Well, let’s start with the why nots:
- Organized religion isn’t for me.
- I go when I can.
- I usually make it, but sometimes other things come up.
- I can be with God in nature.
- I read my bible.
- I pray at home.
- I’m a good person.
- I have to work, sleep, cook, clean…
I get it. There’s a lot of reasons people don’t do the church thing or don’t do it very well. This week I am dedicating myself to personal study, prayer and yes… blogging about church.
It’s not such a popular topic these days because most of us like to do our own thing. But, frankly, church isn’t our own thing. It’s God’s.
Today is just step one. Is church important? Let’s start with a foundational truth:
We have an enemy. That enemy showed up moments after creation in Genesis 3. He is a serpent. He is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He blinds the hearts of men (2 Cor. 4:4). He seeks to destroy your soul (1 Pt. 5:8). He is the commander of the unseen powers of the world. He works in our hearts (Eph. 2:2). He has declared war on anyone who holds a testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17).
We are engaged in a battle. There’s a real battle waging whether we want to face it or not. The attacks are strategic, covert and piercing. I know it because I’ve been stabbed by the arrows. I have been sliced by the sword.
Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. (Eph. 6:10-13)
The saved can be lost. Some of us fall into a trap of believing that once we accept Jesus we are good no matter what. True, Satan can’t take us where we don’t want to go (John 10:29). But our choices can lead us straight into destruction if we let them (Jm. 1:14).
And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 2 Pet. 2:20
So what are we left with? We are under attack from an enemy we can’t see. Accepting Jesus alone isn’t a guarantee. Our soul hangs in the balances.
Well, this brings me to one of my most cherished passages of holy scripture. We have a great defender in our spiritual battle. He is a warrior above all. And he disarmed rulers and authorities of darkness (Col. 2:15) to grant us access to the most holy place, a place of safety.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Heb. 10:19-22
Because Jesus did THAT and the battle to get us out of the holy place is still raging this is what we have to do:
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Heb.10:23-25 (NLT)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
Our defense against losing our soul comes from meeting together. When we are together the purpose is to motivate each other, affirm our hope, and give courage to one another because the Day is approaching. A day when there will be no more that we can do to contend for our soul. A day that we will answer to our Maker and be directed to our eternal home.
So, is church important? Yes, eternally so.
Tomorrow. What Is Church Anyway?