Over the past couple of years, since I’ve had Internet access, I have enjoyed listening to sermons on line. I can listen to John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Voddie Baucham and Paul Washer all in one day with just a click of the button. All the sermons are free and can be saved or put on my iPod for listening to whenever it fits in my schedule.
Since I’ve had my website I have become aware of large numbers of people who either home church or Internet church. They would all give various reasons for not attending a typical church.
- Difficulty finding a good church.
- Travel distance to attend church.
- Can listen to better preachers online or on the TV than a local church.
- Attending an actual church doesn’t benefit them anymore than watching a church service.
- They don’t have to deal with difficult people.
I’m sure that there are many more reasons that can be given for not actually being in a church. But according to the Scripture we as believers should want to gather together with other believers.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. ESV
Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” ESV
• Actual relationships rather than imaginary ones. Weak as some churches are, they are still made up of living people who come together. The media-engrossed Christian isolates himself from other believers while imagining relationships that are actually not there. This is not living life, but skipping life. I am often saddened by the isolated person who misses out on people. There is no true fellowship except among believers. Once you know it, you will not be satisfied without it.
• Compassionate care rather than mere talk of concern. The media pastors talk about their love for their audience, but they will not be there when your child experiments with drugs, or your spouse dies, or your business goes down the drain. Those in the media audience will not sit at your bedside when you are dying. Radio preachers say they pray for you, but they really don’t know you at all. Remember this: if you live alone, you die alone.
• Real accountability rather than unchecked liberty. It may not seem immediately desirable, but accountability is a precious gift. In the local church, if you stray from God, someone is there to bring you back, or even to lovingly discipline you. If you are alone, you may stray deeper and deeper into sin even though you have periodic religious media fixes. Rather, you must subject yourself to the answerability that comes from engaging with real people. If you understand the deceitfulness of sin, you know you need that.
• Authentic shared worship rather than vicarious viewing of worship. God promises benefits and blessings to corporate worship, even more so than for individual worship, though we should do both. Yet the isolated virtual Christian only imagines himself worshipping with others as he sits before the monitor. If the professing solo believer were to arrive in heaven one day, he would only then experience what he was made for when he became a believer. He will say, “How could I have missed it?” Continue reading
We as believers need a local body of believers to worship with. It might be hard to find one or we may have to start one ourselves, if the Lord calls us to, but we should always desire to worship the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ.