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Salvation is found in Christ. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God gave His Son so th...
"Standing in a garage does NOT make you an automobile! Like wise, going to a church doesn’t make you a Christian!" Those who worship the lord in spirit and truth are Christians. The true worship is that of the heart and not of or at any particular place (not even Church) ►►► John 4:18-24 Christ revealed the Samaritan woman that she has 5 husbands (one at a time though).This revelation is by the Holy Spirit's gift of knowledge (1Cor. 12:4- 11). He could see her past and read her thoughts, as He did others (Mt. 9:4 12:25; Lk. 5:22; 6:8; 11:17; Jn. 2:24- 25). The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. The knowledge about her past life startled her and she concluded that He was a prophet with power. She quickly changed the subject lest he expose more of her life. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Mt. Gerizim, the mount of blessing, just across a narrow valley from Mt. Ebal, the mount of cursing (Dt. 11:29; 27:12- 26 Josh. 8:33). Jotham addressed Israel here (Judg. 9:7). About 332 B. C. Sanballet, governor of Samaria under the Persians, and who opposed Israel under Nehemiah (Neh. 4:7-- Neh. 13:28), went over to the side of "Alexander the Great" who gave him permission to build a temple on Mt. Gerizim like the one in Jerusalem. He built it for his son- in- law, Manasseh, and made him High Priest. The Samaritans established rival worship to Jerusalem and accepted the Pentateuch as their Bible (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 11, 8:2). The great controversy between Jews and Samaritans was whether to worship on "Gerizim" or "Moriah". Since Christ's words proved Him to be a prophet, the woman seized upon the opportunity to have this question answered. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The 6th New Testament prophecy in John (Jn. 4:21- 24, fulfilled). The answer embodies a great principle, that true worship is that of the heart and not of or at any particular place. However, we go to the Church to have fellowship with the believers. Nothing else. Worship The Lord in your heart in Spirit and truth at home or work place or while traveling or at Chruch or anywhere! Hope these clarify!
As so many have pointed out: 1. "Going to heaven" means becoming acceptable to God. 2. Becoming acceptable to God is only by repenting of sin and believing the Gospel. 3. The Gospel is that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead the third day. HOWEVER: Jesus made it plain that obedience to his commands is part and parcel claiming to be his follower: "If you love me, you will obey my commandments." (Joh 14:15 NET) "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me." (Joh 14:21 NIV) " And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." (Luk 6:46-49 KJV) And, a couple of verses I have not heard preached too much lately: "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;" (1Jo 2:3-4 NAU) Now, the Lord has commanded, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb 10:25 NKJ) You say you love him? Do it. You say you believe in him? Do it. The great solution to all these difficult questions such as "Do I have to do this to be saved?", "Can I do or not do XYZ and still be a Christian?", etc, etc, etc is this: Do what you are commanded in the New Testament. You want assurance of salvation? It only comes one way: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." (1Jo 3:18-24 KJV) God puts it this way in the book of James: "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (Jam 2:18-20 NKJ) So: to be saved--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." There is no use going to meetings of Christians, getting baptized, giving money, etc, etc, etc--if you have not repented and believed that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and was raised again the third day. But if you have believed, you had better obey the One who bought you with his blood. "ye are not your own...ye are bought with a price" (1Co 6:19-20 KJV) One of the basics of salvation is, " If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Rom 10:9 NIV) But if you confess He is Lord, but do not obey him...something is wrong. So...go to church!
No. Salvation is not contingent on a list of dos and don'ts. It is based on faith in and surrender to the resurrection and Lordship of Christ (Romans 10:9-10). I think there is something here that is important to distinguish. When a person comes to faith in Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwells in the person, the Spirit convicts the follower of Christ according to the will of God, to do out of love for God the things that are pleasing to Him. As we give ourselves over to God, to His love and His transforming power, we should expect for the practices which are righteous in God's sight to become so for us. As God chooses to dwell with people in a communal sense (the Church, the body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:1-16), God leads us toward assembly so that we might build one another up and worship God in unity with one another. What I'm getting at by all of this is that even though church attendance is not a requirement to go to heaven, it should still be seen as a sign of growth in the life of a follower of Christ. It is a fruit of salvation, not the root of salvation, to join together joyfully with other followers of Christ.
Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 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. A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember's flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and "dead as a doornail." Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host Said, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."
