Post Author: Bill Pratt
I am speaking to the born-again Christian. Why should you go to church? Unfortunately, there are many of you out there who have decided that you no longer need to attend church, for whatever reason. You worship in your home, you read your Bible, you pray, so why do you need to get out of bed on Sunday mornings and go to church?
There are many good reasons for going to church, but I want to talk about one reason in particular. Here it is: your salvation may stall out, or, at least, fail to mature as quickly. Yes, your salvation. I know some of you are screaming, “Once saved, always saved! Going to church has nothing to do with my salvation!”
You have forgotten that salvation consists of three parts: justification, sanctification, and glorification. It is true that your justification is a one-time event, but your sanctification is a process that occurs over the remainder of your life. The New Testament actually spends far more time talking about your sanctification than your justification!
Sanctification is the process by which you cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more Christ-like. To become more Christ-like is to obey God’s will, to strive every day, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to do as the Father commands. If you are a Christian who does not want to do what the Father commands more and more every day, you have completely missed the plain message of the Bible.
So why might your sanctification stall out when you are not in church? Because you are not hearing God’s commands preached, in person, at all. How can you follow God’s commands for your life if you never hear them?
Some of you are again arguing with me. “But I read the Bible, I listen to podcast sermons, I watch preachers on TV. So, I am hearing God’s will for my life. I am hearing his commands.” Yes, that is true. Doing those things are certainly better than doing nothing, and you certainly sanctify your life by doing those things, but not nearly as effectively and as powerfully as hearing the Word of God preached, in person, face to face.
Why do people pay crazy amounts of money to go see rock concerts, to see comedians perform on-stage, to attend NFL games? After all, you can hear rock music for free, you can hear comedians for free, and you can watch NFL games for free. Why pay for these things? Because attending a live event is so much more powerful an experience.
I have attended a couple of NFL playoff games, and you cannot imagine the electricity in the stadium. The crowd is cheering, the stands are thundering – you can feel the excitement. It sticks with you and you don’t forget it. Why? Because it’s live!
Like it or not, human beings were designed by God to react more strongly, more powerfully, to other people when they are live and in person. A powerful sermon will absolutely stick with you for a longer period of time if you hear it in person; it will have a greater impact on your life. God’s commands will resonate more deeply in your soul when you hear it coming from your pastor standing 40 feet from you than when you see a preacher say the exact same thing on TV.
Nothing can replace the experience of hearing the Word of God in person every week. I listen to hours of Christian messages in the car every week driving back and forth from work, but when I sit in my seat on Sunday morning and my pastor starts preaching the Word of God, it hits me in the chest like a podcast rarely does. If you’re laying in bed Sunday mornings, you are robbing yourself of sanctification. How sad. Don’t you want to grow? Don’t you want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant?”