“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a Great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22
This passage found in Hebrews gives every Christian the only true reason we should ever need to attend church. We should come to church (and want to come) because we desire to draw near to God with brothers and sisters who have also experienced His mercy and grace. Notice the author of Hebrews says “since” we can confidently draw near to God in worship, and “since” Christ is our High Priest. Christ’s sacrifice for us, and the salvation He has given us, is the foundation of the Church. He is the cornerstone of our lives as believers. We are free to draw near to God! We won’t be struck dead like the priests in the Old Testament who offered “strange fire” to the Lord (Numbers 3:4). We don’t have to live in fear of God’s wrath, because Jesus satisfied that wrath against sin on the cross.
You may be thinking, “I can draw near to God by myself.” That is true…and every believer should spend time alone worshipping God. But, when you truly draw near to God alone, you will find that you don’t want to be alone in drawing near to God. You will begin to crave Christian community. There is something different about loving and worshipping God together with other believers. There is something wrong with anyone who is part of a family but doesn’t want to be with that family. Likewise, there is something wrong in the heart of a person who says they are a Christian, yet has no desire to be part of a community of believers.
Think about this question: Who is going to heaven? The answer is “the Church.” I don’t mean people who are just members of a local church. I mean people who are a part of the “true” Church, who are part of the Body of Christ, who make up the Bride of Christ. My question is: If you don’t want to be a part of a church, even one day a week, why would you want to be a part of the Church for all eternity? Remember, gathering in worship is God’s idea, not ours. If God thinks it’s important, so should we.
Dear Lord, thank you for the local church and for how you use it to further your kingdom. I pray that you would give me opportunities to get plugged into and to serve with my local church so that I might point those outside the church toward you. In Jesus' name, amen.