Why go to Church?

Worshiping with the Saints and Angels (610x351)This lesson topic stems from the idea that if God is a loving God, then why do we “have” to come to church? Like last week’s lesson on “God’s rest” for us from the book of Hebrews (4:1), we also look in the book of Hebrews to understand why God tells us not to neglect meeting together in worship.

Remaining in the Faith

Hebrews 2:1: Therefore [because Jesus is God] we must pay much close attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it [the Christian faith].

Prosecho: The Greek verb for “pay attention.” This was a nautical term that people used when they secured a ship to its moorings, so it would not “drift away.”

Ephesians 4:11-14


Ephesians 4.11-14 (2)


1 Timothy 1:18-19: [The Apostle Paul speaking to Pr. Timothy]: Continue to fight the good fight with faith and a good conscience. By ignoring it [a good conscience formed in the Faith], some people have destroyed their faith like a wrecked ship.

  • In Ephesians 4, we learn, in part, why Jesus wants His people to be “in church.” What are those reasons?


  • From 1 Timothy, can a person destroy his faith?


  • How does this happen?


Read Hebrews 3:12-15

  • Can one fall away from the faith?


  • What is to take place within the Church, so such falling doesn’t happen?


  • In particular, where is one to “hear” God’s voice in the New Covenant?


Growing in the Faith (Spiritual Maturity)

Hebrews 5:11-12: You have become lazy in hearing. Although you should be teachers by now, you still need someone to teach you the basic truths of God’s Word.

  • What had the people become lazy in hearing?


  • Where do you hear that?


  • What was the result of such spiritual laziness?


Worshiping with the Church Triumphant

In this section, the book of Hebrews contrasts the experience the Israelites had at Mount Sinai when Moses received the Law against what we experience when we gather as God’s people in worship.

Read Hebrews 12:18-21

  • What was the experience of being in God’s presence at Mt. Sinai in the Old Covenant?


Read Hebrews 12:22-24

  • With whom do we worship in the Divine Service?


  • Specifically, when does this connection with the saints and angels in heaven take place?


  • What makes this connection a reality?


Worshiping with Saints and Angels


  • When is the only time you get to worship with those whom you love who have died in the faith?


“Getting Saved”: Salvation is not only a one-time event

We now look outside the book of Hebrews for the purpose of going to church. 

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is a gift of God, not from works, so that no one can boast.

  • This shows that salvation is a past-tense event completely achieved by the grace of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18: For the Word of the cross [the preached Word] is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • This shows that salvation is also a present-tense event.

Romans 5:9: Since we have now been declared righteous by His blood [that is, saved], we will be saved through Him from the wrath of God.

  • This shows that salvation is also a future-tense event.

But what does the past, present, and future aspects of our salvation have to do with going to church? Well, if salvation is also a present-tense event, then how do we receive that salvation, here and now, in the present tense? We receive such salvation through what Jesus instituted His Church to do until He returns on the Last Day, when all God’s saints will receive the fullness of His salvation that He has for them.

Matthew 28:18-20: [Jesus speaking to the Eleven]: “As you go, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep everything that I’ve commanded you.”

Acts 2:38: [Peter preached on Pentecost day]: “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

John 20:22-23: [Jesus speaking to His Apostles]: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain them, they are retained.”

Luke 24:47: [Jesus speaking to His Apostles]: “Repentance into the forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in [my] name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Jesus commanded His Apostles (Luke 22:14-23) to celebrate the Lord’s Supper “for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

  • What is common in all that Jesus commanded the Church’s first pastors, His Apostles, to do until “the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)?


  • Where do you receive that?


  • Connect the forgiveness of sins and God saving us in the present tense?


As we approach to end of this lesson, we come full circle, looking again in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:25: “Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

  • Where and when do we “meet together”?


  • What is “the Day”?


  • How does that day drawing near encourage us?


Read Luke 21:25-28

  • For those of us in Christ, how are we to view the His return on the Last Day?


  • If our redemption takes place on the Last Day, what does that say about our salvation on that day?