Summary: What is the purpose of "church"?
Why is There Church
A young man & friend were driving to a football game when they were hit by a semi. Both were knocked out and the car was thrown into the ditch. When the driver woke up, he realized he wasn’t too badly injured, but his friend was bleeding and in serious trouble. He knew his friend would die if he didn’t get help soon. He pulled him from the wreckage and up to the top of the hill.
Once there, he saw a building with a sign in front advertising a doctor’s clinic. He carried his friend there and banged on the door until a man answered. The man asked, “May I help you?” In disbelief, the driver said, “Can’t you see my friend’s in bad shape? Please save him!” The man at the door said, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I quit practicing medicine 5 years ago.” The driver looked at the man, his friend, the sign, and back at the man and said, “If you aren’t going to help anyone, then YOU SHOULD TAKE DOWN THE SIGN!!”
Millions of people today are broken and bleeding. In front of our churches we advertise a place of healing, but are we practicing what we advertise? We need to take a long, hard look at what we do as a body of believers, because we need to either practice what we say…or take down the sign. (Tony Evans)
Let me ask you. What is a church? How do we define church? I can tell you what church is not. The church is not a human institution. It doesn’t have it’s own agenda or set it’s own goals. It’s not an independent entity, surviving on strength of numbers. No, what the church is, is a body called into a special relationship with God. James 1:27 says we (the church) are called to be holy and blameless before God, and uncorrupted by the world.
One night at youth group, we were having a good discussion and Nikki asked me, “Why is there church?” and “Why are we supposed to go to church every Sunday?” Those are big questions and I’m going to try to answer them. To answer the second question first, let me ask you another question. How many here today feel the Bible is the infallible Word of God?
Church attendance is a priority because God commands it. At the time the book of Hebrews was written people felt, like too many do today, that they could worship God just as well at home as at church. Sure, we can, but why would God put this command in the Bible if He didn’t want us to follow it? God doesn’t give us useless commands.
As it says in Psalm 78, we need to impress upon the next generation the importance of church attendance and what it means to worship God. “We will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and his might…”
Are we, as parents and role models, developing in our children a positive attitude toward attendance and worship? Are your children like the young man who told his mom that he didn’t want to go to church because the music was no good and the preacher was boring and long-winded? His mom told him, “That’s too bad. You’re the Pastor and you have to go.” What about when our kids tell us they don’t want to go to the doctor/dentist or school? Who’s in charge here, anyway? Kids don’t necessarily want what’s best for themselves, so we make them go anyway, because they NEED to. Same thing with church. We NEED to be in church, children AND adults.
And think about it. If your daughter wanted to learn to swim, would you have her take a correspondence course in swimming? Would you teach your son to drive by just having him read the owner’s manual? No! To learn to swim you gotta get in the water and to learn to drive you need to get behind the wheel and drive! You have to show up and participate! To get off the spiritual milk and get onto solid food you need to put into practice what you learn in church, which means attending church.
Another reason for attending church is safety. 20% of all fatal accidents occur in automobiles. 17% of all accidents occur at home. 14% of all accidents occur to pedestrians. 16% of all accidents happen in planes, trains, or boats. .001% of all deaths occur in church and these are related to previous physical disorders. So the safest place to be anytime is in church. Go to church! It could save your life.
Now, besides needing someplace to “attend church”, we ask the question, “Why is there church?” Which is another way of asking, “What is the primary focus of church?” Is it worship? Fellowship? Teaching? Show off our new clothes? Potluck dinners? Meet well-known members of the congregation?