Please note that John 3:16 does not use the word church or religion. In fact, when church is referenced in the Bible it does not mean a building, a religion or even a theology. Church means the sum total of all believers past, present and future. Church is the group of believers that is the body of Christ. Please attend as many "meetings" in as many different buildings you want. The attendance to a singular or multiple meetings has absolutely nothing to do with going to Heaven. You will go to Heaven if you believe that Jesus died for your sins, you ask God to forgive your sins, and you try not to sin any more.
Church can be a good thing if you can find one that is not steeped in leagalism or teaching heresy. We should follow the truths that the bible sets forth, but those things won't save you. Faith in Christ's death and being risen as being finished payment for your sins is salvation. Going to church will not save you, quitting sin will not save you, doing good will not save you. You can obey every commandment and attempt to live a perfect life and still go to hell. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. It is so simple a caveman can do it. Salvation by works never works. By grace you are saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast. Did Paul not make it plain enough? It is only our pride that keeps us from believing that we do not have to do something else to be saved. There are going to be many in hell that we thought were on their way to heaven, and many in heaven we thought would never be there. On earth we have to work for everything we get. In God's economy work counts for nothing. I know this destroys you pride because you cannot earn your salvation. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me. If you have faith as in a grain of mustard seed, you will be saved. If your faith is in what you do, you are still in your sins. I will give you all a challenge. Tell God you want Him to take you from where you are right now to where He wants you to be.
Does a person have to go to a gym to work out or could they stay at home and workout? Church is the gym of your Christian workout. Its ok to stay at home and workout, but you will get a much better workout if you go to the gym.
All the previous answers have identified what Jesus meant by salvation being in the' doing' and not in the talking. As for going to church, we cannot gain salvation by going to church or not going to church. What Jesus meant by church was a gathering of people. That is why He DID not build a single building or plant a disciple to be in charge. Instead this is what he said to the disciples. Heal the sick, raise the dead,......You received without paying, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, no copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff (Matthew 10:7). In (Mark 16:15), He asked them to go into the world. The construction of churches, setting up leaders and hierarchies arose because the followers later on copied the Roman structures and practices. That is why churches and their leaders became so powerful and became involved in politics, wars, crusades, forced conversions and recently, child abuse (all practices against Jesus's preaching. Remember Jesus practiced what He taught us. The only reason we need to go to church is to share faith with others. If the pastor and the church (members) you attend do not practice Christ's messages they preach themselves then there is no point in listening to their messages either. Today, most people can read the Bible for themselves. You can form a church (gathering) with a few others and discuss practice without deviating from Jesus's teachings. Then meet up in the following week to discuss how you succeeded (or not) but never engage in actions that Jesus asked us not to (manipulation, dishonesty, deceit, Corruption). The biggest challenge we face is not being able to practice Christian ways in our work because of the atmosphere and management styles which are based on non Christian values. Your best church therefore is the honest discussions you have with fellow Christians you trust dearly to work out the best way to practice. Remember not to be the leader in that church. Once again, Jesus said 'Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves (Luke 22:26)'. When you begin to read the gospel sayings of the Lord and begin to reflect upon them, you will be amazed how deep thinking His messages were. Life is not easy for those who try to practice Christ's messages at work but He knows that and will appreciate those who try.
God wants to know you. In the Bible people approach Him and say "We did all of these great things for you and did great deeds." And Jesus says, "Depart from me I never knew you." God wants a relationship with you! It is like me coming to your door and saying "Let me in!" and you'll say "Well, I know OF you but I don't KNOW you." God loves you and He knows your intentions, but He wants a friend and a relationship with you. If you believe in Him whole-heartedtly and call upon His name, you will get to heaven. Now...I am not the one making the decision. None of us are! Ask God...He will give you an answer and you will know when it is Him!
I do not believe you have to attend Church to go to Heaven. I also believe if you really plan to go to Heaven you will certainly want to attend Church. Jesus is to be our model or example. Right? When He went back to His home town it was recorded He attended the synagogue (church) AS WAS HIS CUSTOM. As much as he had to do, he found time to attend church of His day on a regular basis enough for it to be said that was his Custom. Please consider following His example. Ever hear the old saying "Birds of feather flock together"? It's their nature to do so. Hogs naturally go to a wallow. That is their nature. It follows that Christians are called to go to church because that is their nature. Some people seem to enjoy bashing the church and I am sure Jesus also sees it's not perfect. He also saw worship in the synagogue was not prefect, but It was still his CUSTOM to attend. Is not the church described as His Bride? Woe, woe is to the family who magnifies faults of a son's choice to be his "bride". Best for the family to accept the Son's choice and seek to find Her good features and points.
