Why Worship God in a Church Community

Many professing Christians today will often ignore the gathering together of saints entirely and instead opt to worship alone at home. The advent of Youtube and other streaming services has played a significant role in encouraging this damning trait. What is God’s call to Christians regarding church attendance and our Christian walk? 

God’s Command 

The gathering of saints is something we cannot ignore as part of God’s family. In fact, you cannot say that you want to be part of God’s family yet worship apart from it. All who believed in Christ were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). The Bible condemns those who are in the habit of not joining others in fellowship. God commands us not to embrace such habits (Hebrews 10:24-25). 

Therefore, gathering with other saints is an expectation and a command from God. Even in places where there is Christian persecution, the church still takes place underground, and people still meet to pray, listen to scripture, and encourage each other in the faith. Jesus prayed that the believers might be one as he is one with the Father (John 17:20-21). The oneness of believers is because we all believe in one God, are saved by the same Lord Jesus, and are all baptized into one baptism of the Holy Spirit(1 Cor 12:12-13). Through unity, people recognize Christ’s work in bringing all together in the family of God (John 17:22-23). 

The Edification of the Body of Christ

In the body of Christ, God’s people have been gifted differently, as we have different parts of the body (1 Cor. 12:12). Many people who isolate themselves from the fellowship deny the church an opportunity to be built by their gifts. One part of the body cannot say it does not want to be part of it. The entire body works harmoniously and serves each other (1 Cor. 12:15-18). Isolating oneself from the church could have pride as the root of it and not humility (Romans 12:16). One could be perceived to consider themselves better than the rest of the believers, which is also a diversion from the scripture (Phil. 2:4).

As we edify others, we are also built by their gifts, causing the entire church to mature. Christ told Peter that if he does not allow him to wash his feet, he has no share with him (John 13:8). It is essential that as we serve others, we also let them serve us, and this is the importance of coming together as people gifted differently. Isolating yourself is denying yourself an opportunity to be nurtured and taught by other believers. The Bible does not envision any Christian living in isolation from other believers.   

Example of the Early Church

The early church had a habit of fellowship, devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42). Gathering together has been the habit of all who join the family of God through Christ (John 1:12). The early church preached the gospel so that many could join in their fellowship with the Father and the Son (1John 1:3). We can only be in fellowship with each other if we are all walking in the light and being cleansed by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). Some people fear being part of the fellowship because their lives don’t match that of other believers. Due to sin guilt, they prefer isolating themselves from the flock. Like the lion, which pursues an isolated gazelle, the enemy rejoices when we are not part of a fellowship as we become an easy target of his schemes (1 Peter 5:8). 

The Biblical Metaphors 

The Bible is full of metaphors that describe the church as a gathering of many people. 

  1. The Body: One metaphor that illustrates the unity and universality of the church is the word body. Christ is portrayed as the head of the church. He has authority over the church and gives it direction (Eph. 1:22–23; Col. 1:18). As all organs in the body are essential, so is everyone in the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:16; 4:4). Moreover, Christ nourishes the church by giving gifted leaders to the church that it might grow to maturity and be built up as one body in Christ (Eph. 4:12, 16; Col. 2:19). 
  2. A Building: God abolished the wall that separated Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:11–18). Now Paul describes the church’s oneness through the analogy of a building. Christ is the cornerstone in this analogy (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Cor. 3:11). As a building develops when under construction, the church, as a living organism, is also growing as new believers are added to the “building” (1 Peter 2:5).
  3. The Flock: The church is called the flock of God (John 10:16, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:3). Israel had a relationship to the Lord as sheep to a shepherd (Psalm 23) and was called a flock (Ps. 80:1; Jer. 13:17); however, in the Old Testament that analogy was restricted to Israel alone. The uniqueness of the church being a flock and Christ the Shepherd is that this flock is composed of both Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3:28-29). There is an intimacy between the sheep and one shepherd as he knows the sheep each by name; the sheep know him by his voice (John 10:27-28). 
  4. The Vine and the Branches: The Bible describes Christians as the branches. We are all connected to the vine and can grow and become productive (John 15:4-5). This relationship of vine and branches describes both union and communion of believers with Christ. Jesus is the true vine, while the Father is the farmer who tills the land so that the branches may bear fruit (John 15:1). Christ unites the church.

All of these metaphors show us that we’re to worship in a local church community and not by ourselves. Worshipping in a community is, therefore, very critical for the believer. We cannot say we want to be part of the body of the family of God and live apart from it. Therefore, those neglecting the gathering of saints should reexamine themselves and know that it is disobedience to Christ and a sign of pride. 

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