Have you ever thought about our motivation behind going to church on Sundays? Why do you go to church?
1 The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.
To be honest, most of us go to church because our parents raised us that way. It feels unnatural–or, at least, a little bit wrong–not to go. At the same time, we may be giving two different signals to the LORD: Going out of duty vs. going out of grateful obedience. Let’s do a little self-analysis and see with what we come up.
Let’s establish a baseline. God commanded the Israelites to go to church. Their church was at the temple, and the men were required to attend three times a year. They had an alternate place of worship in Northern Israel for those who had to travel from the far northern part of Israel, but all men were required to do it. The women and children we encouraged to attend with them. Then, there was the weekly worship at the synagogue.
For those living in Jerusalem, they could go to “church” twice a day for the morning and evening sacrifices. King David made a big deal about going up to worship at the temple as we learn in Psalm 100:
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Jesus shared this passion for worship. He, too, went to the feasts in Jerusalem, and He entered the synagogue in whatever town He was each Sabbath to worship and teach:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. Luke 4:16
Jesus taught His disciples to do the same, but they changed the day of worship to the first day of the week in honor of His resurrection. Not only that, they met each day for a while:
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
God wants us to meet together, as well. He said as much through the writer of Hebrews:
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
So, why do we go to church?
- Because Jesus commanded us to go. We obey out of gratitude!
- Because we as individuals are part of the Bride of Christ. He wants to spend time with His Bride collectively.
- He has much in store for us:
- Perspective through worship
- Fellowship with and encouragement from other believers
- Haverim (the sharing of ideas from a biblical perspective)
- Teaching from the LORD through others
- Ministry (learning to look outside of ourselves)
- Together, we are Christ to the world.
What should we pray for as we go?
- That we have the right heart attitude as we engage the community of brothers and sisters in Christ.
- That we go expecting God to speak to us sometime while we are there.
- That we bless the LORD in word and song. The routine, the music, and the hearing of the public reading of the Word minister to us more than we know.
- That God would move in a mighty way; that His power would be displayed through the salvation of souls; that we would be touched by His Spirit; that people would turn away from sin and turn to Christ (both the lost and the saved), but we must be ready for Him to start with us.
If you are going to church and sitting/standing back and being passive, then you are missing out on why we have church. God ordained this! Do we really think we know better than God? or, that there are better places to be right then? If we want to hear from God (individually and collectively), then we must give Him plenty of opportunities, and we must seek Him where He calls us to be.
There are some who CANNOT go to church right now. I’ll bet that they WANT TO go! We look forward to the day that they get to come back. The rest of us ought to take advantage of getting together–who knows what the future holds?
“Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”
Abba, You know I haven’t always wanted to go to church. But, I have learned through the years that if I want to be regularly obedient to You, then I will go. Thank You for all the times You have spoken to me in services at Falls Creek, my home church at Calvary in Durant, at FBC, Shawnee, while in school, and then at all the churches in which I have served. Now, O LORD, speak to me once again here at Brookwood. Move mightily among our folks. Bring revival to Your church! And let it begin in me. Amen.