I should first state that I know not everyone will agree with this article and what John MacArthur is saying here and some might even be offended by it. I know a lot of people don’t have a church to attend for various reasons, some can’t find one that isn’t full of error, some have been hurt in churches in the past and are afraid to try again, some don’t want to submit to rules and regulations and want to continue to live the way they want and some are just satisfied to stay home and really don’t care to find a church. There are some people who can’t attend church due to sickness and that is a different matter altogether. I know there are some who are praying for a church and my advice to that person would be don’t give up and visit some until you find the one! Believe me God will answer your prayers, I was without a church for almost a year and continued to pray for a good biblically sound church and God led me to one and I am so thankful! Church is important for the believer and it’s important to God for the believer to be a part of one, this isn’t something that I am making up God’s word is very clear on this matter and it speaks for itself on this. There are many brothers and sisters in Christ who risk their lives in other parts of the world to assemble together because they don’t live in a country where they have the freedom to do so. We have the freedom to do so and we should exercise that freedom, our brothers and sisters in China and elsewhere would be overcome with joy if they could openly and freely go to church.
The following “Question” was asked of John MacArthur Jr., the pastor of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California. Copyright 2001 by John MacArthur Jr., All Rights Reserved.
Why should I attend church?
The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.
“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling 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).
It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow-believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another.
The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.
Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy special instructions about the public meetings, he said “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Part of the emphasis in public worship includes these three things: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can most effectively take place.
Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread; and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His body-the church is the local representation of that worldwide-body-and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.
Active local church membership is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board’s “MacArthur’s Questions and Answers” by: