What is your greatest reason and need to go to church? And should not having this need met influence your choice of a church to attend?
People go to church for a variety of reasons, and they often choose which church to attend based on those reasons.
- Some go out of a sense of obligation, and they often choose to go to a church where their parents went to church (and sometimes their grandparents too). It doesn’t matter if the church teaches false doctrine or fails to speak the truth; it’s their church and that’s where they belong.
- Some go to be entertained, and they often attend where the music and worship forms are similar to those they enjoy in the secular world. They go for the band, the singers and for the emotional experiences.
- Some go in an attempt to straighten out their lives, and they often choose a church which preaches law and offers self-help remedies.
- Some go to feel good about themselves, and they often choose a church which no longer preaches the law in all its strictness and, consequently, does not preach the gospel in all its sweetness.
But do you choose a church that meets your needs? Do you choose a church that is faithful to God’s Word, the Bible, and rightly applies that Word to your life?
Our greatest need as sinful human beings is to have God’s mercy and forgiveness, to be restored to fellowship with our Maker, and to have eternal life in harmony and fellowship with God instead of the eternal death and punishment which we rightly earn and deserve on account of our sins.
And where can we have this need met?
Going to a church simply because our parents did, or our grandparents, will not necessarily meet our needs. Going to a church which only entertains and uplifts us emotionally will likely have no lasting effect. Going to a church which preaches only laws and commandments will offer us no comfort and no hope because we cannot measure up to God’s perfect standards. Going to a church which makes us feel good about ourselves won’t help us because the truth of our sinfulness is covered up and there is no assurance of life and salvation.
Rather, we need to go to a church which uncompromisingly proclaims all that the Bible teaches because it is God’s Word to us sinners and the truth even though it may not make us comfortable to hear it. We need to go to a church which uses God’s Word to reveal our sinfulness but then also uses God’s Word to point us to Christ Jesus and the redemption He accomplished for all as the only way to receive forgiveness and life everlasting. We need to go to a church which convicts us of our sinfulness but then comforts us with God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus!
And which church so meets our needs?
When you attend a Lutheran Church which is faithful to God’s Word, you will be confronted with your sins in the opening confession of sins but comforted with the assurance that God forgives all your sins for the sake of Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross. You will hear God’s Word read, explained and applied to you in the Scripture readings and sermon. You will be assured of God’s grace given to you in Your baptism and comforted as you partake of Christ’s body and blood which were sacrificed in your stead for the remission of all your sins. And, you will have ample opportunity to offer up your prayers, praises and thanksgiving before the blessing of the Triune God is spoken over you.
While many may find Lutheran worship “outdated” and less than exciting, it certainly is not. It offers and gives to sinners God’s mercy and forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in Christ Jesus and His blood shed upon the cross. It is a service to meet our greatest needs through Word and Sacrament.
In fact, Jesus commands us to disciple the nations by going out, baptizing in the name of the Triune God and teaching all that He taught and commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). He commands that repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name (Luke 24:46-47). He commands us to forgive the sins of penitent sinners and to retain the sins of the impenitent as long as they do not repent (John 20:23). And He commands us to regularly partake of His body and blood, given and shed for us for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:26-28). And that is exactly what faithful Lutheran Churches offer in their services.
Where will you go to church to have your needs met?