The Truth, the reality, that you need to tune in to is that you won't go to Heaven if you aren't born again, John 3:3. Becoming a believer in Jesus as your Savior is the most important thing that you will ever do, Romans 10:8-13. Going to church does not save you. The Amazing Grace of God in paying for your sins at the Cross does. You stand forgiven because of the sacrifice of Jesus ----- unless you fail to acknowledge Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Going to church is an important part of every Christian's life. Assembling with others of like faith produces love, understanding, a gentle Spirit, a cooperative nature. Hearing the Word of God blesses the life of everyone....... Sunday should be set aside as a day of worship, thanking God that we will live with Him eternally because Jesus died for us and we accepted His death, burial and resurrection as Gospel Truth. If you are already a Christian, unite with a local church --- not one of those we see far too often on TV, with all the tongue-talking and faith healings and the doctrine that "you will have what you say" that Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Charles Capps, and others "preach" constantly. Sit down with the Pastor of a Bible-believing church where Jesus is Lord, not all that other stuff. If you are not a Christian, get right with God tonight. Open your Bible to John 14:6, John 3:16-17,John 3:3, John 5:24, Ephesians 2:8-9, and then confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, as laid out in Romans 10:8-13. Whatever your current situation, find a local church! www.booksie.com/Don_Watson
A person doesn't become a car by sitting in his/her garage for an hour a week. Neither does one become a Follower of Jesus by doing the same thing in a church building! Blessings all!
CHURCH is the place you go to associate with other Christians as the bible states, but I do not believe that you have to go to Church to be a Christian or to be saved or to go to heaven. I don't go to church but on the rare occasion. I watch my church on TV. I used to go every Sunday until they stopped teaching the Bible..... Now I watch John Hagee, Robert Morris, etc..., and I am taught what I am supposed to be taught. There are MANY folks who can't get to church, so that would have to be their church as well.
Simply put, the righteous will go to heaven - and one becomes righteous by being charitable. At the end of time, the Son of Man will come and separate mankind as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Then the righteous will ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" He will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." They also will ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?" He will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." The unrighteous will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Your question is sort of self-fulfilling; the Church, the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Fellowship of Believers, the Assembly, the community of the Saints, are all used interchangeably within the NT to refer to those baptised into Christ as his Disciples. That is to say, if you are not a part of the body, a member of the fellowship, within the Assembly, in communion with the Saints, then you are not a subject of the Kingdom of Heaven. But let us look at what is written by the Apostles on the issue. John goes on and on about how failure to obey means that we have no part of God and his promise. 1 John 2:3-6 is one striking example of this but it is stressed again and again by him throughout the entire letter.. So although you are saved by grace through faith and not by works, faith, faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14-26). Your faith requires an act on your part. It is not a "work" to be obedient. It is obedience to be obedient. How can one say they love God (or their own mother) and not do what God (or their mother) says? Well does the Bible say we must attend the fellowship? Well we do see in Acts 2:42-47 that they devoted themselves to the fellowship, all the believers were together, everyday they met together in the temple courts and they broke bread together in their homes. Now this just says what they did and I suppose we must do that too although it does not command it here. But in Hebrews 10:19-25 we see faith acting to bring us together. "Let us draw near to God... with the full assurance that faith brings.... And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds...." And here we have the command: "Do not forsake the assembly as some are in the habit of doing but encourage one another...." And although we are saved by Grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8-10, we are "...created in Christ Jesus *to do good works*, which God prepared in advance for us to do." These works not only include saving the lost but encouraging one another daily. Hebrews 3:12-13. How can we do that and not attend the meeting of the body? By using Facebook? Sure. Facebook is a tool but no matter how many developers their are, they cannot create an app that takes the place of a face-to-face confidant who can hold your hand, rebuke you with the word, all the while making you feel love through their understanding smile. Attending church is commanded. Attending church is necessary to obey God. Attending church is an extension of faith but attending church is not a "work" which gets you to Heaven. Devoting oneself to the fellowship is being a part of the Kingdom of God here on Earth, a necessity to be a part of his Kingdom in Heaven.
