We need to be clear what we mean by the church. It is not a building, or structure but rather the people themselves, who have acknowledged Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Next we need to be clear what God says in his book the Holy Bible. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 16:18 “…I will build my church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” Jesus therefore saw the crucial importance of the church being a body of His believers, so much so that Acts 20:28 says He purchased the church with His blood. Then in Acts 22:7 we hear that whilst Saul, later known as Paul, was on the road to Damascus Jesus said to him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul was in fact persecuting the followers of Jesus, namely His church, but the fact that Jesus took this as a personal persecution against Himself shows how highly He regarded His church. The Bible shows again and again that when people belong to Jesus they also belong to his church. The Apostle Paul’s letters are often written to church after church, such as in Rome, Corinth, Galatia and Ephesus.
Let us consider some of the reasons for meeting together as a body of believers. Acts 2:42 says “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship in the breaking of bread and in prayers”. It is so crucial to study God’s word, seek to obey it and also to share the life giving message of Jesus with those that do not know him. We must also as a body of believers continue to remember why Jesus died for us by gathering around the Communion Table until He returns, and uplifting each other and praying for a needy world. Proverbs 27:17 shows the crucial importance of meeting together as believers in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. “As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”.
A good example to show the importance of meeting together as a body of believers is that of various lumps of coal in a grate forming part of a warm glowing fire. Then one of the coals falls out of the fire that is in the grate and settles on the hearth area in front of it. Gradually, that one isolated coal loses its glowing warmth and ultimately burns out completely and becomes a dead piece of coal. Meanwhile, the rest of the coals in the fire itself continue to burn brightly. It is little wonder that Hebrews 10:24 & 25 states “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the day approaching”. That day being the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, the church we attend should firmly believe that the Bible consisting of both the old and new Testaments, is inspired by God. Every word is thereby fully reliable, inerrant and trustworthy and is our supreme authority for what we believe and practice.