1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” —Psalm 122:1-2
Notice how David says when they said, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” He was glad. The time had arrived for them to go inside! Are you glad when Sunday comes or when it’s time for your Bible study group to meet? It was always the pattern and practice in Scripture for God to meet with His people when they gathered to seek Him. And it’s the same for us! Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). And Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . ” (1 Cor 5:3-8). Jesus promises to be present when we gather in His name! Paul wrote that, assuming that the people accepted this as a matter of fact regarding their walk with the Lord. People like to argue that you don’t have to go to a church to be a Christian. It’s true that attending church doesn’t make you a Christian, but the Bible actually does say that all believers should go to church. In Hebrews we’re told not to forsake the “assembling of ourselves together . . . ” (Heb 10:25), meaning that we’re to gather together with other believers regularly for the purposes of praying for one another, encouraging and challenging one another, and it says that this grows ever more important as we move along in the Last Days.
Another objection put up by those who don’t agree with the idea of meeting with our believing church body regularly is that “there are hypocrites present.” That’s probably true. In most assemblies, there are what the Bible refers to as “tares” among the “wheat,” meaning that there are people who may appear to be saved, but in truth they’re not. One thing to note is that the stronger and more biblical the teaching, the less likely there are be “tares” in the fellowship, because the message definitely won’t titillate or flatter the “itching ears” crowd. Saints, remember this as you ponder these thoughts: the most important entity in the world is a Bible-teaching church. Even the tiniest among them is more vital to the world than the greatest of royal palaces on earth! This is because there’s nothing the world needs more than to hear the Word of God. They need this more than money and more than any other kind of “news,” and for one simple reason: the Word will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8)!
Just how important should attending our local fellowship be to us? In fact, our lives should be planned around going to the house of the Lord—and not going to the house of the Lord only when it fits into our plans. Hebrews 12 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24). So although we are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, we’re also the general assembly and the church of the firstborn. There’s nothing that will help you throughout your life, comfort you in your afflictions, or teach you how to handle your enemies better than hearing the Word of God faithfully taught. There is no single entity, enterprise, group, or organization on the earth that can contribute more to the betterment of society and the world than a Bible-teaching church, and we ought to be glad when it’s time to go into the house of the Lord, because there’s no place like home! ’Nuff said!
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