regular basis, then we are committing a serious infraction of God's Word. Don't take the command of the Lord to be in church lightly. Here are just a
few of the good reasons to worship in a local church that preaches the whole
counsel of God's Word, with a pastor and elders and deacons:
1. God will chasten us if we don't.
Although the love of God should always be our primary motive for obeying Him. Chastening and judgment for disobedience is also a good reason to obey Him.
Hebrews 10:26, 27 says, "for if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation…" Note the little word for at the beginning of this verse. It connects this verse to the previous verses as a conclusion to what was said in the prior verses. One of the willful sins found in this context is the sin of not attending a legitimate scriptural church. Willful sins of this nature will incur the Lord's judgment. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10)
For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives (Heb12:6)."
Our Lord Jesus bled and died for the church. It's called the church of the
firstborn. He called some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and
teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, and preach the truth in love so they will grow up in all things. He has a divine order for the blessing and growth of the saints, to shun the church is to shun the Head of the church. To ignore His mandate of fellowship in the house of the Lord is to make light of the body of Christ, especially once we know the verses of scripture regarding our being in Christ.
2. God tells us to attend.
This should be reason enough.
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24,25)."
Many people today, ignore the Word of God about church attendance. They make all kinds of excuses for not being faithful and regular in attendance. One of the biggest and best plans of the devil is to keep people ignorant of the Word and out of a good Holy Spirit filled, Bible believing church. Isolated Christians are easily confused, and led astray. Unsaved people are far less likely to ever hear the gospel if they are not in a church that preaches it. The devil comes up with some pretty good ideas as to why they should not be in a local church too. Here are just a few excuses contrived by the flesh and the devil.
"I was too tired", "I just turned the alarm off and went back to sleep and I
overslept (Hmmm I never oversleep on a work day, I know my boss would not buy this excuse, but I expect the pastor to or he'll never see me again.)" "I
deserve a break today," "I was forced to go to church when I was a kid, and it
has prevented me from ever wanting to go again" "We have church in our home every Sunday watching Christian T.V." "I had a little cold" "My cat had a
cough" "I feel closer to God out on the golf course" "I had to stay home and
wait for my kids to call" "All the church wants is your money" "I attend a home fellowship (Me and my family and the neighbors – no pastor of course)." "I couldn't afford the gas (but I could afford to run to the mall and all over
town on Saturday)"
The list goes on and on. The fact is many people are totally ignoring the Word of God regarding church attendance and church membership. Granted, some have had bad church experiences. They went to a dull, dead, boring, lifeless, social club called a "church" and said, "if this is all there is to it, what's the point?" I have occasionally gone to a restaurant that had lousy food, but that didn't stop me from going out to eat. I just went to a different restaurant with a better reputation the next time I went out to eat.
Most of the excuses don't hold water with God. Granted, sometimes there are legitimate illnesses, and circumstances that are beyond our control that are legitimate reasons whey we can't be in the House of the Lord. Reasons like a family emergency, being called in to work because of an unforeseen emergency, or a death in the family are obviously legitimate reasons. For the
most part however, we need to stop making excuses and obey God and go to
3. Being planted in a local church is vital for your spiritual growth and
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of
our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing (Ps. 92:13, 14).
Just wandering around from one church to another is not being planted. Attending a church as long as the pastor preaches messages that make you feel good, and then leaving as soon as he preaches something that is convicting or hard to take, even though it lines up with the truth is not being planted. Being planted means you make a commitment. Being planted means you have a church home and you are committed to stay there until the Lord moves you, and believe me, the Lord is not moving you every year. Being planted is putting down roots and taking a stand to be there no matter what.
In Ephesians chapter 4 God gave Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and
teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. This is
talking about in the local church he set "gifts" inside of men to train us and
equip us so that we can build each other up. We can't be a part of the mutual
edification of our brothers and sisters if we are never planted in a church
long enough to develop relationships and build each other up.
Ephsians 4:16 says: from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This sounds like people getting together on a regular basis and encouraging one another and helping one another. This sounds like people really getting to know each other and having the kind of Koinonia Fellowship that is mutually beneficial to real Christian growth. People are not really planted in a church until they start "doing their share" That means that they commit to help the church grow. They begin to serve and find their ministry gifts and help build the local church up into the spiritual house God called it to be.
Friends, please, don't let the devil rip you off from the blessing of being planted in a local church. Don't let one sermon you didn't like make you give up on the place where God planted you. Don't let the devil talk you into staying home Sunday after Sunday. Remember "It's the banana that gets separated from the bunch that gets peeled first." When you get isolated you are an easy target for the devil. When you stay planted in the house of the Lord you have the protection of the corporate anointing and the help of your brothers and sisters in Christ. You have the Pastors and elders watching over you and helping you walk the walk.
