church”, along with the other essential church doctrines.

You will have to explain to me what you mean by, "the local church as "screwed up" its symbolization of the universal body of Christ." I don't understand what you are talking about.

Thank you again for your visit and comments. God bless, Lloyd