“But I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian”
How many times have we heard this over and over from friends and family who refuse to go to church or join a local fellowship?
Unfortunately, this kind of mentality has spread like cancer throughout the last few generations and has permeated our culture. In my experience with this thinking, the thought process behind it is due to the obvious fact that they don’t care at all about going to church because they are not actually Christian and not made alive by the Spirit but are merely religious and or they are blatantly living in habitual sin that has them in its clutches or they are struggling with sin and feel guilty walking into church and showing their face. Whatever the case the common denominator is sin. The reality is that we have all dealt with the temptation to skip church for one sinful reason or another and I don’t want to make it seem that I am judging and pointing fingers when the fact of the matter is we have all been there and still struggle with the flesh and the temptations to break the laws of God.
There are many consequences in refusing to join the local church. When you have no accountability to others who are designed to help you, you will attempt to solve your personal struggles on your own and will eventually fall flat on your face and make things worse. You tend to rely on your own self righteousness that only leads to spiritual despair and moral surrender. What many fail to realize and understand is the vital necessity of going to church and being properly discipled by men God has called and ordained to shepherd believers in their walk of faith. The local assembly is God’s means by which He continues to sanctify his people conforming them to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ. Without this vital fellowship and accountability you will not grow spiritually but rather you will grow cold and shrink in faith.
I understand very clearly the excuses used so one doesn’t have to go to church and I am sympathetic to them. The fact that there are hypocrites and gossipers in the church or the fact that many so called “pastors” are preying on the the members for their money. These complaints falsely assumes that every church on the planet is the same exact way. Another common excuse or argument is that Christians are no longer obligated to keep the sabbath holy because Christ abolished the Ten Commandments on the cross. Despite these problems rampant in the church today it is no justification to break God’s command and law in his word to “keep the sabbath day holy” (Ex. 20:8) and “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”(Heb. 10:25) to worship our Lord and God as one body as one people united in spirit and by the Spirit.
Either you live by your own autonomous law or you live by God’s moral law found only in Holy Scripture. If you claim to be a Christian then you are supposed to love Gods word and his moral laws which are summarized in the Ten Commandments. With all due respect, anyone who tells you or says that the New Testament teaches that Christians are no longer bound by God’s law taught in the commandments, that person has not understood scripture correctly and lacks biblical precision. Ask that person if its ok to murder or commit adultery since we are not bound by those commandments anymore and I am positive they will say that it is not. Then ask them where do we find in scripture where it is prohibited and they should, by then, realize their foolishness and inconsistency. We can’t pick and choose what we want to obey. Scripture is not a buffet table at a Chinese restaurant where we can pick and choose what we like and leave what we do not. Its all or nothing, period.
This is one of the reasons why a few who have claimed to be Christian rappers have recently now claimed to be walking away from Christianity. They are being self absorbed, self righteous and have neglected joining the local assembly of church fellowship. They refused God’s means of growing in grace and faith.
Therefore, all who claim to be Christians, who claim to love the Lord and who claim to love his word must obey God’s command to go and worship him on his day and not to put anything in its place. Scripture clearly teaches and commands us to join a local assembly and submit to the elders and pastors who God has called and ordained to help us grow in faith and righteousness. Find a church that clearly preaches the true gospel who makes it a priority to disciple their members and teaches the truth and sound doctrine and not man-made false doctrine. How? Seek God’s face by praying diligently and asking for wisdom and to strengthen your faith and also ask God to lead you to other believers who will help you to find a true church. There is nothing like worshiping the Lord with like minded people and growing in grace together as one body of Jesus Christ. Selah
“Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8
“25 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” Hebrews 10:25