If you are not planted in a real (Spirit filled) local church with a pastor ( who
preaches the full counsel of God's Word) and elders and deacons then you need to repent of your rebellion and pray to God to show you where He wants you and then get planted. I will write more on this subject later.
4. Bear Fruit that Remains
It's great to win souls. I especially love those divine appointments where the Holy Spirit has prepared the person's heart to receive, and then has given me the privilege to speak to them the exact words they need to hear in order to lead them to receive Christ.
I had a divine appointment like that in China in 1986. We were on a bus on our way to minister in an orphanage. A lady got on the bus with a bag of bread and sat right across from me. She was breaking off small pieces of the bread and nibbling on it. I began to talk to her. The Holy Spirit told me to ask her if she had heard of the bread of Life Jesus Christ. She said she had not. She was in a Methodist church and even taught in a Christian school but had not heard that story. I shared the story of Jesus telling people He was the bread of life. I asked her if she had ever received Jesus as her personal Lord and savior. She said she had not but she had wanted to and had actually prayed and asked God to show her how to be saved. I told her that the Lord had sent me all the way from America to share the good news with her and help her pray to receive the Lord. I asked her if she would like to pray and receive Jesus into her heart. She said she would like that very much. We prayed and she asked the Lord into her heart. As soon as she was through praying with me, the bus stopped at the place she was to get off. I she thanked me profusely and got off the bus. I will probably never see her, this side of heaven, but I believe I will see her in glory.
I love these soul winning experiences. I've been blessed with many of them over the years. Nevertheless, I would rather get someone solidly planted in a
local church than have one of these "power evangelism encounters." Why? Because I know that when someone is really planted in a local church they are going to be a disciple and they will bear "fruit that remains." If they stay in my church they will learn how to win people to Christ and they will develop a heart for the lost. They will grow up in all things.
Jesus said, I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
One of the biggest deceptions in the body of Christ is the idea that once we are saved we can live however we want because we can't lose our salvation. This is the deceptive doctrine of Antinomianism.
Antinomianism is the Christian doctrine that we can live however we want and go to heaven. It holds to the idea that no matter what we do we can never sin away our salvation so we might as well ignore moral laws.
Many "Christians" today hold to this doctrine. The old Calvinistic reformers would have said that they were not saved in the first place, because a true Christian would not be able to think like that. The Armenianist would say that they lost their salvation. Either way I know that a person who lives like the devil is going to spend eternity with the devil if he or she doesn't repent. The Bible is clear on this point. I believe God is gracious and it takes considerable sinning to harden our heart to the point of denying Christ, but I believe it is possible. The Bible says it is so. (I Tim. 4:1; Mark 13:13; Heb. 10:39) I also believe someone is saved as long as they want to be saved and they are trying to live for Jesus even though they stumble and fall numerous times, but to fly in the face of God and rebel against Him and His word repeatedly can result in eternal destruction. The scripture above is very clear on this. Jesus didn't mince words. We must abide in Him, or "remain" in Him in order to have life. He is our life and if we cut ourselves off from His life we are dead ie. eternally separated from Him. Beware of the current, popular, theological deception called antinomianism which says, "that you can live like you want and go to heaven." You had better live like the Lord tells you to or you will not be a part of God's Kingdom ( See I Cor. 6:9,10; Gal.5:21).
Jesus is very clear on this point of submitting to His Lordship. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons
in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice
I said all of the above to say this to give you reason number five as to why you should be planted in a true, New Testament, Local Church .
5. The Local Church is a Discipleship Training Center.
Jesus said we should make disciples. You can't be a true disciple if you are not planted in a true Bible believing, Holy Spirit Filled, local church and submitting to the leadership and mentoring of the Pastor and Elders, Other 5 fold ministry gifts. It is more important that people be in the local church God called them to, than for them to have their "dream job" or anything other temporal thing. It is more important to be under a pastor who will train you and disciple you in the ways of the Lord and hold you accountable to live for the Lord than anything else. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? If you stay planted in a local church with a pastor who really knows how to make disciples and you want to know the Lord more and you listen to that pastor and do what he says, then you will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is what I am committed to help every disciple under my pastorate accomplish. Over the past 23 years we have planted 4 churches and pastored five. I have always endeavored to build True Local Churches that fit the Biblical Pattern found in Ephesians 4:7-16. I know that a true Church will win souls that become disciples (true followers of Jesus) and that these disciples will win more people to Christ and help them become disciples etc.
