GET ACQUAINTED: Kids: How do you feel about going to church?  Adults: How did you feel about going to church when you were a kid?

SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42-47

REVIEW:  The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth.  The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42 ).  We should follow that example of devotion -- and to the same things.  Back then, they had no designated church building, but “every day they continued to gather together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46 ).  Wherever the “gathering” takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.

Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers.  Hebrews 10:25  says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers.  The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go.  We need the encouragement that church attendance affords.  And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church. Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12 ), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13 ), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24 ), serve one another (Galatians 5:13 ), instruct one another (Romans 15:14 ), honor one another (Romans 12:10 ), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32 ).

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ: Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it”  
(1 Corinthians 12:27 ).  For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working: 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”  (1 Corinthians 12:14-20 ).

It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (see Ephesians 4:11-13 ).  A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers: 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  (1 Corinthians 12:21-26 ).

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church: For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6 ), and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5 ).  As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”

Used by permission and excerpted from gotquestions.org

GET IT: What is the “church” supposed to do?  How would you define the “church”?  What would you tell someone who would say, “I don’t need to go to church on Sunday? I can worship God anytime or anywhere – like the mountains or the lake”? 

DIG DEEPER:  What stands out to you in Acts 2:42-47 ?  The Bible tells us we need to gather as a “church”, so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth.  Do you agree or disagree with that statement?  Why or why not?

APPLY: What are your feelings about this statement, “Every Christian without a church is a spiritual orphan.”  People miss gathering as a church on Sundays for many different reasons.  How faithful are you to worship services?  What are some legitimate reasons to miss worship services?  How does that match up with your excuses?