I wish someone would show me in the New Testament where it says we are supposed to “go to church on Sunday.” My Bible says we who are Christ’s ARE the church. How can I go to something I am already part of because I am attached to Christ who is my Head, not to Paul, or to Apollos, or Peter or Pastor Wonderful? The best thing that ever happened to me was finding my sufficiency in Christ instead of in educated men.
I am sure that someone will try to answer the above “going to church” question with the trite answer, “Brother, we are not to forsake the gathering…” I agree, but since when is sitting in rows, staring at the backs of hundreds of heads while being lectured by one man being gathered together into the fellowship of the Father and the Son? THAT IS the context of this verse:
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh. (Hebrews 10:19-25 ASV)
As you can see, we are to gather together by passing through the Veil–the torn flesh of Jesus Christ–and boldly enter into the presence of our Father, where Jesus stands forever making intercession for us as our ONLY High Priest. It is in this kind of intimate fellowship with the Father and the Son that we are called to assemble ourselves to as members of HIS body. It is in this realization of our high callings IN Christ that we can truly exhort one another as a kingdom of priests and not just fill a common building one day a week, listening to a paid Christian lecture.
The next question that might be asked is, “If you don’t go to church on Sunday, then where DO YOU fellowship?” Do we come together with other saints on a regular basis? Absolutely! We spend more hours per week by far, fellowshipping around Christ with the local fellow saints, than those who go to meetings under the control of a single man and sit there as passive listeners! Is it always on Sunday in a steeple house that we gather? No. But Jesus said that “wherever two or three of you come together IN my name, I am there in your midst”… and it doesn’t get better than that! He directs our hearts as to when and where to come together and the only overhead that we have to deal with is restaurant meals and tips or contributing to a great home-made meal we share together as we speak often together IN His name.
Am I bitter against the organized religious systems of men? Not at all. God delivered me out of that systematized religious order. In fact He about had to drag me out of it. My wife, Dorothy, and I had gone to at least twelve different churches in the years following my birth into God’s kingdom. I was constantly “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” who walked in humility as Jesus did, but all these “church leaders” absolutely loved to have preeminence over the relationships that these saints had with one another and their Lord. They cast their own shadow over everything that happened in their churches. These religious leaders could be counted on to quench the Spirit if He tried to get a word in edgewise or in any way disrupt their pre-planned agendas.
God finally said to me one Sunday as I sat in a “service,” “Why do you keep seeking the Living among the dead?” Well, THAT got my attention! He showed me that unless Jesus is the functional Head over a body of believers and its members individually, and they are led by His Spirit in their daily lives, that “fellowship” is dead because those body members are disconnected from their Head. I had to come out of that system so I could learn to hear His voice as my Shepherd instead of constantly listening to the voices of men taking His place. For me it was like being “dried out” from an addiction. Now that I know His voice it is easy for me to discern when something preached or taught is askew. John put it this way:
“These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26-27 KJ2000)
Is going to a Sunday church bad? No, unless you settle for a relationship with a church leader instead of submitting to Jesus as your Spiritual Head. Paul wrote:
“For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 KJ2000)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 KJ2000)
Being divided along party lines (called a “party spirit” in the New Testament) is not natural to the kingdom of God, but it is expected and accepted among the kingdoms of men. The Spirit of Christ is the supply we drink from if we are truly His. We who drink from that ONE Spirit are ALL members one of another and rest in the unity of the Spirit of Christ and the Father before the throne of grace and fellowship around their love. We are truly ONE in the Spirit from which we drink.