Do I really need to go to church? This is a popular question that i’m sure you have asked either in your head or to someone one else. I have asked the same question and can I be totally honest with the answer?
Well, the answer is …YES!
First lets understand what the church is. The church is not the place that you go to on Sundays or any other day, that is a building. The church is the people of God. It is the people that believe in God through His son Jesus Christ, the body of Christ, believers, saints etc. Anytime you come across the word “church” in the bible, that is what it is referring to. The word ” Church” originally means “an assembly” or “called out ones”.
So if its not a building then why do I need to go to a building? I have ” church ” at home in my bed, I watch pastors all the time on t.v. I don’t have to go anywhere to to have a relationship with Jesus if I already believe in Him.
These are a few of the lies that the enemy plaques all the people of God with to discourage them from meeting together in a specified place. Now, since the enemy has been talking so much , you start talking and ask God this question: “why is he trying so hard to get me to not attend a worship service with a local body of believers?” Ahhh now we’re getting somewhere.
As you read the word of God you will find that God uses the Church to help, speak to, heal, deliver encourage, discipline and correct His people. The Church is God’s choice of tool to build His people up so that His people (believers) can do what they are put on this earth to do. OK ladies, lets get some understanding on the purpose of the church.
What is the purpose of the Church?
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” -Ephesians 4:3-6
1.To keep the unity of the spirit of God (Holy Spirit). Those who have the spirit of God need to be unified which means to be together in full agreement or each one working together to make the whole body of Christ successful in order to fulfill God’s desires.
Think of a human body. Christ refers to Himself as the Head and to His people as the body and one can’t function without the other. Well God also designed it to where we as believers need each other to reach success. Since we are now a member of this body, we cant dismiss the other members of this same body and think that we are going to reach the level that God called us to. The eye needs the ear and the hands need the feet. You may be thinking ” well people live without body parts and function just fine”. It’s true that they may function alright but they are not functioning at the level they could be if those body parts were still intact.
As much as one tries to overcome theses deficiencies there are limitations that will still be present. So in the end, there is nothing we do on our own that ends up being a true success. Businesses need many workers to reach an end goal and the church is no different. Simply put, we need each other in order that the body of Christ be successful in fulfilling God’s overall plan on this earth.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles,the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people (the church) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. -Ephesians 4-11-13
2.To equip or prepare His people for a specified function or service ( YOUR PURPOSE). God has given the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors & teachers as tools to help His people. Whatever purpose He has placed in you to do on this earth, He is going to use the church to help equip and prepare you for it. We can not get around this. So now the real question is: “do I really desire to live out the purpose God has given me?” Many people are living out purposes but that purpose is not the one that God gave them. True success is not money and fame but its doing what God put you here to do and if He says the only way you can truly do this is by the way of the Church then I wouldn’t overlook that.
*******It’s important to be under the covering of a pastor. God gives his people a certain amount of grace (supernatural help) to be able to function in the position He has placed them in and there are certain things that are crucial to your well being that He will only use a pastor/shepherd (those he has chosen) to give to you. For example, you need a spiritual covering, which is most important, someone that is assigned to you in the spirit realm to cover you & protect you from all these wicked forces of evil through prayer! God speaks to the shepherd concerning the flock that’s in his care, not the coworker, brother, sister, momma or friend but by the tool that he specifically put in place to help you. ( Now I am not saying that he wont use all those examples listed to help you but we cant overlook the tools He divinely placed here for us)
In the bible, Jesus refers to us as sheep and we are not called sheep by accident. Sheep are not the smartest animals, dumb I might add. And lets not get it twisted, we as humans make some of the dumbest decisions. We mess up, we get ourselves into ditches and we need someone to help guide and instruct us. Jesus uses his personal shepherd to do that. We can’t get around that!
3.To build up His people. The world and evil have a way of tearing you down. There is no greater feeling then to come to a place full of like minded people to be built back up again through prayer, encouragement, praise, worship & deliverance from sins oppression.
