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Why should I go to church?

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1. Because the Bible commands it

The first answer to that question is the most simple and basic one: because the Bible tells us to! In Hebrews 10, the writer tells his readers of the great privilege that is theirs. Because of Christ’s work, they — and we — have the awesome privilege to come into the Holy Place. He is referring to the Old Testament, where only the high priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies in God’s temple — and even then only once a year. The mind-boggling truth is that we as believers in Christ can come to the Holy God because of Jesus’ death. The curtain has been torn, and our Great High Priest has opened up the way for us to approach Him.

The writer of Hebrews then gives three applications, all of which begin with “let us.” Note that these are addressed corporately to God’s people:

  • “Let us draw near” (Heb. 10:22). Come and be cleansed by Christ and be forgiven.

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  • “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (Heb. 10:23). Stay strong, don’t give up, keep believing this message of hope.

  • “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). You do not and cannot live the Christian life on your own. In your coming to church, be other-person centered. 

The author then issues the command: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25).

The writer to the Hebrews places our going to church in the context of living out the Christian life — it is simply what Christians do. We go to church because it is for our own good and the good of others. Meeting together is how we keep pressing on as Christians in a world that can easily cause us to lose hope. The danger for the Hebrews and for us is that we neglect identifying with and participating in the body of Christ. It was unthinkable in the New Testament for a Christian not to go to church.

2. Because we are created to worship God

There is, however, a deeper reason that we should go to church than just that the Bible commands us to. We go to church because of the nature of who God is. He is worthy of our worship and our adoration. The reason we exist is “to glorify and enjoy Him.” God is our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.

In the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, God is “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth” (Q&A 4). Those who have been brought into a relationship with this God cannot but want to gather with others to praise Him. We were made to worship Him. 

We go to church because of who God is but also because of what He has done for us. The Apostle Peter tells us, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10). The Lord is calling out a people, “a great multitude from every nation” (Rev. 7:9). It has been a sign of God’s people throughout history that they have gathered to call on His name and worship together. We are first told of this happening at the end of Genesis 4: “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26). The very end of the Bible culminates with the people of God gathered together in worship. Revelation 21 gives us this picture of a bride like a city, with gates in every direction. This astonishing image shows us all the people of God, from everywhere, in every age, gathering to worship the God who is in the midst of His people.

When we meet together on the Lord’s Day with our brothers and sisters, it is a foretaste of that great day. We need to recognize that reality when we gather with the Lord’s people not only in our local congregation but around the globe, as well as with the church triumphant in heaven and the angelic hosts.

Our earthly gatherings Sunday by Sunday are meant to cultivate a longing for the eternal Sabbath. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath day was particularly characterized by rest. That aspect of the Lord’s Day still remains, and we are told to look forward to that eternal rest. But in the New Testament, one of the changes to the Lord’s Day is that it is increasingly characterized by worship.

3. Because it is a unique privilege and blessing

I am seeking to convince you of the privilege we have to gather as the church. It is utter madness to prioritize other things above the worship of God with His people. How else will you keep the fourth commandment if you will not gather with the Lord’s people? It is not a case of having to go to church; the wonderful truth is that we get to go to church.

You can come and gather with the church, even with all your guilt, fears, and anxieties. Come with your burdens and your problems. The devil often uses these to keep people away from church, but it is the very place you need to be. In His church, Jesus welcomes sinners, provides a place for us to rest, and refreshes us through the sacraments and the preaching of His Word. He beckons us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy, laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).

Hear God’s call to worship. Sing His praise. Confess your sins and hear Christ’s assurance of pardon. Pray with your brothers and sisters. Confess your faith with the saints down through the ages. Hear the Gospel preached and see the gospel in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. You cannot do these things on your own. God’s people are made to gather. They always have and they always will. When you come to church, you receive blessings from the Lord that you cannot get anywhere else.

God has promised that as His church gathers together, He will bless them in a way that is distinct from when they are on their own. Jesus promises that when two or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of them (Matt. 18:19–20). The Apostle Paul, speaking of when the outsider comes into worship, says that our prayer should be that he realizes what is always true: “God is really among you” (1 Cor. 14:25). In the book of Revelation, Jesus tells us that He walks among the lampstands, which are His churches (Rev. 2:1). He still does that Sunday by Sunday as His church gathers.

There is nothing in this world more wonderful than being part of Christ’s church.

This article was first published in Tabletalk, the Bible study magazine of Ligonier Ministries. Find out more at or subscribe today at

Rev. Paul Levy is minister of International Presbyterian Church Ealing in West London.

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