I re-read my notes on Acts, chapter 2 and was again hugely impacted by verses 42 to 47, which speak of the practices of the early church.
So here are some thoughts on the benefits of participating in the church from this passage:
- Instruction: “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching”. Psalm 32:8 says this: “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life I will advise you and watch over you’.” Let’s understand that God’s greatest desire is to teach you his ways and purposes. And boy, don’t we need it in these days.
- “And to Fellowship”: Church is family, and we benefit from friendship, serving, helping each other in times of trouble and learning from each other. I was speaking to a lady the other day who said, “I just could not survive without the love and support of my church family”. Amen to that.
- “Sharing in the Lord’s supper”: We deliberately choose to observe communion every week. Why? Because we believe celebrating the incredible gift of Jesus death and resurrection has huge power for our lives as we remember what Jesus has done for us.
- “Prayer”: Life without prayer is like life without air. We purposely pray for each and every one of you in our church family, and please remember we have a prayer team to pray for your specific needs. Just ask me if you have a request for the prayer team. Prayer works for sure.
- “A deep sense of awe came over them”: People need to experience God, and we are so blessed with the powerful presence of God in our services. The point is, you have to be there to experience it. Miraculous signs and wonders are birthed in church.
- “Shared everything they had”: God has given gifts to the church, and we all have gifts and talents we can share to make the church function at its best. We need to be there to serve the church in this way. Ask God what he wants you to do, or be, and then do it.
- “Shared their meals with great joy and generosity”: Hospitality and generosity are a hallmark of the church, and they set us apart from the world because we do this with a heart of love and servanthood to our family, friends and neighbours.
There are other benefits as well—for example, Worship (Acts 20:7), Pastoral oversight (1 Peter 5:1-3), and of course God’s command that we should participate in the life of the church. (Hebrews 10:25).
Let’s be obedient to the call of God to build his church.
I believe we are in a season where Satan is desperately trying to stop people attending church and fellowshipping together. He is trying to draw us away from God, whereas the Bible says we should draw near to God (James 4:8).
Of course there will be some good reasons for not being able to attend church from time to time. That’s understandable, but my encouragement is to maintain the discipline of being in God’s house. Remember, it’s a benefit.
I love what God is doing in our church and I’m really believing for an amazing future for us all as God’s people.