Why Do We Attend Church?
What is the purpose of attending church? The common answer is, to make us feel better, or to give us a spiritual lift for the week. That is certainly something we all need. We want to be happy and joyful Christians and we need help to get through some weeks more than others. Life is brutally difficult sometimes. But do you know that is not the reason to attend church?
Attending church is not about us as individuals. It is about the group, that is, the body of believers. It is about others. This is made very clear in the book of Hebrews 10:24:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
We go to church to encourage others. The word for "stir up" is translated literally in the King James Version where it says, "provoke." We are to provoke each other! What does that mean?
The Greek word is "paroxysomos". It is a word which really means, sharp contention. It means to incite others--to be an irritation! Imagine that? We come to church to be an irritation to others! But not in the negative sense. The passage continues by clarifying what kind of irritation we are to be: encouraging and exhorting!
So it carries the idea of taking the focus off yourself cheering someone else on.
Parents need to teach this to their children. Children and teenagers think going to church is like going to any other event: If it is not fun, it is boring. They need to understand that cheering on someone else is not boring. They will never learn the purpose of attending church unless parents understand it and teach them the truth.
It is not about your child's happiness. It is about teaching your child to think of others and put others ahead of themselves.
It's a lesson we all need to be reminded of. Otherwise we will drift from church to church trying to find happiness for ourselves and attempting to appease our selfish children (and by the way, all kids are selfish until we teach them the proper way to act).
Finally, we are to come together and encourage each other because "the Day" is approaching. I think this points back to chapter 9:28 where the writer of Hebrews says, "Look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." This ties in with Titus 2:13 where we are look for the "blessed hope of the glorious appearing of great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
We are in the latter days. Look for Christ's appearing, and look to encourage others as we wait. Do that in Church this Sunday.