When you get planted in a local church and truly learn the blessings of being a disciple you will thank God for the revelation of the Local Church . The end result will be that you end up in heaven for eternity and you have the spiritual development necessary to lead others to Christ and help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ yourself.
I beseech you to get planted in a good Spirit-filled church with a seasoned
pastor that knows how to help you be all you can be in the Lord. Don't look
for an ear tickler. Look for men and women of God that will tell you the truth. Only the Truth can set you free.
6. Church is a healing center.
The Lord loves to manifest His glory when His people come together to worship. He is a healing God.
And Jesus went about all Galilee , teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:24)
The local Church is the modern day equivalent of the synagogue. Instead of a head rabbi, we have pastors and like the synagogue we have elders. Believers in Jehovah attended Synagogue. Of course hypocrites attended too. Today it is no different. We have the true believers and we have some who only profess Christ but live contrary to the Word. Jesus attended gatherings of believers. You might say "Jesus went to Church." Jesus is still going to "Church" or where
believers are gathered for church services, and when He does He heals people.
The Spirit of Christ is present at every one of our church services and He is
working through the pastor, elders and believers to heal other believers. This
is why I say Church is a healing center.
Make sure you attend a church that believes and practices praying for the sick. Expect people to be healed. When you're sick don't stay home unless you have something that is highly contagious, go to church, if you are able and get healed. If you can't go because of the nature of the malady, then call for the elders of the church and ask them to come to your home and pray for you. Believe that God will honor your faith and submission to the local church leadership and heal you and I believe He will.
7. Church is a place of encouragement and edification.
Christianity was never meant to be practiced alone. When we're walking in the Light of Christ we have fellowship with one another.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
When we're walking in the light we get together with other believers in a local church and worship and mutually encourage each other.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
One of the reasons we attend church is to exhort one another. I have often heard people testify that they were down, depressed, and discouraged when they came to church and the Spirit of God touched them and they left praising God, filled with joy.
When you feel like staying home is when you need to go to church the most. Never let the devil keep you out of church. The church service you miss is the church service you probably need the most. Each service builds wisdom and knowledge upon the teaching from the service before it. It is like building a house. You place one brick upon the other. Can you imagine a house with many of the bricks left out of the walls? That is how some believers lives are because they miss church services. They are leaving gaps and spaces in their training and development. There are missing bricks of wisdom and impartation missing from their lives. Satan sees these gaps and knows their vulnerable points.
If a believer misses the teaching on fear, the enemy attacks with fear. If they miss the teaching on bad company corrupting good morals, the enemy brings a scoundrel into their lives to get them off course.
Make sure you get every message the Holy Spirit gives to your pastor and elders to feed you. Don't miss one vital message. When you have to be out of church for vacation or business be sure to get the CD and listen to it.
8. Church is the place of Deliverance.
A lot of people don't believe in deliverance, but Jesus and His disciples did.
The New Testament is full of instances where spirits of darkness were expelled from people by Jesus Himself, and the apostles. Whether people believe in it or not, deliverance is real. The Spirit realm is real and even Christians can be influenced by these bad spirits. When these spirits attack people need help in getting rid of their oppression. I'm not saying a Christian can be possessed, but they can certainly be oppressed, and in need of help getting these little imps off their backs.
While this is not a teaching on the subject of deliverance, we need to acknowledge the power of the corporate anointing and the effectiveness of that anointing to lift burdens and destroy yokes.
It shall come to pass in that day That his burden will be taken away from
your shoulder, And his yoke from your neck, And the yoke will be destroyed
because of the anointing oil (Isaiah 10:27).
We were ministering in our church in Las Vegas about 10 years ago, and a man who was about 6'6" tall and weighing over 300 pounds came forward for prayer. Then a spirit began to manifest. He began to cry out and growl. I
commanded the spirit to loose him and go. He acted like he was going to hit me. Everyone became very quiet and focused on what the Lord was doing. Two large ushers came up and grabbed the man's arms because they thought he was going to hit me. I wasn't concerned. I knew the Holy Spirit would protect me. Nevertheless they restrained him while I commanded the spirit to lose him.
He was gloriously delivered that day. Everyone knew the Lord was in that place and that He is real.
Don't underestimate the power of a good Holy Spirit-filled church to set captives free. Many people's lives are changed.
A good Holy Spirit filled church can be of great worth in helping set people
free. Prayer at the altar is one means of getting delivered. Other times,
meeting with the pastors or elders in a more private setting and having them
pray for you and take authority over the works of darkness can be very helpful.
This is just another reason, people need a good Spirit-filled church with pastors who know what they are doing.
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Fellowship