A person once told me about a relative they had who went to church almost every week, and cussed like a trooper every other day of the week. This person who told me about her relative did not go to church but once in a blue moon, yet considered herself a good Christian. She made the mistake of thinking that I would agree with her conclusion that since she didn't cuss like a trooper, she was a better Christian than her church-attending relative. She made a second mistake. She asked me in front of several people if she wasn't correct in her attitude that you could be a good Christian and not attend church. What was I to say?
The Word of God says very plainly [Hebrews 10:24-25] that those who believe in Christ are to assemble together for mutual encouragement on a very regular basis. It also says in the same place that those who do not do so are guilty of considering the blood of Jesus as an unclean thing. It goes on to say that God will execute vengeance upon those who disobey this command. Therefore, though we cannot consider someone who goes to church on Sunday and cusses all through the week a good Christian, neither can we consider someone who doesn't cuss, nor go to church a good Christian. Good Christians obey their Lord's instructions and commands.
There are a great number of folks today who think that salvation by grace means it is OK for the saved to do as they please. Where does the Bible say that? Hebrews 10:31 says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God--and it says this to believers in the grace of God. There are a great number of believers in the grace of God whose lives are a total wreck because they are playing fast and loose with God's instructions. God is perfectly capable of letting life become a living Hell for people who want to live in disobedience, and He does.
When the Word of God says that we ought to go to church, it is not kidding. People who use the sinfulness of others as an excuse to be disobedient themselves are setting themselves up for the severity of God in His dealings with them. Do we think God is sympathetic with those of us who refuse to obey Him because others don't obey Him? The fact that we can criticize them for their disobedience means that we know disobedience is wrong. What do you suppose God does to those who know what is wrong, and then do it? I'll let you think about the answer to that.
The bottom line is this: the Word of God calls refusal to attend church a willful sin, a treading underfoot of the Son of God, a treating of the sanctifying blood as an unholy thing, and an insult to the Spirit of Grace. It follows those characterizations with the warning that God knows how to visit vengeance upon them. That is a strange sound upon the ears of people living in the latter end of the twentieth century, who think they can do as they please and live well too.
So we see that going to church isn't nearly the wishy-washy do-it-if-you-like kind of thing so many of us think it is. Will we see you in church this week?