Summary: This sermon is the fourth of the series. This message looks at five reasons why we need to go to church; Christ established the church, promised its birth, works through the church, established the church as a shelter, and loves the church.
ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS OF SCRIPTURE
Why Do I Need To Go To Church Anyway?
This story deals with a rather old fashioned lady, who was planning a couple of weeks vacation in Florida. She also was quite delicate and elegant with her language. She wrote a letter to a particular campground and asked for reservations. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped but didn’t know quite how to ask about the “toilet” facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old fashioned term “Bathroom Commode,” but when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again; rewrote the entire letter and referred to the “Bathroom Commode” simply as the “B.C.”. Does the campground have its own “B.C.?” is what she actually wrote.
Well, the campground owner wasn’t old fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he couldn’t figure out what the lady was talking about. That “B.C.” really stumped him. After worrying about it for several days, he showed the letter to other campers, but they couldn’t figure out what the lady meant either. The campground owner finally came to the conclusion that the lady was and must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church. So he sat down and wrote the following reply: “Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure of informing in that the “B.C.” is located nine miles north of the camp site and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along, and make a day of it..... They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now, there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats.....They plan to hold the supper in the middle of the B.C., so everyone can watch and talk about this great event.....I would like to say it pains me very much, not to be able to go more regularly, but it is surely not for lack of desire on my part....As we grow older, it seems to be more and more of an effort, particularly in cold weather..... If you decide to come down to the campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go ... sit with you ... and introduce you to all the other folks. ... This is really a very friendly community.
INTRODUCTION: What makes this question difficult is the answer we often give when it is posed. The answer goes something like this, “Because”, or, “Because I said so.”, or “We just do.” Yet, Scripture gives some very compelling reasons why we should go to church anyway.
Reason #1 – Christ Established the Church
Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
1. The church was to be the future of Christ’s earthly ministry
§ The church is the bride he will come for
§ The church is the body He heads
§ Being a Christian and avoiding church is like trying to do God work your way!
QUICK FACT – ACCORDING TO BARNA RESEARCH GROUP:
85% considered themselves to be Christian
49% absolutely committed to Christ
42% attend a service in the past week
19% attended Sunday school
33% said the were unchurched
"Born again Christians" were defined in these surveys as people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "born again."
2. The Church was to be the EFFECTIVE method for Spiritual Victory in the World
§ Jews would understand “gates of Hades” to refer to physical death
§ Jesus was saying that though He was to die the work of the Church would never be defeated
REASON #2 – CHRIST PROMISED THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."