Church is important. I wrote this article about 12 years ago, I read it a few days ago, and thought to republish it. The article was first published in the (Tribune Newspaper in 2004).
Last week Sunday marked the second Sunday of 2017. You may be forgiven for missing the first Sunday of 2017. It was after all a holiday, but, still that is no valid justification.
“We are church goers, we just haven’t got there yet.” So, read a sticker on the bumper of a car on the motorway. This triggered me muse on this statement and indeed enthused me to write this article. As we begin the New Year I plead with you to get there. Many of our extended family and friends haven’t yet gotten to church.
They may attend sporadically, but they are not yet enjoying the full blessings of church participation and service. Because they attend infrequently, they thus refrain from commitments and from seeking the personal spiritual rebirth that comes from yielding our hearts to God. Others proudly profess ‘Ndino namata ndiri ndoga kumba kwangu’ (I worship by myself in my home).
Get to Church
Both kinds are missing some unique blessings in this life. And both are in jeopardy of missing the most glorious blessings in the life to come. However, the reason for meeting with other believers in church is indeed biblical. Paul of Thasos taught that the Lord gave prophets and apostles for “the perfecting of the Saints… the work of the ministry…[and] the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph.4:12).
People who are not fully paticipating in the church and are also seeking a personal spiritual conversion are missing out on experiences that are essential to bring man back to the presence of God. As we begin this New Year 2017, I pray that many who will read this article will have a spiritual witness of the importance of the mission of the church to edify and exalt the children of God.
I pray especially that those who are not yet enjoying the blessings of full church participation and commitment will seek and obtain that witness and act upon it. Some may ask, why should I actively participate? Well, consider all that our Saviour Jesus Christ, has done for us, it should be easy to offer something in service to Him and our fellowmen.
Church is a blessing
Again, some may still ask, what has He done for me? What do people expect to receive from Jesus Christ, from His gospel, and from participating in his church? Others have stopped going to church because the church is “not meeting their needs”. Which needs could they be expecting the church to meet? If persons are simply seeking a satisfying social experience, they might be disappointed and thus, seek other associations elsewhere.
There are satisfying social experiences in many organisations for those who seek to claim the praise of men. Those who value the salutations of men if they could pursue that goal through available literature they would find that temporary glory.
“And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the Scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” Mark 12 vs 38-40.
Nevertheless, these are not the principal purposes of the church. What is it that we receive from the gospel of Jesus Christ? Someone has said that what we get depends on what we seek. Persons who attend church solely in order to get something of a temporal nature will indeed get their temporary reward. However, they will eventually be disappointed because they will fall short of the eternal reward. The Apostle Paul wrote disparagingly of persons who “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly” (Rom. 16:18).
Attend church for the right reasons
Persons who attend church in order to give to their fellowmen and truly serve the Lord will never be disappointed. The Saviour promised that “he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:39). Church gives us opportunities to serve the Lord and our fellowmen. If given in the right way and for the right reasons, that service will reward us beyond anything we have given. Resolve to start 2017 on the right foot get there. May God bless this teaching now and forevermore Amen.