A Christian is a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ. You become a Christian when you understand and accept as true these biblical truths: you have sinned against a holy God; the just penalty for your sin is eternal judgment in hell; there is absolutely nothing you can do to make things right between you and God; Jesus Christ, the God-man, lived a perfect life, died for your sins, and was raised from the dead; the only way you can be delivered, saved, from sin’s power and penalty is to turn from it completely and trust entirely in Who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross.
The moment you become a Christian, many wonderful and amazing things occur: you are united forever with Christ; you are declared righteous before God; you are placed into God’s family as an adopted son, gaining all the rights and privileges that come with that; and God begins a work in you of setting you apart from sin to Himself. Your relation to God is completely changed, and that for the better!
What about your relation to other Christians though? Do you need them? Do they need you? If you are a Christian, you do need other believers. God expects believers to grow in their faith and to do so by growing together in God’s Word. The growth and protection Christians need to experience occurs as believers assemble together as a local church—it won’t happen by individuals or families attempting to do it on their own. Christians and Christian families need each other to grow in their Christian faith.
This isn’t ultimately an issue of joining an organization as if it were a civic or social institution. This is an issue of your obedience to Christ and attitude toward Christ’s people. I’d like you to consider six reasons why you need the fellowship of other believers if you are one of Christ’s followers:
Believers Are Known As The Church
In the New Testament, Christians are always identified with other Christians. The images used to describe this essential relationship between Christians are a body and a family.
The Bible describes the believers in Rome as being “one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5). It describes every Christian in Corinth as being essentially connected to each other—“the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body…the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 21).
Almost 250 times in the New Testament Christians are called “brother,” “sister,” or “brethren.” These Christians were from different cultures, backgrounds, and races. In a single church fellowship there would be men and women; poor and rich; slaves and masters; Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Yet they were “brothers,” “sisters,” and “brethren.” It didn’t matter what their status was in this world because they were related to each other in Jesus Christ: “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).
Christians associate with and are committed to each other simply because they are Christians! That’s what Christians do because that’s who they are—a body and a family.
Believers Assemble To Grow In Their Faith
Being a disciple involves following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Since Christ ascended into heaven, how are Christians to realize God’s plan for their life of being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)? How is a believer to grow in his faith?
Right after Christ ascended into heaven believers were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Christ provided believers, the church, with pastors and teachers “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
Not only do believers assemble together to hear and learn from the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, they are actively involved in helping each other to grow in their faith—“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Learning more and living more like Jesus Christ has an important effect: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). The result of growing stronger in one’s beliefs and Christian life is protection from wrong teaching and living. You will only be conformed to the image of Christ as God intended when you assemble with other believers and grow in God’s Word.
Believers Assemble To Obey Jesus Christ
Jesus gave believers special instructions before He ascended into heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Read the book of Acts and you’ll see that as Christ’s commission was carried out it resulted in people being saved, baptized, and organized into local churches. Then these believers who assembled together carried out Christ’s commission by spreading the gospel in their region (1 Thessalonians 1:8).
Jesus also expects believers to remember His death and look forward to His return by observing the Lord’s Supper. In the New Testament, whenever the Lord’s Supper was observed it was when believers assembled together (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The New Testament teaches that obeying Jesus Christ’s orders was accomplished by Christians who had gathered together for that very purpose. This is how God expects His work to be done!
Believers Assemble To Worship The True God The Right Way
When the Bible speaks of believers worshiping they worship together (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; James 2:2). This isn’t to say that you can’t worship God alone in your car—you can! Rather, almost all of the biblical references to believers’ worship are when they have assembled together for that very purpose.
Christian worship consists of believers’ joining together for the heartfelt magnification of God. Believers’ worship occurs when they gather together to hear the preaching and teaching of the Word (Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 4:2-5); prayer (Acts 2:42); singing (Colossians 3:16); giving of finances to help believers and the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 8-9; 3 John 7-8); and observing the Lord’s Supper together (Acts 2:42; 20:7).
Is it possible to heed these commands by yourself? If you read the passages, No! If there is a good group of Christians in your area who meet for these purposes, think about the fact that their worship of the true God is enhanced when more believers gather with them! You need other believers to worship the true God the right way, and they need you to worship with them!
Believers Assemble To Help And Be Helped By Each Other
What kind of needs do you have? Your needs are probably like many other believers. One of the neat things about Christ’s body (the assembly of believers, the church) is that it is designed to help and be helped by its members. Remember, Christians are described as a body and a family. If your body and family are functioning correctly, pain is felt and taken care of!
This same kind of care is also what God intends for a church—“God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26). If you read how Christians cared for one another in the New Testament, you’d find how they cared for each other’s physical needs (Acts 9:36, 39), financial needs (Acts 4:32-35), emotional needs (Romans 12:15), and spiritual needs (Ephesians 4:12).
The Lone Ranger was a resourceful, smart, and courageous lawman, but there were many times when he needed the help of a posse—and don’t forget about the many times Tonto came to his rescue! God’s plan is so wonderful that He has provided for every possible need we could have on this earth through His Word and His people, the church. You can’t be a “Lone Ranger Christian” because you need other believers’ help, and they need your help too!
Believers Assemble To Encourage Each Other To Continue In The Faith
The experience of people leaving or never joining a church is nothing new; it was present even in the New Testament! There were individuals then, as there are now, who really wanted nothing to do with a good church, who steered clear of other believers, who kept away and stayed away. Is that good? How can it be prevented?
God tells believers “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). You can’t find a more clear and direct statement from God about believers’ need to assemble with other believers. There were people who said they were Christians but made forsaking the assembly of believers a habit, and God uses them as a negative example, something not to do. The positive side is that Christians assemble together to encourage each other to continue in the faith!
Before you read this pamphlet, were you of the opinion that you really didn’t see the importance of fellowshipping with other believers? Hopefully by now you do! Have you thought that you really didn’t have the time for that or felt that “church” isn’t really your thing? To believe either of these excuses shows either that you have some wrong priorities or that you’re really not a believer after all! “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).
Christians associate with and are committed to each other because they love Christ and His people—their desire to be with other believers shows they are a believer. Committing yourself to regularly assembling with other believers is the real evidence of true love for Christ and His people. You will gain their help and encouragement to be faithful to Christ through the trials of life, and you will be able to encourage others as well.
If you profess to be one of Christ’s followers, you need other Christians and they need you! What fellowship of believers are you a part of
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