Friday, November 11, 2011

Why go to church?


The trend is for regular attenders to be in church less frequently.  Are you a part of the trend?


Scripture

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
(Psalms 122:1 NASB)
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
(1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB)

Observation

The Psalmist rejoiced in the fact that he could go to Jerusalem and visit the house of God. It was a joyous and blessed occasion when one was privileged to make the journey to Jerusalem to worship God in His holy house. However, over the years the Israelites forgot the real reason for their worship. Little by little they just didn't bother with the pilgrimage. God's house became something God had never intended it to be and God's people took for granted that they would always be protected by Him. While they no longer participated in regular worship of God, they expected God to be there for them whenever they wanted to call on Him. Today the ruins of the great temple in Jerusalem are all that remain because they did not take heed, they no longer went up to the house of the Lord, they no longer worshiped God, and they fell.

Application

I recently sat in a meeting of Pastors who were discussing the changing trends in church attendance in the last five years. The "average" regular attender no longer attends church on a regular basis. The "average" regular attender now visits church 1.8 times a month. I remember the days when people would get an award for perfect attendance and there were those people who hadn't missed a Sunday in years. Yes, society has changed and the heavy work week, coupled with easy mobility has made the weekend the time to visit family, friends, and even just to get away for fun. However, I wonder how much of all this "good" stuff is a ploy of the enemy. If he can get regular church attenders to no longer "go to the house of the LORD" under the pretense of "good" things to do, won't he have won the battle? In the midst of our busyness and decreased attendance at church we have convinced ourselves that it is okay because we are good people, we are followers of Christ, and we are doing good things. But Paul warns us and tells us that when we begin to think that we are okay, be ware -- that we do not fall!

Why do we need to be attending church? Because there is something that happens exponentially when the people of God get together. Aletha Hinthorn recently wrote in a devotional that one horse can pull 9,000 pounds, but two horses hitched together can pull 36,000 pounds. There is a reason that we are invited to be a part of a community of faith, and to participate in corporate worship -- because God knows that it is good for us! It is within the community of faith that God's communal nature found in the holy Trinity is lived out. The Bride of Christ is the Church -- and wouldn't we want to be a part of that community?

Maybe we need to revisit our busyness. Maybe we ought to ask whether the enemy is deceiving us into believing that being away from Church won't hurt us, because we are standing firm. There are major shifts occurring in Christianity in the US today, and we must ask ourselves whether we are being pulled along by those shifts.

Prayer

Lord, please help us to fall in love with your bride, the Church and help us to worship You within that community of faith! Amen.

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