How easy it is to succumb to the privatized faith syndrome summarized in this statement: “Jesus and I have a good thing going and I don’t need the church to mess it up.” Certainly the church is always working to match its conduct with its creed. However, we can never give up on gathering together with others. The writer to the Hebrews challenged his readers who were facing strong temptation to forsake the assembly of believers:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Here are a few reasons why followers of Jesus make their corporate worship gatherings such a high priority:
- Corporate worship provides us an opportunity to demonstrate where our true allegiance lies.William Barclay offers this challenge:
“Even if the sermon be poor and the worship gaudy and showy,
faithful attendance of corporate worship still gives us
the chance to show the world what side we are on.”
- Corporate worship strengthens your faith in the promises of God. In worship, we sing God’s promises in our hymns. We plead God’s promises in our prayers. We listen to God’s promises in His Word read and preached. We see His promises dramatized in the sacraments. It is difficult to experience the full assurance of faith or the sturdy confidence of hope without the weekly rhythm of corporate worship.
- Corporate worship offers us opportunities for ministering to fellow believers. John Chrysostom describes how it works:
“As iron sharpens iron so also fellowship increases love.
For if a stone rubbed against a stone sends forth fire,
how much more a person in contact with a person.
It doesn’t have to be a fire that consumes and destroys,
but it can be a fire that warms and heats your love and devotion to Jesus.”