Don't Stop Going to Church
Dear Precious Saints of MBC,
I trust you are doing well and looking forward to the Lord's Day. The book of Hebrews is about continuing in the faith because Jesus is better. The writer tells us that Jesus is better than Moses, the angels, Melchizedek and that His sacrifice is better than the Old Testament's system. And because He is better, we should continue in the faith. We should persevere, no matter how difficult.
Under that banner of perseverance you find a very simple command:
"And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works,
not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching."
Contemporary translation? Don't stop going to church. Why? Because wandering from the church leads to wandering from the faith.
Let me suggest three reasons to support this truth:
1. When we leave the church, we stop being reminded.
When we start to neglect going to church, we are stopping the regular rhythm of being reminded of who God is, what He has told us to do, and who we are in light of Him.
CS Lewis knew this and once remarked, "People need to be reminded more than instructed." More times than not when we come to Scripture or gather together with the saints, we aren't there to learn; we are there to remember. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun, but just because it's not new doesn't mean it's at the top of our minds.
2. When we leave the church, we embrace self-reliance.
Part of the reason we go to church is because we need to. We need to because we know we are weak. We know we need other people. And we know that other people need us. This is at least part of the reason behind the biblical metaphor of the body Paul used to describe the church. Can you imagine the pride of a leg thinking (if a leg could do that) that it could just go off and have a sustainable experience without the rest of the body?
Yet, that is exactly what we are doing when we stop going to church. We are saying, "I don't need this. I don't need you. I only need me."And there we find ourselves on the slippery slope of pride, which inevitably leads us not only to neglect the church, but to neglect the authority of God. When there is only me, then I'm the only one I have to obey.
3. When we leave the church, we create a gap.
God made us to live in community. It's in our DNA. When we cut ourselves off from the community of faith, we create a gap, and that gap is going to be filled somehow. With someone. Or something - and that is a dangerous place to be!
I trust that you will make Church a high priority!
See you Sunday!
In the light of His glory and grace,