During the pandemic, many people fell into the habit of watching church online.
Some of this was unavoidable as some churches were closed or limited the number of people allowed inside – but now that churches are open – many people are still spending each Sunday in their pjs watching church on a screen.
But watching church online is no substitution for gathering with other believers in corporate worship – and here’s just a few reasons why it’s crucial to our spiritual health to gather together each Sunday.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
All throughout the Bible, people gathered to worship God.
They weren’t isolated in their homes – they were corporately praising God with songs of praise and offerings.
For the author of Hebrews to acknowledge that some may be in the “habit” of not meeting together reveals it was something even the early church struggled with.
While there are some situations such as a person deployed overseas or bedridden in the hospital – for the rest of us we don’t really have an excuse.
As Pastor David Platt and founder of Radical preached one Sunday:
“Apparently, according to Hebrews 10, these things cannot happen if we are neglecting to meet together. The implication of this text seems to be clear, that God has designed hopeful good things to happen in your life, and in others’ lives, in the church when you meet together. So neglecting to meet together actually leads to unhelpful, dangerous things in your life. This is straight from God’s Word.
I know that even as I say this, some of you might think, “Yeah, I’m not convinced that I can’t just do church as well from here as if I was there.” You may even be wondering, “Are you trying to cajole meinto coming back to church?” I assure you I have no desire to cajole you, or as my mom might say, to “sweet talk” someone into doing something.
I only want to encourage you to do something when God in His Word is encouraging you to do something. Don’t listen to anything a pastor encourages you to do if they cannot show it to you in God’s Word.”
Listening to a sermon online may be “nice” …
… but it’s no replacement for gathering – arm to arm – with other believers in Christ.
Healthy churches have accountability and discipleship.
But how can church leaders hold someone accountable if they don’t see them?
How can a person who is suffering receive a warm hug and have an Elder lay hands on them and pray over them if they are sitting on their couch?
If we’re honest – the real reason many people have stopped attending church in person is due to laziness or poor excuses.
Sure – it’s “easier” to roll out of bed and sit on the couch in flannel pjs and drink hot chocolate and watch church on tv.
But is it really too much to ask to get in the car and go worship alongside fellow believers?
The body is meant to break bread and encourage one another.
It’s encouraging to see others worshiping Jesus and signing songs of praise.
Of course, we aren’t suggesting church attendance as a box to check to “prove” one is really a Christian.
It shouldn’t be done out of obligation – but instead be viewed as a joyful way to gather together with fellow believers to build each other up and praise our living, King.
So, if you’ve fallen into a bad habit and have neglected to attend church – spend time with God exploring what that is about – and meditate on Hebrews 10 which talks about gathering together as believers.
Remember Christians in other countries are risking their lives to gather – yet here in America we are taking the privilege to gather together for granted.
We never know when the day will come when we too will be persecuted for going to church – so in the meantime – get to church!
Have you fallen into the bad habit of not attending church?
Do you agree believers should gather in person each Sunday whenever they are able?
You can post your answers to our Facebook page and join in the conversation with other believers from all around the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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