Introduction: Today’s sermon at The Donelson Fellowship is from Hebrews 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. I’d like to give you four reasons why I go to church.
1. Because of the Rhythm of Life that God Established. In Genesis we have the remarkable story of the creation of the world, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work He had done. He didn’t rest because He was tired, for God, being God, cannot grow weary. He rested to appreciate and enjoy what He had done in previous six days and to transition into the next period of time. He was also establishing a pattern of one day in six as a special day of rest and worship. When the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus 20, the fourth one said: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, the first day of the week, instantly Christians began observing Sunday as their Sabbath, but the pattern was the same: One day in seven as a day of rest and worship. It is built into the rhythm of the universe, and it’s built into the pattern—into the pace and pulse—of our bodies and souls.
2. Because of the Pattern of Worship that Scripture Prescribes. Luke 4:14-18 says: Jesus… went to Nazareth where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath Day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written…. Most scholars believe synagogues developed during the Babylonian Captivity of the Old Testament days so the Jewish people could gather every Sabbath in various places for worship. Three things happened in those synagogues each week—praise, prayer, and precept. The early church was made up almost entirely of Jewish people who had declared the Messiah as Lord and Savior. So they began meeting according to the only pattern they knew—on the Lord ’s Day in assemblies for praise, prayer, and the instruction of Scripture.
3. Because of the Family of God that Christ Has Created. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) says: His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. Rick Warren wrote about this in his Purpose-Driven Life: “The moment you were spiritually born into God’s family, you were given some astounding birthday gifts: the family name, the family likeness, family privileges, family intimate access, and the family inheritance. The Bible says, ‘Since you are His child, everything He has belongs to you.’” Now, what would you think of a child or a family member who, every night at supper, came and filled up his or her own plate and went back to their room and ate in silence and along while the rest of the family laughed and talked at ate at the dinner table? There’s no such thing as a solitary saint. Christianity is all about relationships. The phrase “one another” occurs about 50 times in the New Testament.
4. Because of the Work of God to Which I Am Called. One of the reasons I believe in the local church is because it is the only institution that Jesus Christ established on this earth. Jesus did not establish hospitals, civic clubs, mission agencies, Bible colleges or crisis pregnancy centers. He did not establish para-church organizations or NGOs. He just established local churches. Now, it’s true that many of these other organizations come out of the local church and are sponsored by the local church. But the local church is Ground Zero for God’s work on this earth. The church is God’s agenda for this world.
Conclusion: I need a weekly counter-cultural experience to counter the culture that I’m in. I need to counteract the popular culture in my life. When I go to church, I’m participating in a global weekly network of a billion people who are doing the same thing at the same time; I’m participating in an ancient practice that goes back to the origins of the church and indeed to the very beginning of the creation and involves all God’s people of every epoch and age; and I’m involved in a habit which the Bible says is increasingly vital as time draws to a close. Regular church attendance honors the rhythm of life God has established, the worship Scripture has ordained, the family Christ has formed, and the mission for which we’re placed on this planet.