"Why Go to Church?"
February 3, 2023, 2:05 PM

Why Go To church?

The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

Over the years, I’ve asked professing Christians why they go to church. Generally, the answers I’ve received are I go to church because God commands it; I go to church because I want to worship with the people of God; or I go to church because I want to be fed; I go to church for my children.

We know that God commanded His people to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The Sabbath Day was changed by the Apostolic Church to the First Day, Sunday, which is now the Christian Sabbath. Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is a weekly celebration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For the sake of clarity, the question regarding worship on the Lord’s Day should be understood in all its parts. My question is addressed to Christians, namely, those who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Therefore, it is to those who have been born again by the Spirit of God. God ordained salvation in the following way. First, He effectually calls a spiritually dead person to life. The effect of His call is regeneration. All men are born dead in sin. God must raise a sinner from death to life. This is what Jesus said is being born again (John 3). The result of regeneration is conversion. God converts a sinner to a saint by giving two gifts. One is faith and the second is repentance. Both are exercised by those who receive them. God then justifies a sinner through faith alone in Christ alone. Justification is a legal term representing God’s act of declaring a sinner to be in right standing before Him by only the merit of Jesus Christ. In this divine act, the Spirit of God covers the sinner with the perfect life of Jesus Christ and transfers the sinner’s sin to Jesus which is called double imputation. After justification, God adopts the sinner into His family. Those changed by God become heirs of His promise in Christ, namely heaven. Following adoption, God begins His work of sanctification. Literally, as justification covers the sinner with perfect righteousness, Sanctification is God’s action of making the sinner righteous on the inside. In sanctification, the sinner responds to God’s progressive work in him. God promised to make us more and more like Christ. The end result of sanctification is what is called glorification. God has promised us glory. Every believer will be in glory in heaven. The comforting fact of glorification is that God sees us as already glorified. I would encourage you to read Romans 8:30 and notice that all of the verbs are in the past tense, even glorified.

Returning to my question, a Christian is one whom God has saved. God’s logical order of salvation revealed in Scripture is God’s effectual call, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. Each step along the way is by God’s action. In other words, a Christian is one who has been saved, is being saved and will be saved by God’s grace alone in Christ alone through faith alone.

Christians, those made “new creations” don’t go to church. Christians are the church. Christians are the body of Christ having Christ as their head. The visible church, the one we see, is defined as those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and their children. Therefore, the question is not about going to church, but is about weekly corporate worship.

The heart of the matter is that God made mankind to worship Him. We will worship someone or something. Worship is to bow down to and serve the object of worship. The object of worship is God.

The worship manual of the Old Testament Church and the New Testament Church is the book of Psalms which provides an answer to my question. Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said to me, ’Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” God places in each believer a desire to gather with God’s people to declare His praises and to hear Him speak both in the reading of Scripture and in the proclamation of Scripture. As a result, believers are edified, built up in Christ.

Yes, God commands corporate worship. Yet, as a believer matures, he understands that corporate worship is more than a duty; it is a desire! So then, has God filled your heart with a desire to worship Him with other believers on the Christian Sabbath, Sunday?