Attending church without fear of your life or property is one of the greatest freedoms this free country affords us. Freedom of worship, the ability to honor God and apply his will in our lives, work, and culture, is a First Amendment guarantee, a continuing gift of our armed forces, and our great blessing.
According to Scripture, the Church is the Body of Christ, the “Church universal,” the gathering of all the Saints who name the name of Christ as Savior and Lord. The Church is a worldwide, trans-cultural, trans-racial/ethnic, even trans-historical phenomenon initiated by God in the Book of Acts. The local church is, according to Scripture, a gathering of believers, including the Lord who meets in the midst of them, that come together in a neighboring geographic community. The local church is a subset of the Church universal.
The local church is that place where believers may join hands in fellowship, worship together, pray together, evangelize the lost, celebrate weddings and new births, encourage the living, and honor Saints at their heavenly home going. The local church is where we are held accountable, encouraged, and edified. The local church is a platform from which we can launch a Christian influence upon local culture. It becomes our church home and church family.
Scripture says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We can worship alone, but we must regularly worship together—because God designed us to need and enjoy the experience.
Church signs—marquees—were once a fairly trustworthy source of information about what happens inside the building (which can be any kind of structure…the church is the fellowship of believers, not the edifice). Unfortunately this is not so anymore. Now, whatever the denomination, you need to attend, to see what the pastor believes and preaches, and to evaluate whether the church really is a Bible-believing and teaching church. That’s the kind of church we all need to find and with which we need to identify.
At Cornerstone University we ask our personnel to be “faithfully involved in an evangelical and biblical church.” We believe in church membership, but we wrote this personnel policy statement emphasizing faithful involvement because that seems to be an even higher standard of commitment than simply attending or joining.
Attending church is a privilege. Praise God for his wisdom in ordaining the church and commanding us to participate.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
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