"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25
For the past 4-5 weeks I've been skipping out on church Sunday mornings. Lately, I've been making a habit of not going to bed on time due to staying up so late at night. I'm a night owl, so I like to get things done while it's dark. By the time I wake up, it's already noon. Well, last Sunday I woke up just before 9:30 am. That's the time I usually attend Sunday's class. But instead of rushing out the door, I lay my head back on the pillow and snoozed. I thought to myself that it didn't matter since I can watch the service at a later time when it gets posted.
There are lots of people, and perhaps even you, who'll say,
"I don't have to go to church today. I can simply read the Bible and pray at home."
"I can just watch the service online."
"Why even go? The church is full of hypocrites."
In the New Testament, church isn't an option for genuine Christ-followers. We are given a command to not forsake assembly with one another. Even if a brother or sister rubs us the wrong way or hurts our feelings. We are the body of Christ for better or worse.
In this fast paced society we trade weekly attendances to watch tv, get extra sleep, or have weekend getaways. And feel like we're "good Christians" when we can listen to a sermon online or sing along to a worship song because we think it's enough to sustain our faith. But it isn't.
Now unless you have physical limitations or are confined to bed by an illness, then praise God for blessing you with ministries from the internet, radio, and television to build your faith in His Word. But if you're healthy and able to commit to church, then there's no excuse to not gather whether it's in your living room, a friend's house, or an auditorium someplace. After all, the church isn't just a building but is made up of believers who desire to love and serve God wholeheartedly.
As Christians, part of our responsibility is to be united with other believers as one family. To minister and work together in a community. By utilizing and sharpening our gifts, we contribute to helping our brothers and sisters stay strong in the faith. That's how we grow stronger and effectively pour into others.
One cannot expect to live out the faith in isolation. When that happens, you succumb to being enticed by your own desires that are not from God. Setting the stage for false teachers to come in and deceive you with dangerous teachings. "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability."-(2 Peter 3:17). If I have to be honest, my faith has been getting rusty. My complacency has been increasing and my desire to be fed and nourished by God's Living Word is slowly losing its appetite. And I'm afraid it will only get worse if I don't do something right now to fix my stupid immature habit.
So, if this is you as well, then may we be wise and carefully heed the Scriptures that exhort us to remember the importance of gathering in fellowship, so that we will be active participants in blessing, encouraging, and reprimanding in truth and love as the "day" is drawing closer.
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household."-Ephesians 2:19
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."-1 Corinthians 12:26