By Ron Bartanen
Many reasonably good people seldom, if ever, “go to church.” Meeting with others to study the Bible, God’s Word, and to publicly worship Him is something easily ignored in our busy world. To these, church is where you go for a wedding or a funeral, but little more.
The early Christians didn’t just “go to church” – they were the church. They were the ekklesia, the “called-out-ones”, called out of the world by the gospel of Christ to be a light to the world. They were a community of believers, commonly referred to as “the body of Christ” and even “the bride of Christ.” In Christ, they were bound together in “one body. And one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism” and “one God.” (Eph. 4:4-6) As such, to not meet with other Christians to encourage one another and jointly express their devotion to the Lord was not considered an option.
Had not the Lord said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them?” (Matt.18:20) Had He not instructed them in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper, saying, “Do this in remembrance of me? (Lk. 22:17-22; 1 Cor. 11:23-26) From the first, the church, consisting of penitent baptized believers, “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
Acts 20:7 tells us that:”Upon the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread.” Christians who were becoming neglectful were admonished, “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25)
Christians are not called to be “lone rangers” in a world hostile to God, but to be bound together with brothers and sisters in Christ in a common struggle. Sharing together in worship and in the Word of God should be something much desired by those who love the Lord.