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Ephesians 2:19-21 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:"

Ephesians 5:23-32 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

What do you think of when you hear someone say the word "church"? Do you think of a building with stained glass windows and a steeple where religious people go to worship God on Sunday? The church is more than just a building. It is more than an organization of charity and goodwill. The word church comes from a word whose original meaning was simply assemble. The church is made up of people from all over the world who have surrendered their lives to God and united together through their faith in Jesus Christ. The church is not made of wood or bricks or stone, it is made of flesh and blood.

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John 2:13-16 "And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

Acts 5:14 & 15 "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them."

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He found the temple had been turned into a marketplace to sell sacrificial animals to the people who had made the long journey for the Passover and had not been able to bring a sacrifice. God's house is a place to worship Him but they had seen a chance to make a profit and had come to church for the wrong reason.

In Acts chapter 5 the apostles had shown the people many signs and wonders. A great fear had fallen on all the churches because of Ananias and Sapphira's deaths and verse 14 says a great multitude of believers, both men and women, were added unto the Lord. Then they started bringing the sick people out into the streets on their beds and couches so at least just the shadow of Peter passing over them might heal them. There was even a multitude of people that came out of the cities all around Jerusalem to be healed.

Sometimes we go to church for the wrong reasons. We may go to fellowship with other believers, we may go because our parents, spouse or boyfriend goes. Maybe we're sick or dying and we hope to find healing or comfort at church. Or, maybe what causes us to go is habit or a feeling of guilt if we don't go! While some of these reasons may not be bad they are not the right reason to go to church. So why should we go to church?

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Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

Acts 2:42-47 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

By meeting together in church with other Christians we can encourage each other. I have recently been sick and had to miss several church services and I really missed the fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I miss the encouragement and just the contact with other believers I get when I am unable to attend church. Another reason we attend church is for the teaching we receive. We hear a portion of the Bible taught each Sunday. We need to go to Sunday school, as well as church. The scripture above mentions breaking bread. We need to go to church to take communion (or the Lord's supper) with other believers. This in an ordinance the bible clearly teaches. Through communion we are reminded of Christ's death on the cross as He took our place. We need these reminders and helps throughout our Christian life. Another thing mentioned in the above scripture is prayer. Sure, you can pray at home, and you should, but it is important for Christians to band together in prayer. We need to pray for each other. There are times when I feel weak and I need my friends praying for me and times when they are sick and weak and they need me to pray for them. And, of course, we go to church to worship! To praise God!

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Luke 4:16 "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read."

This is perhaps the most powerful reason of all for going to church! Even Jesus attended church every Sabbath Day! He had been brought up to attend church as a child and as an adult it was something He continued to do. It was His custom. When you make something a custom there is never a question as to if you are going to do it. Many parents today do not make their children go to Sunday school and church, preferring instead to allow the child freedom to make their own decisions about religion. Why not let them make their own decisions about going to the doctor when they're sick, taking drugs or playing with a loaded gun? Because you know those things can kill them. Well, so can sin. Don't be afraid to make going to church a custom for your family!

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Romans 12:4-8 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."

1 Corinthians 27-31 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."

There are millions of fundamental, bible believing church buildings in the world and each one is made up of a body of believers. All of these believers make up the Body of Christ; His Church. Each of these church members have been given a special gift by God, some more than one. Why do you think God gave us these gifts? He wants us to use them to build up His church. Our gift may not be to stand up front and speak or sing. It may be behind the scenes cleaning, making bulletin boards, greeting visitors or praying for the sick. If you are not sure what your gift is, pray about it. Find something to do and start working in your church. And if you are not attending a church, let me encourage you to go next Sunday! Don't put it off any longer. If Jesus made it His custom every Sabbath, shouldn't you?

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[GOD BLESS]

What are you expecting to receive from going to church? Sometimes we go to church with expectations of disappointment and that's what we come away with. Next Sunday go to church expecting nothing except to worship God. You might be surprised by what you receive!

LOVE, MEME

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