The Bible does not often speak about the importance of churches. But the instructions in this verse are clear. It is important for Christians to meet together. They need to speak to each other, to encourage each other in their relationship with God. The word for ‘encourage’ here is the same as in Hebrews 3:13. So, at their meetings, Christians should use words that will have an effect on each other. Sometimes they should encourage each other, but sometimes they must warn each other. But always, their desire must be to help each other. Love should always guide their words and actions.
The author gives a special reason why Christians should go to church. ‘The day’ is becoming nearer. He means the day when Christ will return to rule the world. On that day, Christ will carry out his judgement against the evil forces that have ruled this world so cruelly. Sometimes events in our world remind us that ‘the day’ is near. And then especially, we should want to meet with other Christians.
There are many other reasons why Christians should meet. Our meetings are an opportunity to learn about God and about the Bible. Christians should pray at all times, not just at church (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But since the beginning, Christians have wanted to pray together (Acts 1:14). Also, Christians meet to share bread and wine in the ceremony called Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-28). And there are other reasons too.
The Bible does not say that Christians have to meet on Sundays. But the first Christians chose Sunday as a special day for prayer and for their meetings (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10). That was the day when Christ became alive again after his death (John 20:1).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.