Why Do You Go To Church?
Typical Reasons Given For Going to Church
I have spoken to quite a few people on this topic, and I have received just as many different answers to the question. Many have said that they attend a particular church, because their parents and grandparents and even their great grandparents attended the same church - it's a family church.
Others have said that their favorite church has wonderful music. A choir or even an orchestra perhaps. Some say they attend this or that church because it is just so lively (maybe they mean it keeps them awake?). I have seen churches that tend to focus more on the activities than they do on the Bible. I have seen churches that have "Hawaiian night," "sports night," even "dance night" and a myriad of other themed 'nights.' It's odd, however, that I have never seen a "Jesus night," or a "Bible night" in the same sense.
But I digress - some people have told me that they attend because the church is close to their home, or it has wonderful baby-sitting services. Others attend because their friends do, and it's a wonderful day of fellowship and an opportunity to 'catch-up' and socialize after a busy week at work.
Still, some will admit to only going to church twice a year, religiously even (pardon the pun) on Easter and Christmas. Although there is a growing number of people in this category, it still escapes me as to what they hope to accomplish or why they even bother going. Do they think that going to church is going to 'save' them? Do they not understanding that even going to church 7 days a week isn't going to save them? the only thing that saves is Jesus and we find Him in His Word - the bible.
What Is Church Really About?
Friends, the above mentioned reasons, in and of themselves, are not bad reasons for attending any church. In fact, on the surface, they sound quite reasonable and justified.
Nonetheless, taking a look at the bigger picture - the one that includes, Jesus, salvation and the Bible - it becomes quite clear that the aforementioned reasons begin to look somewhat more and more trivial.
What I mean is this, the whole 'church thing' should be about... well, the church! It should be about what goes on in the sanctuary more than what goes on in the foyer. It should be about what goes on in the pews, more than what goes on at potluck. More specifically, it should be about learning about Jesus, and the Bible. It should be about finding the Truth. Christian, it should be about 'your' personal relationship with Jesus. The blessings of such a relationship are paramount. And, what about salvation? What about redemption? How about justification, or sanctification for that matter? Do these not sound like important Bible matters that we should know about? One's sins can literally cost one his/her life, because if you don't have eternal life in Christ, then you have eternal death. Thus it becomes a matter of life or death in the most literal sense. Selah.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
The Only Reason to Attend Church
Friends, may I submit to you, that the only reason any serious Christian should go to church.... is for the 'message?' That is to say, what are they preaching? Are they talking about Jesus? Are they teaching how we can be better Christians for Christ? And while we're at it, what is the 'mission' of the church? What are the fruits of it's labors? ( Mat. 7:16).
Seriously folks, I know churches where very few, if any, of the members actually bring a Bible!! I know other churches, where the Bible is preached, but yet nothing is learned. So many denominations are content to have 'pew-warmers' who are Bible-illiterate. Yet Paul bids us to be "like the Bereans." In Acts 17:11, he emphatically advises that we not only receive "the word with all readiness of mind," but more importantly, that we should search "the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." He is telling us that we should not be satisfied being spoon-fed from the pulpit, but rather that we should take what we have heard and find it in the bible 'ourselves' to make sure that what the preacher is preaching is actually so.
If you have read a few of my Hubs, you can see why this is so important. There are so many doctrines being preached, very popular doctrines indeed, that just can not be found in the Bible. Eternal Hell, Secret Rapture, "once-saved, always-saved", and an immortal soul, just to name a few.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
As previously stated, the reasons people give for going to church that I have mentioned above are all good reasons. They do indeed make sense. However, are any of them, or all of them together a viable trade-off for something as crucial as salvation? Considering that it could mean the difference between life and death, this should be worth an honest and sincere consideration. The things that are being preached from 'your' pulpit, by 'your' Pastor - can 'you' prove them out from the Bible?
Blessings and Love.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)