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Scripture Reading: Psalm 89:3-7
Why I Should Worship with a Local Church
1. E-mail Bible question: "Why do you or I need to go to church?" "Can't we just have it at home?"
2. “Go to church” used to mean “go to worship services” – Why have regular worship services? Why should you go (and be active)?
3. God seeks true worshipers today (Jno. 4:23-24). A study of how NT Christians worshiped helps us learn how to be true worshipers.
4. In trying to justify no assembled worship some misunderstand and misuse what Jesus said about the place of worship in Jno. 4:21 (as if assembled worship is dismissed by Jesus – which is not the case).
5. God has revealed His truth on this subject (Eph. 5:17).
1. Even in the Old Testament God wanted Israel to go to His assigned place.
a. Lev. 17:1-9: Offerings were to be brought to God’s specified place (tabernacle), not offered in the open field.
b. Deut. 12:5-14: Not “in every place that you see,” but where God chose (2 Chron. 7:12).
c. Exemplifies respect for God’s arrangement for worship: It is not a matter of what we personally prefer (Lev. 10:1-2; Matt. 7:21-23).
2. There are many NT examples of assembled worship, Acts 2:42, 44; 5:12; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2.
a. We are to follow these worthy examples, 1 Cor. 4:16-17; Phil. 4:9.
b. One who wants to be like NT Christians assembles with the church.
3. New Testament Christians “came together” (Heb. 10:25):
a. To break bread, Acts 20:7-8.
b. To worship “as a church,” 1 Cor. 11:18.
c. In one place (to eat the Lord’s Supper), 1 Cor. 11:20, 33-34.
d. For edification, 1 Cor. 14:23, 26.
e. For learning, cf. Acts 14:27.
f. To discipline a sinner among them, 1 Cor. 5:4.
4. Christ expects His body to come together.
a. Christians are “one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:5) – Christ expects the body to come together – otherwise, how are we “one body”? (cf. husband and wife)
b. To edify the body of Christ, 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 4:11-16.
c. Helps keep unity in the body of Christ, cf. Eph. 4:3; 1 Cor. 12:25-27.
5. Because there are some things that cannot be done “at home” (privately):
a. Encouraging one another when we worship together (Heb. 10:24; 1 Cor. 14:26).
b. Speaking to one another in song, Eph. 5:19 (cf. Heb. 2:12).
c. Praying with one another, 1 Cor. 14:15-16.
d. Giving on the first day of the week, 1 Cor. 16:1-2.
e. Teaching the word of God, Acts 20:7 (14:27); cf. 1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:16.
f. Eating the Lord’s Supper, 1 Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34.
6. What about Matthew 18:20? Doesn’t that allow for worship gatherings other than the local church on the Lord’s Day?
a. The issue is not whether individual Christians may gather together to pray, to sing and to worship.
b. The issue is: God wants individuals to “come together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:17-18, 20).
c. Context: Addressing private sin and apostolic authority.
1) Individuals are not the church, 18:16-17.
2) The church is not “two or three), 18:17.
3) Apostles would agree with heaven and thus have fellowship with Christ, 18:18-20.
d. When we act together, under the authority of Christ, He is with us (1 Jno. 1:7; 2 Jno. 9).
e. Does not teach: Whatever 2-3 decide, Christ will agree with them; or whenever 2-3 Christians gather it constitutes a local church for worship.
7. We are under commandment not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Heb. 10:24-25.
a. Moral obligation before God to assemble with brethren to worship.
1) The regular assembly of Christians is God’s will.
2) A personal responsibility to be present and active.
b. Question to ponder: If everyone attended and participated the way I do, would this church have regular worship services?
1. Psa. 122:1: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
2. If you are not glad to assemble with God’s people to worship God “in spirit and in truth” then you need to determine why not and repent of your sinful heart against the Lord (2 Cor. 13:5).
By: Joe R. Price
August 1, 2010