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Summary: We are to encourage one another to stir up one another for love and good deeds.

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Why Go To Church (Heb. 10:24,25)

Throughout the western world church attendance continues to decline.

Illustration: In 1999, 39% of people regularly profess to attend church (34% of men and 44% of women). In Germany less than 5% regularly attend church and in Britain less than 15% make a habit of going to church.

Having been in involved with helping to start more than 500 churches in Nigeria, I can attest to the fact that in Nigeria church attendance continues to grow every year - why is there such a difference?

Perhaps, it has to do with the simple fact that in Nigeria people appreciate the value of the following scriptural injunctions for "Do not forsake the assembling together with one another, but encourage one another and all the more as you see the end drawing near." (Heb. 10;24,25)

The following are more Biblical advantages for being involved in helping your church grow in quantity and quality.

1. The early Christian church grew because the believers met in their homes regularly for teaching, prayer and socially encouraging fellowship times. (Acts 2:41-47)

A. The first century Christians enjoyed the blessings of the Lord daily adding to their numbers - as those who were saved. The Lord gives blessings without adding any sorrows. Let us share these blessings with others who are hungry for real solutions for their problems.

B. The first century believers devoted themselves to studying the teachings of Jesus. Are we doing this today?

C. The early Christians often shared the Lord’s supper together as a way of cementing their vertical (Between individuals and God) and horizontal relationships (Between individual to another) together. share a meal with someone and see how much you can minister to them according to their felt, perceived and social needs.

D. The early believers were filled awe and wonder in their joint worship of the Lord. Let us worship and rejoice in our awesome God who reigns in power and love. Let us never lose the wonder of His grace and the majestic splendor that is amazingly wonderful.

E. The early Christians were together and shared things in common for one another’s benefits. Theirs was a socially inter-dependent fellowship in a holistic lifestyle. Let us recognize that the hand cannot say to the eye, I have no need of you. (I Cor. 12:10-15)

F. The first Christian fellowships revolved around prayer, witnessing and praise. Let us worship the Lord but also let our joy spill over to share with those around us.

G. The early believers continually gave thanks in fellowships that encouraged one another during times of great persecution from the local and regional governments. Thankful people are fun to be around because they are connected closely to the source of every good thing.

H. The first believers enjoyed favor with all the people because of their corporate witness that came from a Holy Spirit inspired unity that showed Christian love. Jesus knows how to help us grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)

2. Public worship has a greater witness to the non-christian world, which longs for a similar sense of belonging, acceptance and tolerance for one another’s frailties.

3. Habitual fellowships keep each person accountable to the Lord and to one another for personal purity, holiness and truthfulness. Without the sharpening of a believer’s fellowship one is tempted to tolerate unholy lifestyles

4. Loving fellowships are the best way to help the Lord plant and grow new churches that are strong and give birth to many daughter fellowships. (2 Cor. 3:1-10)

5. Godly fellowships have a way of edifying believers in way that they seek to become more like Christ in all aspects of life. Paul recognized the power of the Ephesus church to catalyze the growth of individuals and groups in Christ. (Eph. 4:15)

6. Group prayer has a way of magnifying our requests in its intensity and effect. (Matt 18:18-20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst. If two of you agree on earth on anything as touching heaven I will give it to you."

7. Group prayer is promised an answer by our Lord. (Matt. 18:19)

8. Groups have a way of gently correcting those who drift away from the truth. (James 5:16-18) Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed. Many are sick because they are neglecting godly fellowship.

9. Godly fellowships have a way of synergistically helping the total success become more than the addition of the individual contributions. (I Cor. 12:7-12)Many are not experiencing success because they are trying to serve the Lord on their own.

10. The whole family can best be trained in Godliness through church fellowships. Without a regular involvement with the body of Christ something will be missing in the training of all family members which will lead to some dysfunctional behavior. (I Tim. 4:7)Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness as godliness is profitable for all things.

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