By Not Known
Why do we go to church? And regularly? Some of us may use Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” as our answer. However, this verse gives us at best only a partial answer why we are going to church.
The Ten Commandments tells us to keep the Sabbath day holy. Within six days we are to finish all our work for the week and then keep the seventh day as a Sabbath to the Lord. It requires us as well as those living in our households (even the animals and aliens who live within our gates) not to do any work but to rest as the Lord rested on the seventh day (Ex 20:8-11; 34:21; Deu 5:12-15).
In the New Testament, believers had replaced the seventh day with the first day of the week, and use it to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:7 cf. 1 Cor 16:2; Luke 24:1). In other words, Christians commemorate a new Sabbath using the first day of the week instead of the seventh. We keep the first day of the week holy, observing it as a Sabbath to the Lord, finishing all our work for the week and then resting and encouraging one another as we see the Day approaching.
Since then, the Church had hallowed the first day, using it for rest and worship that includes the breaking of bread (Acts 20:7) – a term used for worship in general (Acts 2:42). However for some of us, the question as to why we go to church is more specific: Will we get to hear a preacher whose sermons can “bless” our souls?
It may not be wrong for us to look for edification. Indeed it sometimes becomes an important criterion for the choice of a church. I remember one of the things that attracted me to ORPC was its strong pulpit ministry and we praise God for the Word-centred preaching that builds up. However it would be another thing altogether to look solely for skilful eloquence and clever rhetoric in preaching alone and ignore other factors.
I believe that Paul was not always an attractive preacher. Poor Eutycus found Paul’s sermon to be so boring that he fell asleep to his death at Troas and had to be restored to life (Acts 20:7-12). Yet, on hindsight, it was Paul’s God-inspired words that survived posterity and that continue to edify us.
Let us go for God-centred preaching that builds up. But, let us also go to church for the right reasons.