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Do I have to go to church to be a Christian?

Built on a Rock
Pastor Andrew Palmquist, Bethany Lutheran Church, Luverne

It seems as if an increasing number of people are asking these questions: “Do you have to go to church be a Christian? Is it really necessary to go every week?”
There is an old saying: “Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”
Christians do not go to God’s House in order to be Christians. Christians attend worship at church because they know they are broken people who have sinned against our holy God countless times.
But at church we hear of the hope we have. We hear how our Savior Jesus lived the perfect life we have not lived and that he did so for us as our substitute. We hear that our Lord Jesus suffered and died upon the cross as the sacrifice and payment for our sins. We hear how he then rose again to show his payment for us has been accepted by God.
These words of life are proclaimed throughout the church’s worship service. Knowing and appreciating that Jesus Christ is our Savior from sin, how can we not take every opportunity to hear those powerful and comforting words?
As the Apostle Peter says in John 6:68: “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Not only that, but as we gather together with fellow believers, we are reminded of the hope we have as baptized Christians. We are reminded of all the promises God attaches to baptism. And we also have the opportunity to receive Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper—receiving for ourselves, as our own, that which paid for our redemption.
Consider what we hear in the letter to the Hebrews: “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have the habit of doing. Rather, let us encourage each other, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
As we gather together around the Word and Sacraments, we have the great opportunity to encourage one another and to be encouraged.
What a blessing it is for us to have these weekly opportunities to gather around the Word and Sacraments where we find comfort, forgiveness, and peace with God, where we are encouraged and strengthened in our faith, and where we can offer our praises to the gracious Lord of our salvation.
If you haven’t been to God’s house in a while, we invite you to “Come and see” the many blessings that he has ready for you!

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