“Why go to (that) church?”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Over the years, I’ve asked professing Christians a question. “Why go to church?”
Recently I was in Brooklyn, New York. A different question was raised. The different question was, “Why go to that church?”
God commands His people to “keep holy the Sabbath Day.” The “Sabbath Day” was changed by the Apostolic Church to the First Day, Sunday. The Church refers to Sunday as the Lord’s Day. Each Lord’s Day is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians are the church and desire to gather for worship. People can’t make themselves Christians. Only God makes Christians. Christians should be concerned about worship. Christians have a desire to worship God on the Lord’s Day with brothers and sisters in Christ.
A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ because he has been born again by the Spirit of God and given the gift of faith. God has said how He makes Christians. He has revealed His order of salvation. God Effectually Calls a dead person to life. He regenerates a sinner. Because all men are born dead in sin, God must raise a sinner from death to life, John 3. God converts. He gives two gifts: faith and repentance. Both gifts are exercised by those who receive them. Through faith God justifies. Justification is a forensic (legal) act of God. He declares a sinner to be in right standing before Him only by the merit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God covers the sinner with the perfect life of Jesus Christ and transfers the sinner’s sin to Jesus. This is called double imputation.
After justification, God adopts the sinner into His family. Those changed by God become heirs of His promise in Christ, namely heaven. Following adoption, God begins His work of Sanctification. Literally, as Justification covers the sinner with perfect righteousness, Sanctification is God’s action of making the sinner righteous from the inside out. In Sanctification, the sinner responds to God’s work in him. God promised to make us more and more like Christ. The end result of Sanctification is what is called Glorification. God promised to see us to glory. Every believer will be in glory in heaven. The comforting fact of glorification is that God sees us as already glorified. I would encourage you to read Romans 8:30 and notice that all of the verbs are in the past tense, even glorified.
So returning to my question, a Christian is one whom God has saved. God’s order of salvation revealed in Scripture is: God’s Effectual Call, Regeneration, Conversion, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification and Glorification. Each step along the way is by God’s action. In other words, a Christian is one who has been saved, is being saved and will be saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Christians are made “new creations”. As stated above, genuine Christians desire to gather with other Christians to worship God. The meaning of worship is to bow down to and serve someone or something. Christians worship God who has revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity.
The worship manual in the Bible, the book of Psalms, reveals the desire of the Christian’s heart. Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”’ God places in each believer a desire to gather with God’s people to declare His praises and to hear Him speak both in the reading of Scripture and in the Proclamation of Scripture. As a result, believers are edified or if you choose to use this word, fed.
Recently I experienced a typical “new” Church that is starving God’s people under the guise of “planting” a congregation that will make a difference in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. There was very little of the word present. There was 45 minutes of video for raising funds with a brief time of silence for Christians being persecuted by Muslims.
I left thinking why did I go to this Church? I realized that there was no God-centered reason for me to be there. As a minister of the gospel, I am accountable to God to call Christians to seek a church that reads Scriptures, prays corporately, proclaims what God has said in a particular passage, and sings hymns that declare the truth of who God is, namely, a church that worships as God has commanded.