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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Hebrews 10:25 - Does a Christian have to attend Church?

"not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
Frequently, I have heard this verse, Hebrews 10:25, quoted by churchgoers, as to why a Christians HAS to attend church.  Furthermore, the implication is a feeling of guilt, if one does not attend a church, and by attending a church, that is meant to be as a regular, clockwork procedure.  Sunday morning.  Wednesday evening, etc.

Contrariwise, in the Bible, there is no command to regularly attend a church in such a fashion.  By that, there is nothing in the Bible to say how often a person should attend a church, only that, we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

What is a Church?

A church, from the Biblical definition, is the Greek word,
ekklesia, formed from two words, ek, which means, out, and kaleō, which means, to call.  Essentially, a church is a called out group; a called out assembly, of believers, the combined word, ekklesia.

What a church is NOT!

As much as we may identify it with, or at least, what many people would identify it with, a church is NOT a grande building with arches and steeples.  A church is NOT a simple hall.  A church is not some THING or PLACE that we go to at say, 10AM, 11AM, 11:30AM every Sunday, as part of a machine like routine to get in the way of, or plan around, our weekend.

Now, I am not being flippant about church!  I am just bringing to attention what it's not!  And what it is, which, biblically, is just a bunch of people who are Christians, getting together.

Some Examples of Churches in the Bible

“Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.” Romans 16:5
Here we find a church - a called out assembly of believers, in a house.  No special building mentioned here.
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” Acts 19:9
Another church mentioned in a room within a school.  No fancy building mentioned here.  Indeed, no special or particular building mentioned or required.

A church, biblically, is a place where two or more Christians are gathered

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
A church can be anywhere.  It could be on a street, if you've witnessed to them and they've become saved.  Two are gathered together, called out for the Gospel.  The Lord is there.  There is an assembly together, of Christians.  This is a church.

It could be the Christian you fellowship with over lunch, talking about Christ, consoling and growing each other.  That is a church.

Christ is the Rock of the Church

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:15-18
Here, Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  It is on this truth, that Jesus is the Son of God, God in the flesh, that Jesus declares He will build His church.

Therefore, a church is not a building, it is a gathering of Christians!

The PURPOSE of Church!

"not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
A church is a gathering of Christians for exhorting one another.  Exhorting, which means to encourage, to comfort, to call to ones side.  Church should encourage us in this dire world!
"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" James 2:2-4
It is a place where the rich AND the poor can come together, and be as equal, no man or woman is better than another!  The one with the good clothes, hairstyles, jewelry, or the one with poor person and modest garb.  For truly, God is no respecter of persons! (Acts 10:34).

It is a place to Mature

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints,..." Ephesians 4:11-15.

Again, Comfort,

"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you". John 20:19
The disciples assembled together, again for comfort.  They were afraid of being persecuted, and took comfort in one another.

So we have the purposes of the church:  To be a called out body of believers, to exhort, comfort, and mature each other!

Why Write this Article?

Many times, people are pressured, either by others, or by a sense of that 'they should go', even bullied, to go to what is typically classed as church, which, in some, even many cases, bears little resemblance, to the PURPOSE of church in the first place.

Many people claim Hebrews 10:25 almost as a guilt trip, to attend their church, which really so often means, their, INSTITUTION.

Some of the best experiences i've had with other believers have been a million miles AWAY from what's typically classed as church.

Here are two beautiful experiences that stand out for me:
  1. Sitting with a homeless Christian, on the concrete pavement of a busy city street.  I'd witnessed to her before, and we were speaking about 1 Kings 3:11, and how God will reward us, when we pray for others.  This young Christian lady, despite her predicament, still had her heart for the things of others! (Philippians 2:4).  I tell you, the two of us sitting there, like nobodies to the world, was one of the most beautiful experiences i've had.  God was there, with us!
  2. After witnessing with a street preacher, we both comforted and exhorted each other, talking about our walk with God, talking about the Bible, edifying and maturing each other, with grace.
I do not say these things to say, 'oh, look at me! I'm doing or done this stuff!'.  Far from it, it's a blessing from the Lord to be privileged to have been a part of such things, thank you Lord!!

Some of the WORST experiences I've had, is sitting amongst judgmental Christians, full of rules and traditions, in typical churches.

So, my point is, let us ALL remember what church is FOR!

If your church is not encouraging you, comforting you, maturing you, loving you, helping you become a better witness for Christ, if instead it's a bunch of rules and forced behaviours where you are not ALLOWED to be yourself (then how then can you grow?  If you can't be honest amongst Christians, and grow as a sinner, who can you be honest with?), then, instead of it bringing you down, why not consider freshening it up?

One can have church ANYWHERE!























24th October 2018.

 

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