We may be living in one of the last few generations in history just prior to the Lord’s return, or we may in fact be the generation that is caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Although we don’t know the day and hour of Jesus’ return, we can use the discernment given by the Holy Spirit to understand the times and see the day approaching.
I’m just one among many Bible teachers who believe we are living in the days just prior before the Lord’s return. As we see the day approaching, I want to warn you about forsaking Christian fellowship as some are doing.
With the U.S. general election behind us, I’m worried that many born-again believers will be mistakenly lulled into a state of apathy because they feel we may have bought just a little more time. The person seated at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. can’t bring lasting peace to the world and has no control over the day or hour of the Lord’s return. The one seated on the throne has complete control and lasting peace will only come when the Prince of Peace reigns.
It’s seems that many Christians are breathing a sigh of relief and feeling a sense of ‘peace and safety’ in recent weeks. I want to remind you that ‘the Day’ is still approaching and knowing that should give every believer greater resolve to meet together on a regular basis.
“Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25-26)
Church attendance has been an essential part of Christian life since Pentecost. The writer of Hebrews warned 1st century believers not to forsake assembling together as some were doing. The warning rings true today because we are twenty centuries closer to the Lord’s return and we clearly see the day approaching or drawing near as some translations say.
While it’s true that all born again believers around the world make up “The Church.” These believers can be found in local churches scattered across every state and country. These local bodies of Christians are made up of large churches, small churches, and even house churches. In certain towns and regions including here in the U.S., it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a church that simply teaches the Bible and the centrality of Jesus.
In order to avoid a growing number of apostate churches, many home based churches are flourishing and if there is godly leadership and solid Bible teaching, home churches certainly fit within the New Testament framework to assemble together as the Body of Christ.
Before we continue looking at the absolute necessity of church, I want to briefly mention what church is not. Church is not meeting with your Christian golf buddies at Starbucks or having ladies fellowship at Barnes and Noble. Church isn’t deciding stay home like a hermit month after month to be entertained by televangelists.
You can’t call personal Bible study at home assembling together. Moreover, you are an integral part of the Body of Christ and that’s why you need to actively pursue assembling with other believers. The Lord has equipped you with certain gifts to use in the church for His glory.
If you are disabled and it’s difficult or impossible to get to a local Christ honoring church, there are many solid churches who live stream their sermons. Many of these churches offer ministries that go into the community to visit believers who are unable to come to church.
As a Christian, maybe the Lord will use you to serve communion to, pray with, teach, and encourage a home bound brother or sister in Christ. If you are homebound and need help finding access to solid Bible teaching online, you will find some ministries on our resource page that offer videos, downloads, podcasts, and live streaming of sermons.
Whole volumes could be devoted to the absolute necessity of church attendance. For the sake of brevity, we will focus on one key element of being part of a local body of believers. Discipleship is paramount when it comes to reasons for assembling with other believers. Discipleship is so critical in the life of a believer that it is one of the last things Jesus mentions to his followers.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Being a disciple requires one to yield completely to God’s will and not our own. As a disciple of Jesus, we are identified in and through Him. He is preeminent in all things and His teachings are the core of everything we believe. We are to be in Him which means we are abiding in Christ.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are His disciple. He told us to go and make disciples. From this we know we must go and evangelize to bring the good news to others.
Once they have believed on the Lord Jesus, that will be where making disciples begins. This is why the local church is critical. It seems that some if not many have come to make some sort of commitment to Christ only to quickly fall away. Oftentimes, these new converts will not find a church home or lacking discernment, will wander into a church that teaches a different gospel than the Bible teaches and that is tragic.
If you are a Christian who is witnessing and evangelizing people, please remember it is critical to get new believers plugged into a solid Bible believing church where Jesus is central. Discipleship comes in the form of Bible teaching, encouragement, and living before others as a godly example.
This is the beautiful reality of the local church: a new Christian is awash in solid Bible teaching, discipled by mature believers, covered by prayer, and accountable to others. There is a godly shepherd in the pastor and elders who are charged with your care.
It must be restated that there Large, small, home based, and all sizes in between of churches that demonstrate what a Jesus centered fellowship of believers looks like. Friends, I have had brief seasons in my life where I was unfortunately disobedient and didn’t make my local church and Christian fellowship a priority.
I can tell you from experience, a slow drift does occur away from the Lord and His will. The opposite has proven true when I’m actively plugged into a solid local church. I’m close with the Lord and in the center of His will.
Attending church doesn’t make us a Christian, rather being a Christian causes me too long for fellowship with the brethren. We don’t long for a building, we long to fellowship with other believers who make up the Church.
It’s completely understandable if a dear Christian brother or sister can’t attend church because of a disability. It’s something altogether different when apathy, laziness, or being neglectful keeps you away from Christian fellowship. Concerning The Times and our ministry friends on our resources page are excellent places to access solid Bible teaching, but we are not to be a substitute for your local church fellowship.
As we see the Day “approaching,” we can’t afford to neglect meeting together. We assemble to spur one another to good works, for encouragement, and to make disciples of others. I believe as we look at the conditions in the Middle East, global economy, social and civil unrest, and see violent extremism creep west, these are just a few of the obvious signs to Christians of Jesus’ soon return. The pattern set for us by the apostles and early church is clear, we cannot neglect to assemble together.
On a personal level, I think it’s almost impossible to stand firm, but very easy to fall away without the Body of Christ. This is very evident as we approach the end times because it’s increasingly popular to pursue spirituality, which is a different gospel than Jesus taught.
We need Christian fellowship, discipleship, and our local church to encourage us to finish well as we see the Day approaching. No church is perfect, but is crucial you find a local Body of believers where Jesus is center and solid Bible teaching is paramount.
All for Him,
Concerning The Times Ministries