Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts," Psalm 95:6-8
Last week, I ran into two different people, both former members of congregations that now "worship at home." Perhaps you know of someone or several someones who fit this description. Now, rather than going to the assembly on the Lord's day, they listen to the local Christian radio station, or watch one or more of the televangelists on cable, or do nothing at all. Of course our brothers and sisters say they still love God, still believe in Him and pray regularly but just do not currently "go to church."
There are a variety of reasons why people pursue this avenue. Some disagree with the way things are done at their local congregation. Some have suffered hurt associated with someone who attends. Some have looked into the mirror of their lives and found themselves unfit, lacking the ability to forgive themselves despite believing that they have been forgiven by God. And some just flat out do not think it is necessary. There are many other reasons that people give for such a tragic departure.
Beloved, I will be the first to tell you that the work of the church is not primarily done inside the church building but outside. I would likewise say that worship is not confined to the church building in that we should all be in a constant state of worshiping our God. But I will say that the assembly is a necessary component of our relationship with God and with each other. Let me share with you just a few scriptures that bear this out.
- Acts 2:40-47-From its inception, the church (more accurately phrased "the assembly") has been about the people of God being and doing together
- Ephesians 4:11-16-We together form one body, made so by divine will for a divine and beneficial purpose
- John 10:14-16-Being identified as flock whose shepherd is Jesus, our togetherness is implicit
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-27-Each of us has a role in the body/assembly that we are gifted to fulfill and on which others depend
- Hebrews 10:24-26-The assembly is as much about others as it is about us and we should not forsake it
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The word of God consistently speaks of believers as a people, a body, a flock and a church that is designed to be together in word, thought, deed and most certainly in worship. While some televangelist have their uses, if a person is watching one, they are watching not just the preacher but those who are members of that congregation who have gathered together to worship. Worship is not about spectating, but participating.
May this be an encouragement to you and may you share it with those who you know that have forsaken the assembly.