Is one REQUIRED to “go to church”? One can almost hear the lament or moan in the asking of the question. What a shame that some people, many people even ask the question. Yet, in the asking of it, it is very likely there is an exposure of one’s real desire.
If you say yes, there is a requirement, then you will be asked to show the verse that says, “thou shalt go to church!” putting such emphasis on a command/law, and little on the heart. There are a number of people who resist any affirmative answer to “going to church,” and this is because there is no desire to go. The reason they don’t want to go is because their love for the Lord is not as they think it is.
Can a case be made for attending church services? It is truly a shame that anyone would ask this question. But, it is asked, so let us tackle it.
Note where the emphasis is placed in the question. It is the word “required.” In other words, there are many people who do not want to be required by anyone, even God, to do something they have no desire to do. Of course, in this life, in our country, one can’t require anyone to “go to church” or attend church if there is no desire.
It is very often the case that with questions like this one we are considering in this bulletin article it is a reflection of an incomplete love or self-serving disposition of wanting to love God, but only to obey Him in so far as it is convenient.
For a genuine and true Christian, one not in name only, there is no other desire but to love the Lord and be with His people. Why is that? Note what the Holy Spirit says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:19-25, NET).
Do you love the Lord? If so, then why would you (or anyone) dismiss His exhortation as He expressed it here? If you genuinely love the Lord, you won’t dismiss anything that He said. In fact, there will be no “requirement” associated with it at all; it will be a pleasure! You will be there because you love the Lord, you will be there because you love the brethren, you will be there because of the encouragement given and received, you will be there because of the teaching received. On the other hand, if you say you love the Lord, but do not want to attend, the problem is and always will be you. RT