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Why Going to Church Is Important, Part 1

March 26th, 2012 Posted in sermons

Some people claim to be Christians but don’t attend church. But if you really love God, you will love His people and long to be with them.

“Well, I haven’t found a church I like yet, and I work and Sunday is my only day off!” The Bible indeed commands us to go to church, and—even more—to be a functioning part of it.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”

The Bible does not say: Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together unless Sunday is your only day off…or unless you want to run in a triathlon…or unless it’s a great beach day, in which case you are excused, because you just don’t need fellowship as much as other Christians do.

Yes, if you love God, you will love His people and long to be with them. If you don’t really love God, you won’t love His people. Some will say “I’m so over the church; people are critical and judgmental. It’s so full of hypocrites!” My response to that is: There is always room for one more!

Understand, I am not justifying hypocrisy of any kind, but honestly, we have all been hypocritical at times. But that is not a reason to not attend church. The church has its flaws because people are in it. However, Jesus both started and loves the church. He died for it.

Being in fellowship is a proof that you are indeed a child of God. It says in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Not going to church is a proof that something is wrong with you spiritually. We read in 1 John 2:19, “These people left our churches because they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left us, it proved that they do not belong with us.”

Studies show that if you don’t go to church for a month, the odds are almost 2 to 1 that you won’t go for more than a year. Being a vital and active part of the church is something we pass on to our kids. A study once disclosed that

  • If both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful in attendance.
  • If only Dad attends regularly, 55% remain faithful.
  • If only Mom attends regularly, 15% remain faithful.
  • If neither attend regularly, only 6% remain faithful.

What legacy will you leave your kids? Are you committed to demonstrating to them that going to church is important?

More on this next time.

11 Responses to “Why Going to Church Is Important, Part 1”

  1. Raul says:

    Pastor:

    I have been saved and attending church for 13 years. I will admit there are days it is more of a routine than it is a joy to go because I have been hurt quite a few times by people who call me brother. Then I have to go threw the emotional roller coaster ride to forgive them. So how do you love the body of Christ without trusting them?

    The last thing I want to be in church is cold or overly defensive because you never know who you might encounter in church who is genuinely looking for someone who cares about them and there situation there going threw. And you and I both know caring in this way is the effective way to win that person to the lord or if it is a believer to encourage them, by encouraging that Christian you might have saved a sheep that was going to leave the flock.

    Please pray for me pastor

  2. Carrie says:

    I thank God for P. Gregs gifts. He is truely a blessing from above. I used to listen to him on the radio. They have stopped broadcasting now. I’m a Christian woman who loves the Lord and loved to attend services and whorship and praise. Now I’m severely hearing impaired and cannot hear any of the preachers speak in churches here and hard to hear others talking in church with all the noise. Sometimes go to bible study but having had a heart transplant with all the medical problems keeps me away much of the time. My gal friend in Calif. told me about this web. Now, hopefully I can get my spiritual messages here, I’m hoping there is closed caption with the services. I really miss fellowship, and everday look forward to going home to be with Jesus. Carrie

  3. Rick Mercado says:

    It is time for me to make my commitment to the Lord. Going to church would be a great start and it could always use another hypocrite as pastor Laurie stated. I need to be saved and reborn instead of doing it just by lip service and being a good person. My son is going to enist in the Army- so please keep our family in your prayers. Amen.

  4. Dan Horner says:

    So bold to say but so very true. Thanks for challenging all of us.

    I know in my life I’ve found spending regular time with others who are actively living for Jesus has encouraged me to serve and share my faith.

    The Church has also been a constant reminder that salvation is a gift and that I should never, ever forget that it is not earned.

    And more often than not, God works through the Pastor to shine a light on areas of my life that I need to turn over to God’s rule.

    I guess the only danger is when we use “church” just as an excuse to retreat so far from people who don’t know God that our message is ineffective – or worse – we stop caring. That’s the biggest failure because it’s through the Church that God has chosen to spread His message and change the world.

  5. Tina Clutter says:

    Pastor Greg,
    I moved from the Riverside area 6 years ago now to Fresno CA. I think you spoiled me! I have attended some area churches but I have not found the same kindred spirit that I had at Harvest and I compare other pasture to you.
    I still tighe and support Harvest even though I no longer live in the area. You are a dynamic person with so much passion. You are the “real deal” so where can I find that deal here.

