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. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The New Testament knows nothing of the lone Christian—the man who claims to be a believer but who deliberately or carelessly allows himself to drift from the local church. Every Christian is dependent upon the local church and we neglect it to our peril, for it is in the church that we powerfully experience the means of grace God gives us—the Word, prayer and the sacraments. In addition to these, we have the benefit of Christian friendship and fellowship. We cannot thrive or even survive without all these gracious provisions. Neither should we expect to.
It is also within the church that we uniquely experience the joy of imitating Christ in putting aside our own desires in order to love and serve others. And so, my brother, don’t simply go to church: be the church. Be an active, serving, participating member of your church. Do not expect that you will be able to put sin to death or to pursue holiness without the local church.
Father, I am grateful for the gift of the local church. I am grateful that through the church I am able to experience those wondrously ordinary means of grace. I am grateful that you led me to my church, and I pray that you would help me to commit to it more and more, that I would love the people you bring there, that I would have deep and meaningful friendships there, that I would faithfully serve your people by stirring them up to love and good works.
PS: Church times today are 9:30am and 6:00pm. Just saying.