Must I go to church?

Must I go to church?

We were created by God to worship Him and to enjoy fellowship, first, with Him, and then with each other. Even in the earthly paradise called Eden, God said it was not good for man to be alone. How much more must we need each other in this fallen, evil world? Many today, in our culture of self-absorption, feel that “church” doesn’t live up their perceived needs or expectations. We often hear, “I don’t need a building, or other people. I just need to be alone with God.” But the very root word of church, ecclesia, means those who are called out of the world to worship God as His “chosen people.”

The true Church is not a building, but is called in the New Testament the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head and God’s redeemed children as hands, feet, eyes, etc. This is the Church worldwide, through all the ages. No body functions at its best without all of its parts; therefore, every Christian is an essential part of the Church, and believers are expected to gather together in local groups wherever they live, and to bring at least some of that gathering to the sick or infirm so that they too can participate in corporate worship.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” Hebrews 10:24-25

Members give and receive teaching and practical help, especially to the needy and the poor. We bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), including loving accountability to each other in matters of behaviour and attitude. Matthew 18:15-17 indicates to us how seriously Jesus takes our obedience to local church authority.

From the earliest meetings of believers, recorded in the Book of Acts and the pastoral letters of the New Testament, there were problems of discipline, personal squabbles, infighting over questions of doctrine—everything we see in churches today. Nevertheless, the fact is that Christ loves His Church. If we belong to Him, we cannot reject or ignore the Body of His redeemed for whom He died, but must give ourselves to building it up, wherever God has placed us in local fellowship. If we love Him, we will be eager to obey Him:

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” Hebrews 13:15-16

6 comments have been left.

  • Francine left comment on October 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    The word and news about Christ should be spread to the world in various ways and forms. The church of the New Testament fought over who should hear God’s words, but in the end they realize that God accepts people and wants everyone to know about His love and Christ’s sacrifice. Keep on spreading the word. There are people who must know Jesus the Way, the Truth, and Life.

  • Joe Bigliogo left comment on April 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Go to church if you want but never impose it on others. People must be free to believe as they choose. Forcing religion on others is inexcusable. Freedom of religion is fundamental to human rights and dignity.

    BSBS Comment: Joe, no one is imposing anything on anyone. You are correct on all counts. If when you say, “Forcing religion on others is inexcusable.” you mean that Bus Stop Bible Studies should not be allowed to post its material on public transit, then you are simply contradicting you latter statement which has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Dmitry left comment on June 18, 2010 at 10:29 am

    In other words instead of going to church, get your congregation to to spend their Sunday mornings volunteering at a homeless shelter.

    BSBS Comment: Jesus is our example and He did not neglect spending time in the House of God. Here is a list of God’s ‘best practices‘: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

  • Dmitry left comment on June 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    You are right, Peter was the one who thought that Christianity was for Jews only, not Paul.
    As for spending money on bus adds, I am sure Jesus would not approve. Spreading the word is an essential part of Christian faith, but spending money (which by the way could have helped the poor, needy and hungry) on making people scared of hell, promoting creationism and opposing abortions (and possibly contraceptives) is not what Jesus preached. There is no benefit for us in what you are doing, everyone has heard of Christ; everyone knows where to find out about Christ (bible). Why direct your funds towards expensive bus advertisements, when there are thousands in need of resources in this city.
    We as Christians have already made a lot of mistakes. We launched the crusades, inquisition, put Galileo on trail, caused countless wars, built lavish churches, etc. (the list can get a way too long). In my heart I know that none of these things would be approved by Jesus.
    Lets show the world what Christs message was really about. Lets stop spending money on promoting ourselves and our fundamentalist agenda. Lets direct ALL of our resources towards helping others with things they need (like shelter, food and funding for education). These are the things our savior would be proud of.

    BSBS Response: Let me assure you of Jesus’ approval. From the outset, the ‘fleece’ before God was that this ministry would only move forward according to the monies He provided through his people. God has provided beyond our wildest expectations and in ways that have only affirmed our faith.

    Your statement, “There is no benefit for us in what you are doing, everyone has heard of Christ; everyone knows where to find out about Christ (bible).” could not be further from the truth. Just a few weeks ago I chatted with a (white) university student who, when I mentioned a quote from the Bible, asked “Is that a book?” For many their very first exposure to the living Word of God will be through a Bus Stop Bible Study. As Jesus said in response to a criticism of where someone’s generosity was placed, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could…” Before you look into your heart – look into God’s Word.

  • Dmitry left comment on June 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Apostle Paul is not much for credibility, he thought that Christ’s message was intended for Jews only. If he saw your churches, he would flip in his grave. It’s a perversion of Jesus’ words to build lavish churches and collect money in the name of god. God is everywhere and so are other people. You want to spend time with either one you don’t need an organization which spends your money on bus adds.

    BSBS Comment: We would challenge you to study the Scriptures in detail. In doing so you would find that the Apostle Paul was one of the greatest teachers of his time and called to be an apostle by Christ himself.

    As to why we spend our money on bus ads, it is intended for your benefit. In fact the motivation for the ministry is Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture.” Thankfully, there are many who are in agreement.

  • Jenny left comment on April 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    But where in the Bible does it say this: “and believers are expected to gather together in local groups wherever they live”?

    BSBS Comment: As noted above the Apostle Paul instructed, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” Hebrews 10:24-25

    We meet together in local groups (church communities) to celebrate the Lord’s Supper (as Jesus himself instructed), to worship God, to learn from His Word, to encourage one another and for the simple joy of fellowship.

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