Many ‘evangelical Christians’ view the local church as an option in their lives. You may choose to go or not. It is not a necessity in your life. It is said, ‘I can read my Bible at home and pray. I can worship God when camping or hiking. I can hear a preacher on the radio if I wish. I do not need the church in my life’.
In contrast, the Bible emphasizes the importance of the local church. In writing to Timothy, Paul describes it as ‘the house of God which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth’, 1 Tim. 3. 15 NKJV. This is a lofty description of the assembly, emphasizing its importance. It is also called ‘the temple of God’ in which the Holy Spirit dwells, 1 Cor. 3. 16-18. It is God’s house. It is a temple and should be marked by purity and holiness, a place of worship.
Believers are exhorted to be faithful in attendance at the meetings for teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer, Acts 2. 42; Heb. 10. 25. All four of these activities were part of the weekly meetings of the early church. These meetings will nurture one’s spiritual growth and maturity. The assembly is vital for one to develop spiritual gift and usefulness to God. Godly men will shepherd and keep one from straying from God’s truth.
Your loyalty to the assembly will reflect your loyalty to Christ. Does your life centre in the work of your local church? Or do other things come first: business, family, pleasure, sports? Do other pursuits have a priority in your life so that you miss meetings frequently?
Let us be loyal and whole-hearted in our devotion to our assembly family. In doing this we will be loyal to Christ Himself. And then all other things will have their rightful place in life.