“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Last week, we talked about the vital importance of Christian unity – how it is so important to God… and so essential to a true expression of Christianity.
This week, I wanted to touch on this topic that flows out of the proper understanding of Christian unity…
It seems to me that it is increasingly popular to downplay the importance of going to church. I hear more and more voices talking about the thought that church is no longer that relevant to our Christian walk. “It’s okay if you make church a regular part of your Christian life – but it’s also okay if you don’t.”
Somewhere along the way, we’ve missed something. But really, as our verse for the day tells us, it has always been a common struggle. Apparently, even “back in the day,” people struggled to make church a regular practice. But, also apparently, the author of the Hebrew letter, thought that making a regular practice of NOT making church a regular practice was a bad idea!
But why would he feel that way? More importantly (since his instruction found it’s way into authoritative Scripture) God must feel that way, as well.
So why should every Christ-follower make church attendance a regular part of our Christian lives? We will look at those reasons all this week…
We must begin with some essential understandings…
First, The Church is God’s idea. It is what HE had in Mind. It’s what Jesus came to redeem, begin, empower, and authorize… as the Means for doing God’s continuing work in every generation, until He returns.
Second, God may use individuals… but, Scripture declares that, He works with a corporate people. His covenants (except for Abraham) were always with a whole Body of people.
Even the individual covenant with Abraham was to bring about a whole Body of covenant people! Nearly all the promises that God gives to His people are given to the whole group. This tells us that the individual parts are important – but have their utmost significance in the whole.
Third, “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for Her.” (Ephesians 5:25) The object of Jesus’ love was the whole Church. The reason He “gave Himself up” was for the whole Church. His death was to ransom ALL of The Church. As individual believers, we are part of the whole Church – and Jesus loves us each… as part of the Whole. One of the real problems we face is when we make individuality more important than the Whole Body (as we shall see in the days ahead).
Lastly, when the last day comes, and Christ returns, His focus will be upon a whole and united people. The Book of Revelation speaks in terms of all of us Christians together as The Bride of Christ (19:7; 21:2, 9). Jesus is yearning for that day – and on that day there will be a celebration in Heaven that has never seen its equal!
Did you notice that this last thought was on the mind of the writer in admonishing believers to continue with being active in church? When we disconnect from the Body of believers… we tend to disconnect with Jesus – and lose touch with the things that matter most to Him.
And there are just too many warnings, in Scripture, about not being ready for Christ’s eminent appearing. We need to be ready for that day – waiting for that day – and encouraging each other about that day.
To do that we need a heart-felt commitment to be actively involved in what Jesus “gave Himself for.”