Why Do I Need to Go to Church?
First, while it’s worth noting that there are examples of private prayer, there are more examples with prayer with others. The scriptural reasons for meeting with other Christians are fellowship, prayer, teaching, and the Eucharist (communion or the Lord’s Supper), which is the most important of all and the emphasis of this article. The witness of scripture shows that a “church of one” is no church.
The Eucharist should be the primary part of Christian worship services. Many Christians have either put the Eucharist into a secondary place or discontinued the practice altogether. This is contrary to the practice of the early Church.
Communion is a necessary part of the Christian life. In this sacrament, we are united more closely with Jesus and our fellow Christians. “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:53-54, NIV) Some Christians interpret His flesh and blood to be the scriptures and the acceptance of His sacrifice, respectively. However, Jesus Himself makes it clear that His Body and Blood are the bread and wine shared in communion. “Take and eat; this is my body, this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of our sins.” (Matthew 26:26, 28 NIV)
The Eucharist was very important to the early Church, and this was a weekly observance. “On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread.” (Acts 20:7 NIV). We are also commanded to observe the Eucharist as the early Church received it until Christ comes again. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26 NIV).
The Church is Christ’s Body. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV).
The Book of Hebrews also illustrates the need for assembly among Christians. The Church was undergoing severe persecution at the time, leading many to fall away. While many did fall way, others continued in the Church’s teaching in obedience to God. The author of the epistle writes a couple of warnings to those who fell way in disobedience to God:
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (2:1-3 NIV)
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (10:25-27, 35-36, 39 NIV) To reject the fellowship of the Church is to reject the One who bought her with His own blood.
There is hope for one who has left the fellowship of the Church if they repent of their sin and return. “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Those whom I love I rebuke and disciple. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 2:5, 3:19-20 NIV)