Week 4: The Gathering
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Now the question is…Do you really need to attend church regularly to deepen your relationship with Jesus? Some say that they don’t need church. They can catch any message online pretty much anytime. They can listen to worship music on iTunes. They can meet with God at the beach or all of the above. So why church? Is it necessary to make church attendance a regular part of your walk with Jesus?
The bible answers that question with a resounding YES! To be clear, the church is not a building. The church is not a place. The church is a “movement.” The word in the bible translated “church” is ecclesia. It means a gathering of called out ones - a movement. People on purpose. Jesus says its vital to be a part of one of these “ecclessias” for your relationship with Him. Why? Here are just a few of the many reasons:
- It’s not about you! In our hyper-individualistic society, we often make everything all about us, even our faith. When we are a part of a regular gathering of the saints to worship and make much of God, it’s a weekly reminder that the entire world doesn’t revolved around our lives. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of God’s greater movement in this world. It’s an opportunity to celebrate what God is doing in other’s lives through baptisms or life change stories. It’s an opportunity to meet with the Lord without you being in charge of the agenda. And that is a really good thing especially if you call yourself a Jesus follower.
- It’s a unique opportunity to experience what I would call the “special presence of God.” While I don’t want to try and overstate this, there is something unique about God’s presence among His people as we fix the attention of their hearts upon Him. While it is true that God is Omnipresent (He is in all places at all times) and He is Everpresent (dwelling in the hearts of every believer), the Spirit of God also dwells among His people as they worship. To miss gathering as a church is to miss out on this opportunity to experience the presence of God while in the presence of your faith family.
- Gathering for worship weekly allows us to “one another” one another. There are 59 “one anothers” in the new testament. These are 59 commands of how Christians are supposed to treat their Christian brothers and sisters. Now while this behavior isn’t limited to weekend services, it is one of the best opportunities to love one another and greet one another and outdo one another in honor, etc. And if you never gather with one another how can you possibly be one another to one another.
- This passage we read from Hebrews says one of the primary reasons to not give up on gathering is that we may “encourage” one another. This word encourage isn’t used the way we use it. It doesn’t mean “way to go” or “good job.” It literally means to “spur” or “warn” or “challenge.” Sometimes going to church is like going to the gym with a personal trainer. The people there help push you much farther than you would ever push yourself.
So…with all of that said…we’ll see you this Sunday morning, or afternoon, or Sunday evening, or Thursday night…seriously…we have plenty of options. And we will see you at church…and again…that doesn’t mean a facility or a building, but we will see you at the gathering of the saints to fix our eyes on Jesus as we deepen our relationship with Him.