Question: Why do some people believe you need to go to church to worship God?
Can’t I worship God just as well out in his creation on my boat fishing? I can worship God just as well there as at church right?
Answer: You are right when you say that you can worship God anywhere. However, you cannot obey God without going to church. Or maybe it would be more accurately stated by saying you can’t obey God without being an active and connected part of the church.
Worship is something we should do every day, not just when we are with other Christians. Worship is more than singing, praising God and being thankful for His great works, though it does include those things. The Apostle Paul describes our duty to worship when he says in Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Worship should be service and sacrifice to God. You can worship God anywhere and any time. However, you need to be in the church, in order to serve him by serving others. The way we serve God is by serving others. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
What we do for others, we do for Jesus. Therefore you cannot worship God completely without serving others. If our worship is merely us admiring God’s creation and spending some time alone with him in thankful prayer on a boat then we are only tasting a small sliver of the good things God has for us. Serving God is done by serving others. That is why we need to be in church. We need to be there to serve and be served.
The early Christians were devoted to being part of the church. Acts 2:42 says of the early Christians, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They were devoted to fellowship. That means they were devoted to spending time at church. We should follow their example.
Remember the word church in the Bible never refers to a building but a congregation or group of people who are the church. The word translated as “church” in the New Testament is: εκκλησια which means, “an assembly of people” The church is not made of wood and stone but of faithful believers united in service to Christ. Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” If you don’t go to church you can’t obey this verse.
There are other Christians who need our service. There are lost souls who need us to minister to them by supporting the out reach of the church programs. But instead we are tempted to go fishing, sleep in, go to a ball game, or enjoy some other activity which feeds our selfish desires but is not a sacrifice for others. That kind of self serving worship is not what God calls us to in the Holy Word.
That is why God commands us to be in the assembly. Hebrews 10: 24-27 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
Don’t give up meeting together. We need to spur one another on to love and good deeds. We need encouragement. It’s easy to get sidetracked and pulled into this world’s depression and sin. We need the combined strength, wisdom and encouragement of the body of Christ to remain strong in the faith. Others need us and we need others. If you skip church and don’t fellowship with God and the believers, you cheat the body of Christ of the gifts God gave you to offer to others. Not only that, the things you need from others you never receive and your faith and family suffer for this disobedience to God. Don’t cheat yourself of what you need. Don’t cheat others of what you have to offer. Be in the assembly this week.