I am so thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ. I love it because Jesus loves it (Eph. 5:25a). I give myself to it because Jesus gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25b).
I’ve been attending church longer than I can remember. I am thankful God gave me parents who valued the church and its importance in their lives and mine. Faithful church attendance every Sunday was never in question in our home. I learned early on to set aside Sunday as the Lord’s Day and to make church a priority in my life.
It was in church I learned about Jesus and came to understand my need for Him. It was in church I was taught the great truths of the Bible and was encouraged to commit portions of it to memory. It was in church I learned many of the songs of our faith. It was in church I was baptized in water and later in the Holy Spirit. It was in church I received love and forgiveness when I had fallen short. And it was in church I found a family of believers who were there to encourage me and help me in my Christian walk.
It saddens me when I see Christians who seem to have little understanding or appreciation for the importance of the church in their lives. I’ve heard the frequently repeated excuse, “Well, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian.” That’s true. The Bible clearly states we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). Good works like church attendance never converted a single soul. At the same time, a lot of people could testify that it was a contributing factor in their coming to faith.
Going to church never made anyone a Christian. But going to church has definitely played a significant role in many people becoming Christians. Furthermore, it has played a major role in many people remaining Christians.
As we prepare for the New Year, let’s make a renewed commitment to faithfully attend and participate in the ministries of our church. I especially appeal to parents. Make church a priority. Teach your children, as my parents taught me, that nothing comes before or takes the place of church. Did I say nothing? Yes, I meant nothing. Nothing comes before it. Nothing takes the place of it.
They may not always like it. You may not always like it. But I can personally testify that if you will hold the course and value what God values, the day will come when your children will rise up and called you blessed!
Pastor Todd Weston