Summary: Many Christians without finding out if church attendance is required or needful, just feel it is unnecessary. Could it be they really do not want to know the answer or do not care? Let us start examining if church attendance is required or necessary.
Why Participate in Your Local Church
Christians sometimes fail to see the need to be active in a specific local church. God’s word gives many passages that refer to local churches (congregations) in specific localities (Acts 8:1, 13:1; Romans 16:1; 1st Corinthians 1:2; 2nd Corinthians 1:1; 1st Thessalonians 1:1; 2nd Thessalonians 1:1; Colossians 4:16; etc.). The question to consider hen is: How important is church attendance? May we please God just by being a Christian in general, without recognizing any responsibility to attend a particular local church despite God’s command to do so (Ref. Hebrews 10:24-25) and the benefits associated with attendance?
Many Christians without asking if church attendance is required or needful, just feel church attendance is unnecessary. Could it be that they really do not want to know the answer? Let us start examining if church attendance is required or necessary by finding out what exactly is the “Church.” The Bible refers to two types of Church. They are not called by these names but the implication is clear.
1. The Church invisible. Denotes the entire body of redeemed who God has foreseen as becoming redeemed but have not yet believed and all those whom the Father has given to Christ who have gone on before us (cf. 1st Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 11:5, 29, 12:1; Revelation 6:9).
2. The Church visible, Universal or Local. Consists of all those throughout the world that profess true faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:23-29; Hebrews 12:23). It is called “visible” because its members are known and its assemblies are public. God has commanded His people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to His kingdom. It makes known the Gospel of that Kingdom, and for gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the universal visible church. A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person as a member of this church.
There is several meanings throughout the scriptures. For the word “church.” In the Old Testament the word “Church” is not found. Words like “Tabernacle,” “Tent of Meeting,” “Temple,” “House of God,” “House of the Lord,” “House of Prayer,” “Synagogue,” “Courts,” “Zion” even the word “Congregation” and “Assembly” were used for the gathering to a certain place (structure), a visible place where people assembled to worship God and to hear and receive from Him.
In the New Testament the word “Church” (Greek ἐκκλησία - ekklēsia) is found 116 times as “church,” “Churches.” The word “assembly or assembling” - ἐπισυναγωγὴν or ἐπισυναγωγή episunagoge (noun), episunagōgēn (verb). Means the society of Christians. This Greek word (the noun) is used nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1, where it is rendered “gathering together.” The verb is used in Matthew 23:37, 24:31; Mark 1:33, 13:27; Luke 12:1, 3:34, all rendered “gathered together.” Also used is the Greek word “συνάγω – sunago” (verb), used in Matthew 18:20, 26:3, 57, 28:12, John 20:19, Acts 4:31, 11:26. These two verbs properly means an act of assembling, or a gathering together, and is nowhere used in the New Testament in the sense of an particular assembly, or church. The command, then is, to meet together for the worship of God, and it is directed at Christians as an important duty to obey. It implies that there is blame or fault where this is “neglected.” To summarize the “church” is;
A. an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
B. a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake (A and B are the church visible)
C. the whole body of Christians who are scattered throughout the earth who have not believed as yet.
D. the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven (C and D are the church invisible)
One of the biggest excuses so called Christians make is that they are believers but do not go to Church. They would prefer to remain as individual believers belonging only to the invisible Church. My question to those want-a-be invisible Christians (I use the term Christians very loosely) is, where do you see any
indication of that anywhere in God’s word. I dare say you do not! What you do see however is the opposite (Ref. Hebrews 10:24-25). Also, how is it possible to remain part of the invisible church and still be a believer who has accepted Jesus as Lord? By receiving Him as Lord you must do as He commands. That is not possible if you stay invisible, for to obey God’s ordinances is to be visible!