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Should you go to Church?

Church Topic Night: Is it really that important to go to Church?

In order to start answering this question we must first define the biblical idea of church. What does the bible have to say about Church? Are Christians commanded to go to church?

Read Matthew 16:13-20

The word used for church in this passage is the word, ἐκκλησία, ας, ἡ, meaning an assembly of citizens regularly convened, assembly, congregation, community, of an assembly or company of Christians and (the) church.

This word doesn’t mean a specific building, rather it means a gathering of people or a community. This directly contrasts the word, Temple, which directly pertains to the structural elements of a building.

According to Jesus Christ, in Matthew 16:13-20, this word translated to church directly means the community who gather to worship God–not the temple they gather in. Here, Jesus is giving direct authority to the church.

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven..”

It is clear that the church (God’s people) is a part of God’s plan–God wants to use the church, God wants to build the church and He will build His church.

“Never neglect the means of grace; God may bless us when we are not in His house, but we have the greater reason to hope that He will when we are in communion with His saints.”--Charles H. Spurgeon

Now, if it is important to meet for church the next question must be asked–what is church then? Earlier we looked at the true definition of Church (a group or community of people gathered for christian purposes–under God). But there are so many churches, so many denominations and so many “flavours.” Is it all the church?

The answer is yes and no. Just because a church calls itself a church doesn’t mean they are actually doing what the church is supposed to be doing. Paul is very clear on what the gathering of believers is:

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore [a]it says,

“When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to me”

–Ephesians 4:1-8

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you [c]by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel [d]contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be [e]accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel [f]contrary to what you received, he is to be [g]accursed!”

–Galatians 1:6-9

It is clear that Paul wants the church to be together in unity under the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is warning the church in Galatia to not accept a false gospel–he is telling the church in Ephesus to be unified under “…one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all…”

Therefore if a church is not preaching the gospel of Jesus, if a church is pushing a political agenda or narrative or even mixing that with Christ, if a church is bringing progressive cultural teachings in and making them a gospel then that is no longer a church under the bride of Christ–Paul reiterates that those who preach a false gospel must be accursed.

It is simple: A church is meant for one thing: Worship to the one true God. God of three persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Everything done in God’s community is worship to God. We worship God by obeying Him, preaching the gospel of Jesus every week, participating in communion every week and doing service together on a monthly or weekly basis. God pours into the church and then the church pours out back to God and in service to the community around them.

Church services aren’t supposed to worship our thoughts, our values, our political beliefs, our agendas; rather it is meant to worship God’s values, God’s agenda, God’s commands, etc. This is why it is so important for a church to not accept cultural values to become more relevant or accepting–then we get into false gospel territory where we could be lying to people and also not worshiping God. Church is meant for disciples to be built and to learn how to worship God with their lives.

“A Christian is not meant to be a solitary being.” –Charles Spurgeon

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [o]suitable for him.” –Genesis 2:18

When we have faith in Christ, repent and turn to Him He then saves us from hell. He does the work and forgives us of our sin. BUT–we still keep sinning as we keep living in our sinful bodies, with our sinful nature. We need consistent help! We need to defeat temptation and we cannot mean to do that all on our own. We will fall, we will be tempted and we will make mistakes. If you say that you struggle with sin then you are a hypocrite. We all need Jesus. We all deserve to die and go to hell because of our sin, but God is offering us this free gift of salvation through His grace.

The church does His work because of His power and His grace as the Holy Spirit indwells in us and works through us as a helper. We need to be meeting consistently in a community because it will help us, our churches should be safe places of confession where people can confess sin and not get canceled. We need to be walking alongside of each other under the gospel of Jesus walking in His love, accepting His love and offering His truth and love to other people.

Even Jesus warns His followers that being a christian is not an easy journey, it is not going to be easy, being counter cultural and fully satisfied in the Lord will cause us to suffer persecution, personal trials or even laying down our personal pleasure and wants before Him.

“If the world hates you, [e]you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

John 15:18-20

Look at what Christ says right before this–how do we pick up our cross? By loving one another, by serving one another, just as Christ as loved and served us on the cross and through His resurrection.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

–John 15:12-14

We must BE THE CHURCH. We must MEET TOGETHER. We must WORSHIP GOD TOGETHER. We must not make Church about God and about nothing else.

“Jesus met and ate with tax collectors, sinners and criminals. They were the ones that left changed not Jesus. –Calvin Robinson.

The History of the Church (Brief)

The Age of Catholic Christianity (70–312)

The catholic Christianity, which accepted this truth, spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean world. It confronted the alien ideas of Gnosticism, Marcionism, and Montanism and called a lie a lie by appealing to the apostolic writings and to the orthodox bishops who guarded them. At the same time, Christians faced the persecuting power of Rome and dared to die heroically as martyrs, witnesses to other believers to follow in their train. This seed of martyr’s blood, as Tertullian called it, eventually bore abundant fruit in the conversion of the Empire.

The Age of the Christian Empire (312–590)

The Imperial Age began in 312 when Constantine caught a vision of Christ. Before the fourth century closed, Christianity became the official religion of the sprawling Roman state. A church in the catacombs was one thing, but what does Christianity have to do with palaces?

Under the emperor’s tutelage, the church learned to serve the seats of power by formulating the faith for the masses. Hence the age of great councils. Those Christians who had no yen for palaces headed for the wilderness in search of another way to grace. Revered hermits soon found themselves in the vanguard of a movement, monasticism, the wave of the future.

The Age of the Christian Empire (312–590)

The Imperial Age began in 312 when Constantine caught a vision of Christ. Before the fourth century closed, Christianity became the official religion of the sprawling Roman state. A church in the catacombs was one thing, but what does Christianity have to do with palaces?