    I watch my sunday morning sedvice via internet and always look forward to Harvest Crusade in Anaheim. One of the most life changinging events I can think of was standing in right field at Anaheim stadium.

    How do I search for a new home????

    Tina Clutter

  6. Kevin Davis says:

    @Michael, are you driving similar routes, or is it something new every week? If no route ever repeats, then it’s definitely hard. Do you find other Christian drivers on the road? I’m wondering if you could try to organize a weekly “study” via skype or chat or whatever that you guys could commit to (a group of people) each week. I’m sure there is similar down time for most, so you might be able to build some community that way. This might also be a ministry opportunity for you. Good luck!

  7. Kevin Davis says:

    Hi there…we really enjoyed your sermon on Sunday, and were quite convicted. We live in a small area, in which we seem to have 2 choices, ultra-traditional churches with no young people at all or ultra-seeker friendly (out of balance) churches. Add to that, we’re seeing more and more infighting and all of the “junk” that can happen inside a church when people aren’t following God or the Bible. I’m not saying I’m always right, but this stuff is definitely contrary to what the Bible teaches. So, we’ve had a very hard time finding a church that we feel comfortable in (with our teens especially), and also feel like they have solid Biblical leadership. My wife and I were wondering if this appears to be the case all over, or is it just our area? So many people we’ve talked to have had a hard time finding and keeping a church for the long term, whether they are involved or not (we’ve served in leadership and try hard to do everything we can.) Thanks!

  8. Lori says:

    I’ve been a Christian for 44 years — I no longer attend church, and yet I’m devoted to God and His Word. I study (I don’t mean I read, I don’t mean I do a devotional – I study intensely) every day and I teach a little Bible study to women who are trying to deal with the organized church, but are very disillusioned. These women are younger than I, so they haven’t spent 40 years trying to find even a modicum of true God- seeking within the church. They are frustrated with church “programs” — that is what the institutional church has become; not a place where Christ is the Head, but where man struts his stuff. I was saved in the Jesus Movement; back then the emphasis was on evangelism and apologetics. Now it’s on worship and social programs. Even during the great revivals where thousands were “saved,” there were relatively few who went on to pursue real knowledge of Lord — they ended up in the organization, thinking they were doing what Christians should be doing.
    Michael – find a way to learn to study the Word on your own and learn to listen to the sweet voice of God; He will show you what you should do (maybe He will lead you to a group that meets on a weekday). Nancy – find one or two women or couples to meet with over the Word of God. Many believer’s gather together with just a few families in a ‘home church’– that is more like the Biblical Church than the organized monstrosity that has evolved over the centuries. We are called to focus on Christ, not “the church.” Believers ARE the Church, and when we gather with other believers we do so in a way that allows Christ to be the Head of the body.

  9. Dean B says:

    Dear Pastor Greg

    Thank you for your comments regarding church attendance. I have struggled with this very issue for years in my adult life while raising a family. My heart wants to be in fellowship, but I feel guilty for not attending for so long and for not being a good example for my family. My own father was a Calvary Chapel pastor for many years before passing away suddenly in 1994, so I know better than to forsake the gathering together. Please pray with me that God will restore my family to fellowship.

    In His love, Dean

  10. Michael says:

    I have a problem going to a church because I am an over the road truck driver. I listen to my church who streams their services on-line. I don’t think that is enough. I would like to get rid of this job so that I could go every Sunday. I lose focus because I am not able to fellowship with other believers and when you are alone Satan will attack you because you are alone and weak. That happens to me on a daily basis. There are times I get tired of this job because I’m alone and then I get depressed and that is how I live mostly. I wish I could go to church every Sunday, my depression wouldn’t be there. I enjoy listening to Pastor Greg on the radio he always has a good message and it speaks to my heart. Thanks for reading.

  11. Nancy says:

    I have struggled with this for years now because my husband is Asthmatic and the heavy perfumes worn by the men and women give him attacks. We, as a family, have devotion every night together, pray together and look to God for guidance in our struggles as a family. Do you think the statistics will be the same for our family?

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