In recent years, the face of the church has made some dramatic changes. Although the order of worship hasn't been altered since sometime after the Apostle Paul was promoted to Glory, the face of the church has had a face lift or two.
Every week, millions of people around the world attend a Sunday worship service. Most stay for and hour or two, sing some songs, hear a sermon, and return to the grind of daily life. Unfortunately, many people go to church out of guilt and all too many feel like Sunday attendance somehow makes them "right with GOD" for the week.
So why do we go to church? And why was church as we know it instituted in the first place?
A couple thousand years ago, Jesus left his eleven disciples. Imagine the task ahead of them as they tried to apply the last three years experience of ministry with Jesus. Their first attempt at "church" is outlined in Acts chapter 2. Verse 42 and beyond says, They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer... All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
The Apostles devoted themselves to four things: the Apostles' teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. You will find at least three of these things in most churches today. The one that perhaps best answers the question "why go to church?" is devotion to "the fellowship."
The apostles didn't devote themselves to the act of fellowship, but rather to the fellowship itself. In essence, they devoted themselves to each other. "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."
This early church was indeed a family; they lived together, worked together, and took care of each other. In today's world of mass transit and transitory church attendance, many have lost the sense of family within the church. It should be the goal of every one of us to devote ourselves to each other, help those who are in need, and take a vested interest in each other's lives this year.
Be encouraged this week to truly make The Rock Church your home and family.