Mostly when we consider “church”, we think of a worship temple, a sacred building, et cetera. We do not often associate ourselves as the church. Yet, every function that was released to the church to be within a community, individuals are called to be reflections of these functions on their own. Christian is more than a title. One of the basic beliefs of one who calls himself/herself Christian is that we have a Savior (Jesus Christ) who was born of a virgin, lived, and died, but is resurrected and sits on the right hand of God to this day. If you are not familiar with this story, you may find it in the Holy Bible’s books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). At the death of our Savior, He became a Spirit (also known as the Holy Spirit). As baptized believers, we have that same Spirit in each of us. Because of this, we are capable of the same works that Jesus performed in His lifetime today. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”(Mark 16:15-18). Unlike in the Old Testament, we do not have to go into the temple to enter the presence of God. The presence of God is in us. In Acts 1:2, after Jesus’ resurrection, it is noted, “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles who he had chosen.” By this scripture, we see evidence that the Holy Ghost that dwells in us can give us the ordinances of God. Similarly, Proverbs 3:1-4 says, “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour in the sight of God and man.” Here, we see that we ingest the commands of God, and keep them internally for automatic recall.
We know that commandments are extremely important in the Christian faith, and you are probably most familiar with the ten commandments, most of which begin with “Thou shalt”. Because the commandments were extremely difficult for mankind to keep, Jesus came to redeem man from his sinful nature. Hebrews 10:14-18 states, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAITH THE LORD, I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR HEARTS, AND IN THEIR MINDS WILL I WRITE THEM; AND THEIR SINS AND INIQUITIES WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering of sin.” Although Jesus came and broke us free of the Mosaic law, there is relevance to the commandments. Namely, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Additionally, Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14: 15). As an individual, you have control over these aspects of relationship with God. None of your ability to keep these commandments are contingent upon church attendance. It starts with you.
Because you can obtain and maintain the favor of God without visiting the church does not mean that you should not go. There are several scriptures that support church attendance. One of the most popular verses is “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24, 25). Therefore, it is important to be linked to a community of Christians after accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is no greater gathering of believers than those found in the church. Additionally, it is a place where people can share their testimonies. When we do this, it encourages another to be strong in his/her own tribulation. The church building is where those who deliver and explain God’s word may be found. In this atmosphere, you can hear the word of God, thus increasing your level of faith. “So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Hebrews 10:17). The church building is also a place where you may explore various types of ministries yourself. It is a place where you can exercise your spiritual gifts, and discover your life’s purpose. You also can help others do the same. Churches almost certainly meet on whatever day your denomination considers your sabbath day. The bible says in Exodus 20:8, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” In my upbringing, that day was Sunday. Remember, those who attend the church are individuals just like you are, and they require the same love and patience in working on their part to obey the commandments just like you. It is important to never get so consumed with the relationships within the church so much that you forget about the reason you are there. Yes, you owe respect to those who have charge over you (leaders). 1 Peter 2:13,14 states, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” So, whether in the church setting or on your own, you must govern yourself accordingly as an individual to carry out the requirements as set forth in the commandments of God.
In conclusion, Jesus sums up the law with love. It is my belief that He sees us all the same (Acts 10:34,35). Although He sees us this way, it is not up to us to disregard others and their position of authority in our lives. What is, however, important is how we conduct ourselves according to the example that Christ has set forth. Furthermore, it is important that we be an example to others who we’re exposed to as well (believers and non-believers). We love because He loves. Just because we develop an awareness of God, a Christian principle, or even a shortcoming that another has, it is not a license to execute judgement on our brothers and sisters. Our calling is to be the light to those in darkness not argue them out of it or shame them out of it. As an individual, the best way you can draw people to God is with how you execute love towards his creation.