Monday, December 26, 2016

When are we to go to church?

  I was asked the other day why I go to church so much. My initial response was “first, because I want to and secondly because God has directed his people to assemble to worship him on the first day of every week (Sunday).” 
  The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews points out that some of the early Christians had made a habit of not assembling together (Hebrews 10:25), indicating that coming together as a group of like-minded persons was an essential element of having a good Christian life. It stands to reason then that not assembling together to worship is not beneficial to those who desire a strong Christian life.
  But how often are we to come together as a group to worship?  Acts 20:7 says
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.”
  First let us note that this verse clearly tells us that the disciples met on Sunday, the “first day of the week.” There is no indication anywhere in scripture of a single week in the year that the first century Christians were to meet. Some try to say that “the week” refers to a single week and thus we as Christians are only required to meet on Sunday of a particular week. Nothing in scripture supports such a statement and the original Greek text for week (“σαββάτων”) does not refer to a single week but a plurality of weeks. So we can draw the conclusion that the first century Church met on the first day, or Sunday, of every week of the year.
  There are two types of commandments we must follow as Christians. “Direct” commandments and “Inferred” commandments. Obviously direct commandments are where the Bible tells us specifically what we are to do such as to be Baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16:16). Inferred commandments instruct us 
indirectly, largely by what the Bible doesn’t tell us. Such is the case with the frequency we are to come together as His church to worship Him. In every instance the Bible speaks of the disciples coming together to worship God it refers to them doing so on the first day of the week and because we know it is not a specific week we can conclude we are to come together (or “go to church” as we say these days) every Sunday of every week of every year. The wisdom of this is also manifest when we realize that coming together with like-minded people is also a way of building us up and edifying each other as we face the trials and temptations to come each week.
  And going to church twice on Sundays and once mid-week? Well, I’ll address that in another blog entry. See you at church!

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