Under the emperor’s tutelage, the church learned to serve the seats of power by formulating the faith for the masses. Hence the age of great councils. Those Christians who had no yen for palaces headed for the wilderness in search of another way to grace. Revered hermits soon found themselves in the vanguard of a movement, monasticism, the wave of the future.

The Christian Middle Ages (590–1517)

Most Christians, however, saw the hand of God in the happy wedding of Christian church and Roman state. In the East the marriage continued for a millennium. A mystical piety flourished under the protection of orthodox emperors until 1453 when invading Muslim Turks brought the Byzantine Empire to its final ruin. The fall of Constantinople, however, meant the rise of Moscow, the new capital of Eastern Orthodoxy. In the West it was a different story. After the fifth century, when barbarian Germans and Huns shattered the Empire’s defenses and swept into the eternal city of Rome itself, men turned to Augustine’s City of God for explanations. They found a vision for a new age. We call these centuries “medieval.” People who lived in them considered them “Christian.” Their reasons lie in the role of the pope, who stepped into the ruins of the fallen empire in the West and proceeded to build the medieval church upon Rome’s bygone glory. As the only surviving link with the Roman past, the Church of Rome mobilized Benedictine monks and deployed them as missionary ambassadors to the German people. It took centuries, but the popes, aided by Christian princes, slowly pacified and baptized a continent and called it Christendom, Christian Europe.

Baptized masses, however, meant baptized pagans. By the tenth century spiritual renewal was an obvious necessity. It started in a monastery in central France called Cluny and spread until it reached the papacy itself. The greatest of the reforming popes was Gregory VII. His zealous successors carried the papal office to the zenith of earthly power. No longer the cement of the Roman empire, the church of the twelfth century was itself a kind of empire, a spiritual and earthly kingdom stretching from Ireland to Palestine, from earth to heaven. The crusades and scholastic philosophy were witnesses to this papal sovereignty. Power, however, corrupts. The church gained the world but lost its soul. That, at any rate, is what a steady stream of reformers preached: Waldensees, Franciscans, Albigensees. Amid the strife for earthly power and the evidences of barren religion in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many Christians turned to the Bible for fresh vision and renewal.

The Age of the Reformation (1517–1648)

Reform came with a fury. Martin Luther sounded the trumpet, but hosts of others rallied to the cause. The period we call the Reformation marks the mobilization of Protestantism: Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Anabaptist. By the midsixteenth century the Reformation had shattered the traditional unity of western Europe and had bequeathed to modern times religious pluralism. The Church of Rome resisted this attack upon tradition. She mustered new troops, especially the Society of Jesus. She sent out fresh waves of missionaries to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She waged war in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. But in the end, Christendom slipped into yesteryear. In its place arose the denominational concept of the church, which allowed modern nations to treat the churches as voluntary societies separated from the state.

The Age of Reason and Revival (1648–1789)

Novel schools of thought filled the seventeenth century. None was more powerful than Reason itself. It asked, “Who needs God? Man can make it on his own.” Christians screamed their objections, but the idea spread until secularism filled the public life of western societies. God remained, but only as a matter of personal choice. Christians could no longer appeal to the arm of power to suppress such heresies. So, many of them turned instead to the way of the apostles-prayer and preaching. The result was a series of evangelical revivals: chiefly Pietism, Methodism, and the Great Awakening. By preaching and personal conversions, evangelicals tried to restore God to public life.

The Age of Progress (1789–1914)

The Age of Progress saw Christians of all sorts wage a valiant struggle against the advance of secularism. Out of the evangelical awakenings came new efforts to carry the gospel of Christ to distant lands, and to begin a host of social service ministries in industrialized Europe and North America. From the ramparts of Rome, a defensive papacy fired a barrage of missiles aimed at the modern enemies of the Catholic faith. In spite of Christians’ best efforts, however, Christianity was slowly driven from public life in the Western World. Believers were left with the problem we recognize in our own time: How can Christians exert moral influence in pluralistic and totalitarian societies where Christian assumptions about reality no longer prevail?

The Age of Ideologies (1914–1990)

The depth of the problem was apparent in the Age of Ideologies, when new gods arose to claim the loyalties of secular people. Nazism exalted the state; Communism worshiped the party; and American Democracy revered the individual’s rights. Supposed enlightened, modern nations waged two global wars in an attempt to establish the supremacy of these new deities. When no single ideology prevailed, a cold war of coexistence settled upon the once Christian nations. Through these troubled times the denominations struggled over orthodox and liberal theologies, sought fresh ways to recover a lost unity, and reflected a new hunger for apostolic experiences.

After World War II, vigorous new Christian leadership emerged in the Third World, offering fresh hope for a new day for the old faith. Had missionaries from the neo-pagan nations of Europe and North America succeeded in giving Christianity a stake in the future by carrying the gospel to Africa and Latin America? Only time will tell.

But Christians can hope because faith always reaches beyond earthly circumstances. Its confidence is in a person. And no other person in recorded history has influenced more people in as many conditions over so long a time as Jesus Christ. The shades and tones of his image seem to shift with the needs of people: the Jewish Messiah of the believing remnant, the Wisdom of the Greek apologist, the Cosmic King of the imperial church, the Heavenly Logos of the orthodox councils, the World Ruler of the papal courts, the monastic Model of apostolic poverty, the personal Savior of evangelical revivalists.

Truly, he is a man for all time. In a day when many regard him as irrelevant, a relic of a quickly discarded past, church history provides a quiet testimony that Jesus Christ will not disappear from the scene. His title may change, but his truth endures for all generations.


Source–The temple in the OT (God’s first form of community for His people)

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