Why the local Church
By Pastor Henry Parker
I am a Christian, I am a faithful attendee of a local Bible believing church. You may say, “well, you are a pastor, you have to be there”! My faithful attendance to church did not start when I answered the call to preach, the truth is, I was already faithful to my God and His church. Granted I was eighteen and living under the roof of my dad and mom who made the house of God a priority in our lives. I am thankful for it, there is no doubt I would not be where I am today if my parents did not carry me to church every time the doors were open. I am not just talking about being a preacher, I am talking about being in the center of God’s will. I am in the center of God’s will today because of Godly parents who did not give me a choice when it came to faithfulness to the local church. In church, the Lord spoke to my heart through God’s man, our Pastor. I am thankful for the men who God used in my life, Rev. Harold Moore, Rev. Joe Haas, Rev. Earl Hanna, and Rev. Frank Rice. These are special men in my life, they were all of my Pastors growing up. As God moved upon these men, they preached the Word and God used it to mold our home and our hearts as a family. The Local church was a staple in our family just as it was a staple for the families in the book of Acts. Please understand neither me or my family is anything special, we were just obedient to God’s word and tried to live for Him as we served in our local church. As we continue on in our society and world, it has become more and more evident that the local church is being pushed to the side as we make room for sports, interests, hobbies, and other such things. So with this in mind, Why the local church?
1. Because it is just the nature of a true obedient Christian-
Many are starting to question if they even need to go, saying, “I don’t have to go to church to be saved”. I truly understand that I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus, and there is nothing I can do to “earn” salvation. However, the Bible tells us that, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). The Bible plainly tells us that once we are saved, we change and our desires change. There is certainly something wrong with our walk with God when we desire to be somewhere else than the house of God when the doors are open. Even David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). It is only natural as Christian to be in church, that’s who we are! I heard a preacher say one time if your faith is not strong enough to carry you to church I doubt it is strong enough to carry you to heaven! Church attendance is certainly a matter of the heart, is your heart right with God? If it is, according to Scripture, you will be at church on Sunday!
2. Because it is commanded-
Hebrews 10:25- “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” I remember growing up when I asked my dad why I had to do something and he would sometimes reply, “Because I told you so”. Dad was on to something! I was to do for him because he told me to, it was a command and it was dependent upon my obedience. Church attendance is truly a matter of obedience, “why go to church”, you may ask, well it is simple, because God said so! Let me pose to you a question, to not do what God has said is what? You guessed it…sin. When we lay out of church and choose not to go it is sin. Disobedience is sin, we can never grow in Christ when we are continually living in sin and being disobedient to Him.
3. Because the Word of God is preached, explained, and taught-
Romans 10:17- “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith comes by hearing the word of God and faith is strengthened by the word of God. There are many things from the Bible that I have learned in 28 years. I am 32 years old now and have been in church since I was 4. I have heard many a sermon, have heard many preachers in the time I have been to church and I am grateful for the eternal truths I have learned. Honestly there are just things I would not understand about the Bible if it were not for my preachers growing up. They taught me the Bible through their example and preaching. They certainly have been used of the Lord in my life to shed light on the Scriptures that I did not understand. I have received instruction, correction, and encouragement through the preaching of the Word at my local church. As a Pastor, I counsel many people, one of the things that I have noticed is that many of the problems we face and things we go through are addressed in the Pulpit Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I truly believe there would be less counseling if we would determine in our hearts and minds to be obedient to God and be faithful to our local churches. Please understand me, I realize that counseling is truly needed and there is nothing wrong with going to your pastor, and you should go to your pastor when needing help with life’s troubles but the very answer to your problem is found in the Scriptures, which are being preached three times a week in your Bible believing local church. The Solution to our country, homes, and hearts is found in the Scriptures. The encouragement you need is found in the Scriptures, be faithful to your local Church and receive the help from God you need! Even the Ethiopian Eunuch understood this point…
“ And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:30-31)
4. Because we should keep God in first place-
The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:33 to “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”. Colossians 1:18 tells us, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” The Bible is clear, Jesus and the things of God are to have first place priority in our lives. When we began to put others things before the house of God, what does that say about our relationship with God. Let me put it like this, let’s say you planned a date night with your wife on Friday, what if instead of the planned date night with your wife you chose to go to buffalo wild wings to watch the game with a group of your friends? What would she think? How would that make her feel? We all know the answer, she certainly would feel that she has taken second place on Friday night. Think for a moment, how does God feel when we lay out of His house? How do you think He feels when we choose temporal hobbies over an eternal Savior? God should have first place in our lives, you have a date with Him on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, don’t stand Him up! Make sure your family and those around you know who is most important in your life.
5. Because of our children, our future-
I look around and I see my age group, the 30’s and 40’s and I must confess that I quiver at the thought of the church in another 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus said He would build His church and He is doing it even in our church. We have seen a great resurgence of our college age and have seen many of them saved recently, that is encouraging to my wife and I and it gives us hope for the survival of the church through the next decade. However, as far as my age group, we are dropping the ball. What are we teaching our children when we lay out of church? What are we saying to them about the Lord when we skip church for a ball game or some other activity? Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that sports and hobbies are a sin in and of themselves, but when they pull us out of church they become sin and a weight that hinders us and our children spiritually. I would rather my child have a relationship with Jesus and be right with God and serving Him with the promise and surety of heaven than for him or her to have every trophy known to man and not have a real walk with God and not have the promise of heaven. Eternity is forever, eternity matters, this world does not. Your children need the local church the way we need oxygen! If we are not dedicated and faithful to the local church what makes you think your children will be any different. The facts are in, if you have taken a yard, they will take a mile. As a Pastor, I have seen this to be true. God has given parents a great responsibility…
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deut. 6:6-7)
God has given you a great tool to aid in your mission, the local church, you cannot accomplish this without it!
In closing, please know I don’t mean any harm, I truly felt lead to write this as a help to all who read. We truly must get back to a right relationship with God, we must quit living on what we feel, and start living on what God has said in His word. Please for your best interest and your family’s best interest, be in church when the doors are open!
Why the local Church