Can you be Christian and not go to church?
Many people complain that going to church is a waste of time. They complain that the church consists of too many hypocrites. Why go there, if we can worship God also at home? Is it really necessary to go to church? What do the Scriptures say about that?
It is true that being a Christian means first and foremost to have a personal relationship with your Saviour Jesus Christ. Matt 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” NIV Nothing is more fulfilling to have Jesus as your friend, and have Him guide you. The world can take our job away. It can also take our possessions and our family away. It can even take our church away, but nothing and nobody can take that relationship with your Maker away. This is why so many Christians can endure the persecutions they are undergoing!
Please note that Mat 6:33 does not say “Seek only”. It says “Seek first”. There are other aspects in our Christian life that we need o seek. Is going to church one of them?
As being a Christian means to follow Jesus’ example (What would Jesus do?), let us see what kind of example He demonstrated towards the church of His time while He was in Israel.
Luke 4:16-22 “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.” NIV
It was Jesus’ custom to go to church. Was His church any better than ours? What did Jesus have to say about it’s leaders? Matt 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” NIV
It doesn’t seem that the church in Jesus’ days were exemplary. Even in those days there were a lot of hypocrites, even among its leaders! Did this stop Jesus from going to church? No. If it didn’t stop Jesus, our example, from going to church, why should it stop us?
Notice what Jesus did when He went to church: He testified about His father! What a great opportunity to share the gospel! As the church does not consist of perfect people, but sinners, many do not have a personal relationship with their Maker. We can be detrimental in helping them find Jesus in their life. Didn’t Jesus use this opportunity of going to church to share the joy of knowing God?
Now, did Jesus’ disciples go to church after Jesus’ ascension to heaven or did they stop altogether from going to church at all?
Luke 24:52-53 “Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” NIV
Even the disciples went to church continually after Jesus ascension to heaven. They used this as a way to praise God and share their joy with others.
Were there any hypocrites and sinners in the early church? Absolutely! 1 Cor 5:1-2 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?” NIV This is but one reference to hypocrites and sinners being present in a certain church. There were many other cases listed in the New Testament.
You see, not all those who go to church are saved. The church consists of sinners and God gives us the opportunity to be blessed by helping those people find Jesus in their life, while praising God at the same time! Praise be to God!
What are some reasons to go to church, besides following Jesus’ example?
Ps 84:4 “Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” NIV
There is a blessing uttered to those going to church! It’s a great place to praise God and share your joy with others!
Mic 4:2 “Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” NIV
At church God will teach you His ways as you hear His Word being spoken and it will give you direction for your week. No matter how bad the sermon is, or how hypocritical the congregation is, God will use some aspect of the service to speak to the heart of the sincere seeker of God’s presence.
Heb 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.” NIV
It is also a place where you encourage one another and give each other support by listening to one another, helping one another, loving one another and pray for one another.
My friend, you do not need to carry your burdens all by yourself. Great support is available at your church. Yes, there are hypocrites, but there are also some genuine Christians available. Help is available. Why not reach out to that help?
Maybe you are wondering how you can share your faith with others? Again the church is a great place, as many that come are unsaved. Why wait any longer? Come and join your local church and feel blessed by the Lord Himself. If you don’t know Jesus, why don’t you invite Him in your heart right now? Answer His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html.
Yes, one can be a Christian and not go to church. After all, it isn’t the building that we worship in that makes us a Christian. A ‘church’ is not a ‘place’ or ‘building’ that one goes into; the Christian people ARE the church. However … Christians are instructed in the New Testament to ‘assemble together’ (Hebrews 10:25). So, again, yes you can be a Christian and not go to church on Sunday, but if we are to assemble together to worship Him, what better place to do so?
Yes. What were the first churches but homes. Sometimes the building can be a distraction from the purpose of worship. I do go to church, however I remain focused upon the purpose. Worshiping with my fellows.
Also, Christ spoke to the 5,000 outside. Maybe we should define church as a place of worship rather than a building. The place can be inside or outside. I do believe we must worship with others.
I heard a story once about a WWII soldier in the island hopping campaign who realized he hadn’t taken communion in some time. He was not certain of the day, but he put some water in the lid of his canteen and prayed over it in his foxhole. He did the same with a cracker. Was this church? Yes indeed. It may not have been Sunday, but he set some time aside for worship.
Can you be a car and not be parked in a garage. John 20:31 These things are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.. (might not be time to go to church after believing and receiving Jesus, but you are still a Christian after believing and receiving Jesus ROMANS 4:4,5 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt, but to him that worketh NOT but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness…
Yes you can be a Christian without going to church, but God said assemble yourself in his house and this is to make you a better Christian and also that’s how we are fed on his word. Going to God’s house will bring you closer to him and then you also can understand his Word better. The bible is like any other study you need to read it and understand it. It’s God’s word so I say yes, but still you need to be in God’s house when the doors are open.