God uses His house or the church to do all of this, to give love, specific encouragement to your needs and specific correction and counsel to your heart, accountability, tangibility in resources that you need to live in this earth, like money, sometimes even a simple hug, clothes, food etc. There are specific blessings in the house of God that you just won’t find anywhere else. ( I have experienced this to be true)
4. To unify His people in the faith in Jesus. There goes that ‘unity’ word again, we cant get around it. With the power of unity, you get things done in an organized ,quick & effective manner. When we come together in our Faith in Him, it’s the faith of His people that gets the job done. We please God through faith so how effective would building the kingdom be if we were to unify more in faith.
James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well (sick meaning weak, don’t always mean sick in body) ; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Our faith does more work TOGETHER than apart!
5.To bring Knowledge of the Son of God. People think they can get the word at home in bed or on t.v. This is true. But you are missing out on things that are specifically in the house of God that is not in your bedroom, like words of prophecy, real teaching and supernatural wisdom from someone more seasoned and more mature then you who has studied the word and can help you better understand the scriptures, becasue simply put we just don’t know it all. We have no problem going to a teacher in school right, so why not the church to obtain the knowledge that really matters. ( now remember, we are to read the word for ourselves everyday, not substituting our own pursuit of God with others, even the pastor, but its the fact that the pastor and other believers are put in place to help give understanding on His word and help bring out things that you never knew or read.)
6. To mature His people. Mature= having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult or spiritual qualities of one who professes to live for Christ. There are many people who say they are Christians but are out here tainting the name of God because of a failure to submit to correction that brings about maturity. He uses the church to help the saints grow and develop into perfection. Nobody has reached this perfection yet and we won’t until Jesus comes back and that’s why we continue to utilize the church.
7.To reach the level of fullness of Christ, or allowing his fullness, all that He is, to be manifest or come to pass in the earth. Everything that Jesus is, He wants it to be made known here on earth. He is going to use the unity of the Church as a tool to do that and being a believer in Him we should want to be a part of this greatness, not isolating self from it. It’s all about making sure that His will and desires be done on earth as it already is in Heaven.
” Then we will no longer be infants,tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” -Ephes 4:14-16
8.To grow us up from infants or immaturity. This goes back to becoming mature in Christ. Being immature (childlike) causes us to be easily led astray, to become doubtful (lack faith) when things come or way, like those not so stable life circumstances. Immaturity will cause us to be easily deceived by fakes with counterfeit gospels or those out there who just want to use and abuse us.
9. To teach us how to speak the truth and do it in love. This is simple enough. We need to be taught the truth and not only speak and share the truth but to learn how to speak the truth in love. Love and truth are the ways to bring an unbeliever to Christ, not judgement, hate, criticism, fear or lies. I learned and am still learning how to do this very thing from my leaders and I love them for it.
10. To grow the WHOLE BODY. This means every member of the body of Christ. That includes you too!! God wants us to be built up in love, teaching us how to live a servants life of self-sacrifice as each member does its part to glorify and uplift the God we serve.
Now, on a personal note, I would not be where I am today if it was not for the Church and I am not just saying that to convince anyone, that’s God’s job, but I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. Have I experienced what we like to call ” Church Hurt”? ABSOLUTELY! And Have I wanted to run, leave the church and never go back becasue of that hurt? ABSOLUTELY!!! But while growing in maturity, I realized that I cant let hurting people cause me to miss out on my purpose in life, my relationship with God and my obedience to His word. When people offend you at work do you quit? What about the grocery store, do you stop going there? Remember that the “church” are people that have not arrived yet, God is working on ALL of us and we cant let offense tear our hearts down. Fight for your heart! We need each other, we need the church!
“He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.” Acts 9:4-5
This is a scripture that is referring to a man named Saul who was persecuting the people of God or The Church. Here Christ says that He is the church. ” Why are you persecuting me?” Was really His question. He is the Head and the church is His body. They are connected, they are one, like a husband ( Christ) and Wife ( Church) are one. And if we reject one of them, then we automatically reject the other. We can’t possibly have Jesus without accepting His church!