One of the common sayings that I’ve had the displeasure of hearing from people over the past few years is this: “The Bible doesn’t say that Christians have to go to church.” True. The Bible does not say the words “As a Christian, you must go to church”. You won’t find that verse (or any variation of that) anywhere in the Bible.
And yet, Hebrews 10:24 says “do not neglect gathering together, as is the habit of some”. Acts 20:7 reads: “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talk with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” Another verse to consider would be John 21:15, in which Jesus commands Peter to “feed his sheep” if indeed he truly did love Jesus.
It is a perfectly true statement that the Bible does not say “Christians must go to church”. Likewise, it is a perfectly wrong statement to say that the Bible doesn’t teach Christians that church is important. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Bible’s clear and overarching message to Christians on the issue of church is simple: if we love Christ, then we will love His people – which includes the corporate gathering of believers together to be encouraged by one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Why then do Christians go to church? Is it to “be more holy than other people”, or “to impress our neighbors with being religious”? Of course not! We are committed to the church because we care about our relationship with God and because we care about God’s people. Mature Christians everywhere are plugged into healthy bodies of believers that are loving and encouraging each other to grow more in their relationships with God through Jesus Christ.
^The above principle is exactly what we want our students to understand and embrace as a discipline in their lives.
I’ll be teaching out of Hebrews 10:19-25, and 1 John 1:1-3 in order to show these truths from God’s Word. Please be in prayer for this lesson, and pray that our students (through our Church’s encouragement and your own) would be devoted to loving God’s people: the church.