Why did God, in His infinite wisdom, command us to gather when we worship? Surely it would be easier to stay home and praise God who resides on another plane of being. It would even be safer with all the disease and death that plagues this world instead of congregating and coughing all over one another. One could even argue that Christians would bicker less if they spent less time together.
The fact is that in becoming a Christian you become a part of a family. Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:3-5). God’s people are special to Christians because they are special to God. Should a family be present in each other’s lives or absent?
We have also been given a reason as to why we come together. Remember these words, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). The reason we meet then is three-fold.
First, Christians show up to consider one another. What kind of family members would Christians be if they didn’t even know their own family? In order to consider the needs and cares of others, we have to show up.
Second, Christians show up to stir up love and good works. Some Christians have the idea that they are policemen in the Lord’s church. They show up to tear down and malign their family. With an evil eye, they look about the assembly waiting for someone to make a wrong step so they can write about it. But the purpose in being a family of God should be the opposite. Christians meet to provoke good things from one another. Simply put: Christians lead by example.
Third, Christians show up to exhort one another. The word “exhort” means “to call near.” It is a Christian’s duty to be inviting to other family members in the assembly. One shows up to worship God, finds those who are tired and weathered, and invites them into their circle to be built back up and encouraged. This is the purpose of God’s family.
So, Christians show up for other Christians. Paul finishes his letter to the Ephesians with this honest summary that shows his sincerity toward his family, “Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:23-24).