Why Should We Come to Church?

One of the greatest needs of our dark times is for the Christian church to regain her true identity and character.

First, one of the main signs of the Spirit’s presence is a desire for God’s Word, of which the Spirit himself is the Author.  Therefore, true Christians love God’s Word and desire to be taught its doctrines.  (If you look back at Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, you will find that it is remarkably filled with doctrine.)  Second, Christians need to be protected from ignorance and empowered by biblical knowledge.

 

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

One of the greatest needs of our dark times is for the Christian church to regain her true identity and character.  To understand what the church is designed to be, the best place to inquire is at its founding in the time of the apostles.  Acts 2:42 describes the newborn church after the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven at Pentecost.  The apostle Peter preached the message of Christ to the crowds and when many believed they gathered together as a church.  What was the character of that church, we ask?  Why did the early believers come to church?  By extension, looking at the example, we can ask,  Why and how should we come to church?

The first answer is given by the setting of the believers at Pentecost.  They came to church because they had been changed by the gospel of Jesus as the Holy Spirit pierced their hearts.  Peter had proclaimed that Jesus, whom they had crucified, is the risen Lord and Savior (Acts 2:36).  His hearers “were cut to the heart” and asked Peter, “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). He answered, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).  Combined in that answer is the sinner’s need to repent of sin and believe on Jesus for salvation and then the believer’s need to enter into God’s church through the sacrament of baptism.  It is as they did this that the first Christians gathered as a church.  They did not have to be rounded up and reminded that they should come to church, but they wanted to be in the meeting of God’s people for worship.  We, too, should come to church because we have been saved by the blood of Christ, born again by the Holy Spirit, and called to gather together as the people of our Lord.

A second answer is that the believers came to church in order to be taught the truths of God’s Word: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42).  Many people today find the sermon the least appealing reason to come to church.  They come for social contacts, for entertainment, or for family obligations.  But these are reasons why the world gathers, not reasons why Christ’s people are devoted to church attendance.  In a sermon on this text, Martyn Lloyd-Jones explained several reasons why we should come to church especially for Bible teaching.  First, one of the main signs of the Spirit’s presence is a desire for God’s Word, of which the Spirit himself is the Author.  Therefore, true Christians love God’s Word and desire to be taught its doctrines.  (If you look back at Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, you will find that it is remarkably filled with doctrine.)  Second, Christians need to be protected from ignorance and empowered by biblical knowledge.

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