Yes, Christians should go to church. I will give you the reasons, and I will give a small list of where some denominations go wrong in the eyes of God, or what they misunderstand. Now, I understand that God gave everyone free will. I understand that some people, due to work, cannot go to Church. (Photo Credit to Jennifer Barham Ministries)
But before I go any further, allow me to show you the faith of the withered man.Let us take a look at three accounts of the same event that occurred during the time Jesus was on the Earth. This is the account of the man whose hand becomes whole again.
Matthew 12:13 says, "Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other." Luke 6:8-10 tells us, "But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Arise and stand here.' And he arose and stood. Then Jesus said to them, 'I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?' And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other."
Mark 3:3-5 says, "And He said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Step forward.' Then He said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other."
So what is the pattern, between these three accounts of the same event? Jesus asks the man to do what previously seemed impossible. After this, he asks the man to step in front of the entire crowd, so that they may see. Jesus heals the man without touching him. This is merely one example of the power of God.
This man is an example of how all Christians should be. Some have work, some have other matters they cannot shirk from. However, even if that is so, you ought to at least be listening to a Pastor's Message or watching a Pastor's Message. God did not tell us to start churches for no reason. Despite the fact that this man had a "withered" hand, he still attended the synagogue.
He placed God before his own health, his own discomfort - his own shame. Folks, we should not use physical ailments as excuses for not going to church. Now, if you have a disease that can spread, that is another story entirely - if that is the case, you should still somehow get ahold of a message, we should all attend services when able.
In the words of Martin G. Collins, "The downside of missing services is that, eventually, spiritual problems with far more serious consequences will develop. No one can do much in service to God if he allows physical problems or handicaps to impede his worship and service of his Creator. In a sense, many of us suffer from withered hands. Sin so paralyzes us that we cannot serve God as we would like. Yet, anyone in God's church can be empowered to do the needed things for our Healer."
Put simply, it is a matter of faith. By answering the call of Jesus, the man steps forward and is healed. That alone was a test of courage in front of all these people, and it shows obedience to God. This man fully trusted God, as we should, and was healed.
So why should we go to church? Without church, we have a strong capability to fall away from God. Now, while you do not need church to be saved, it is a good idea to find a local church that teaches The Truth, and not false doctrine. Do not assume that you alone can learn everything about God by not going to Church, we should all go to church to grow in Christ and learn more that we can use to save souls.
Now, I realize that some of these entries are more "entertaining" than others, as some have said. That said, it is also necessary to touch on these things at times, for the betterment of our walk with God. Earlier, I mentioned that I would briefly list a few denominations and some of the issues with them.
Catholics. While this obviously does not apply to all Catholics, the basic belief is that Mary, mother of Jesus, is holy. I tell you the truth, she is no more holy than you or I - merely that God chose her to be his mother. So the Catholic church has developed traditions, such as mass, confession, that are not taught in the True Scripture. They add books to the Bible that are not of God.
To the Bible-Believing Catholics, I tell you this: Jesus himself says, "I am the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. NO ONE can come to the Father but through ME." (John 14:6) Another Catholic belief is that Jesus is the only son of Mary. Dear readers, this is not supported by Scripture. Mary and Jospeh went on to have Joses, Simon, James, Jude, and several other children. Jesus was called the FIRSTBORN son many times.
There are several verses that show that Jesus had brothers, but none of them were holy as he. Matthew 13:55 says, "'Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, [Also translated as Joses] Simon, and Judas? [Also translated as Jude]" Other references include Matthew 27:56, Mark 3:31, Mark 6:3, Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1, Matthew 12:46, John 2:12, John 7:3-5, Acts 1:14. Galatians 1:19, and several others.
As aforementioned, there are many other Catholic Beliefs that are not supported by the Bible. I will give one more example. They confess their sins to a priest, who in turn confesses their sins to God. God can only accept a confession of sins from that person. You can confess your sins to someone, but only you can confess your sins to God and be forgiven - if a priest confesses your sins, you are not forgiven. Only you can confess your sins to God.
Lutherans. Not all, but many, do not believe in the End Times. They do not recognize the signs given (see entry: The End Times, Part One) for the End Times, they do not believe in the Revelation given to John on Patmos, they do not believe in the Rapture or Tribulation. The signs are evident that these things will come to pass, which the Lutherans do not support. As I said, not all Lutherans share this belief, I know several who believe in the End Times.
Baptists. They believe that you must be baptized to get to Heaven. Aside from tradition, I see nothing else wrong with their beliefs. However, when Jesus said we must be baptized to get to Heaven, he clarified later on, that he was referring to the Holy Spirit. Once you accept Jesus, you are baptized in the spirit, and the Holy Spirit dwells within you until the moment you die. That is all Jesus meant when he said we must be baptized to get to Heaven.
If someone is baptized, it should be a choice of their own - as a sign of commitment to God. Many babies are baptized, and while there is nothing wrong with that, they should be allowed a second baptism when they are old enough to chose for themselves - you cannot get to Heaven merely by being baptized.
I need to point out one more thing. Yes, every denomination has their own beliefs. The only belief that completely sticks to The Truth is Christian. If you belong to a separate Denomination and believe that Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven and believe what he said, then you are saved. All I merely pointed out was misunderstandings and doctrine not taught in the Bible. What a Christian is is a follower of Christ - you don't need tradition or mass, or anything like that, to be saved or forgiven for your sins.
Now, the last point. Many Churches drink from a chalice for Communion. There are churches that use wine, particularly red wine, for Communion. Others use Grape Juice or something similar. What I want to point out is this. Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:20) When Jesus said this, he was signifying the wine as his pure blood.
Now, Jesus blood was pure. So I ask this: if Jesus blood was pure, why would he use fermented wine, which is wine in decay? He would not. Jesus probably used freshly crushed/squeezed grapes from the vine. Pure wine, that was not in decay. I say this not to harp on anyone, but to answer skeptics who say that Jesus drank alcohol. He did not. Jesus would not use wine in decay to represent his blood.
So was any of this an attack on personal beliefs, as some may think? No. It was an attempt to point of things that are often overlooked due to tradition. There is nothing in the Bible that says we need to use pews. Nothing that says we need to sign only hymns, and cannot sign "modern Christian songs." Should we be careful? Yes.
It is not mandatory for your salvation to go to Church. But it will help you grow in God and learn more, most of the time allowing what you learn to be applied to your own life and the lives around you. I tell you this, however: be careful which local church you chose, be sure that they teach the truth, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, that no one can come to the Father [God] but through him. Is it acceptable to be traditional, to use organs, sit in pews, sign from Hymn books? Yes. Is it acceptable to sit in fold-up chairs, sing along to modern Christian music (acceptable in the eyes of God), and have a band play instead of an organ? Yes.
So stop allowing the division among the churches to divide you. If you see false doctrine in a church, go to the heads of the church, and point out the wrong - but be sure to back up your claims with the Word of God. Again, the intention was not to "dog on" your beliefs or traditions, merely to point out inconsistencies, of which there are plenty more in many other denominations.
I would like to point out one more verse. Hebrew 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." The point that is made here is that by gathering, Church, Christians can grow together and grow in God. God himself is telling us that we should go to church.
If you believe that Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven, and he is, and you believe that he is risen from the dead, you will be saved. Confess your sins to God, not to a priest. Ask God for forgiveness, and ask him to become Lord and Savior of your life. I hope that this has helped in some way, whether if was educating, enlightening, or interesting. Feel free to comment below, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our facebook. God Bless You, and Take Care. Troy Hillman