“Can’t a Christian just attend a church regularly without joining?” Of course you can, but it won’t be a kind of attendance that’ll glorify God or do you any good at all. It won’t glorify God because it’ll reveal your lack of commitment to God’s people along with your selfishness as well. It would seem that a person who asks this question is more concerned about themselves than those around them, is more content to be a lone ranger Christian, and this kind of person isn’t really the kind of person you want sticking around, that is, if this attitude continues (which hopefully it won’t).
So why such an emphasis on a deep and heartfelt commitment to a certain local body of believers? Because of Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Notice the author of Hebrews calls us to two things:
a) Let us hold fast to our confession of hope without wavering trusting in Him who is always faithful.
b) Let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works,
How are we to do these things successfully? How are we to hold fast to our confession without wavering, and ponder how to stir up one another toward love and good works? Simple, the verse ends with our solution, “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
It would seem from this text that this is the reason we cannot merely attend church and be content with hiding in the crowds, or the back row, never allowing anyone to get to know us, or bother to get know anyone else. A Christian will yearn to get into fellowship, and even though it may seem like a miracle to get people to come to church these days, we cannot lower our standards at all to keep them in church. It is not reasonable, as a pastor, to let people come and taught that it is ok to sit back and hide in the shadows. Coming out will be hard, it always is when you enter into a new community. But you’ll find what countless others have found through the ages – the joy of communal worship. Joining hands with other like-minded believers who want the same thing you do is glorious.
To give your life to this is what God demands. To do anything less is to continue to sit on the bench, get off it, join the procession of the saints, and worship the King with others.