Nearly every preacher has heard dozens of times: “I don’t need to go to church to worship God.” The truth is, those who refrain from attending any local church seldom worship the Lord in any form. Moreover, it is highly significant that sincere believers, from both the Jewish Kingdom program and the Body of Christ, inherently gathered together for regular worship. Additionally, every letter written by the Apostle Paul was written either to a local church or the leader of a local church. This emphasizes that it is God’s design for His children to regularly link themselves to a sound local church, if at all possible.
Nonetheless, it was necessary for the author of Hebrews to write to the Kingdom saints, urging them “Not [to be among them who are] 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” (Hebrews 10:25). Why was it then, and why is it now, important to have regular fellowship, partnership, and ministry in a local church? Verse 25 describes the local church as a place of exhortation. The word “exhorting” means to call one near, comfort, entreat, or pray. Every one of us needs a place to belong with others. We all need comfort, understanding, and support in times of hardship or sorrow. God’s design is to help meet these needs through a regular partnership in a local church. These Jewish believers were urged to be even more faithful to the local church as they saw “the day approaching.” For them, this meant the hardships of the tribulations prior to the return of Christ in His Second Coming. We in the Body of Christ will be raptured out of this world before the Tribulation begins. As we see world events paving the way for the coming of the Anti-Christ, we too should be more faithful to the encouragements found in the local church. It is God’s plan to use the interaction within the local church to “provoke [or encourage one another] unto love and to good works” (Hebrews 10:24). It is also this constant contact with sincere believers, and time together in God’s Word that encourages us to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…” (vs. 23).
All of us need these positive benefits of the local church. If you’ve stopped attending, now is the time to begin again and become an example in faithfulness.
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