To go to church or not to go to church?

I spent the day doing very little. I went to church, made a simple lunch and watched 2 movies on my laptop. Considering that I never watch television and hardly ever go to the actual movies, that’s something of a record. The movies I watched are God’s not dead 1 and 2. I realised how absolutely privileged I am to live in a place where there is very little official persecution. By official, I mean that people don’t get taken to court for speaking about Jesus. It’s something most of us take for granted. I remember the days when I was growing up how people who didn’t attend church were frowned upon. Things have changed a lot since then. There’s no more stigma attached to not going to church. It seems to have been watered down like a lot of other things. We have a huge traditional church right in the centre of our little town. It’s truly magnificent and has been declared a national monument. Unfortunately the attendance is very poor. The only time it is full is when there’s a funeral of someone who was well loved. A very sad state of affairs.
I also know quite a few people who don’t attend church, ever, but say that their affairs with God are in right standing. I find it hard to believe. By attending church I’m not even speaking of church in the traditional sense of the word. It can be a house church, cell group, fellowship group. I don’t think that any person all alone on their own can maintain a relationship with Jesus. No, let me rephrase that; I don’t think that any person who has a relationship with Jesus will want to be all alone on their own apart from other believers. How do I know? I tried it. I picked up some offence with the church I was attending and I stayed away for 18 months. I did not go to another church, I thought I would be fine on my own. Just me and Jesus, but I wasn’t. I didn’t stop believing and I didn’t stop reading my bible, I didn’t even stop witnessing, but I just didn’t have that same connection and joy that I normally would have had. It took another believer, who has since become a good friend, to make me see that I needed other believers in my life. And guess what? I went back to that same church where I had been offended and I went to the person who had been a problem to me and I asked for forgiveness. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but one of the most liberating.
Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 2 Timothy 3:1- , “For understand this in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” Verses 12-13, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
These are scary words, but they are true. Even though we are still relatively free of persecution, many people around the world are in danger of losing their lives for believing in Jesus. This is the time of choosing. Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision!
Make your choice and stick by it. Matthew 10:32-33, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Make the right choice before it is too late. God doesn’t want under cover, just me and Jesus, Christians. He wants people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in.