A person does not have to join a church in order to "go to heaven" when they die. In point of fact, there is no place in the scripture that says anyone goes to heaven when they die, because that is not the reward of the saved. Jesus plainly said, "the meek shall inherit the earth", which they will do when he returns to take his place on the throne of David as per the Davidic Covenant and all those who are resurrected in the first resurrection will join with him as co-rulers with him over all the nations. All those will also co-inherit with him all that is in this world in the coming new age. When one dies, he is buried and that includes the whole man, the breath of life departs and the body is dead and buried. The dead know nothing: Eccl:9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Eccl:9:10 Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither you go. Ps 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give you thanks? David knew that when he died he not have any consciousness, and recollection, any thought, until he was resurrected. Ps 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. In order for God to redeem David he would have to be resurrected and become an immortal being - soul in the coming new age. Ps 89:48 What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul - being from the hand of the grave? Selah. Ps 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Notice: Ps 115:16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth has he given to the children of men. Read all of Zech:14:, where it shows that in the new age coming the representatives of the nations will come up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles! That is here on this earth, where all those who have experienced the first resurrection will be ruling in the Theocratic Government set up by the lord Jesus who will be the King of kings and Lord of lords at that time. If you go to heaven when you die why does Paul say this: 1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself - Jesus shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Question: Why do they have to rise up from their graves if they are already in heaven? It is because they didn't go to heaven when they died which is a Greek philosophic idea and not scriptural. When a person dies, the next step is the grave, and the the dead experience nothing while they are dead, which means they do not experience time passing at all. So for one who is in Christ and dies for him/her the next thing they will experience is being raised up to meet Jesus in the air/clouds! Since they do not experience the passing of time, whether their resurrection takes place 2,000 years after their death, or 1,000 or 10, for them it will seem like a split second. That is why when Paul says he had a desire to be with the lord Jesus, he knew that after his death, for him in what would seem like a split second he would be rising up to meet Jesus in the air/clouds at his resurrection. William Tyndale said that if one believes they go to heaven when they die they are rejecting the teaching about the resurrection! So hopefully we can place our hope in God's ability to resurrect us from our graves when Jesus returns and have our reward with him as co-ruling and co-inheriting all with him as the scriptures plainly reveal, and put aside the notion that people go to heaven when they die, which is a Greek philosophical pagan idea that has nothing to do with scripture at all!
NO. Church is for our benefit to know Christ through His bride. Church is not a building, it a group of believers praising, learning and sharing (Act 2). So my question back is "Would you go follow a doctor in an operation for you if he didn't go to medical school"? Of course not, so we should attend church because Jesus did as an example and we are to follow His examples. He went every Sabbath AND we should go so we can learn and have it feed our soul so we become the "doctors" of sin by example and knowledge.
The word of God gives us direction in our walk of faith as believers; what it says, we must follow. I have never read anywhere in the bible where it says if you do not go to church, you will not go to heaven! The bible is very clear about how eternal life can be received! If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved (Romans 10:9) and also (John 3:16) For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes on Him will have eternal life. However the same bible teaches that we should not forsake meeting together as believers (Hebrews 10:25) I strongly believe that the coming together of believers is very important for edification purposes. We also need to encourage one another in our faith. Moreover, the bible says we are a body! Let me conclude by saying this, if church was not that important, God would not have said something about it! Remember what happened to the believers in the book of Acts; when they were gathered together in one accord, the Holy Spirit came upon them! There is power in coming together. It benefits you as a believer, when you attend church. Church is good!
Plenty of good answers to this question already, but I just wanted to add a comment. I had a young man in my sales office a few years back. As we visited, I asked if he was a Christian. He replied yes, sir. I then asked : "where do you go to church?" He replied truthfully "I am not going to church." My reply to him was "well, you can be a Christian without going to church." His reply "but it sure is easier if you do!" He got it right!
I think it isn't an accident that we are encouraged to come together every week as a minimum so we don't drift away and we are to be, to some degree, in subjection to the Elders at the assembly. “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. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:23-27). Faithful attendance and involvement are a part of your faithfulness to God.
Churches are not the way to heaven but Jesus alone, as it is written: " I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Christians attending church, so they may gathering and having a fellowship with other believers and followers of Jesus Christ in worshiping their God; but it does not mean that they have to attend church to go to heaven as Jesus said: " For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matth.5:20).
A person becomes the Church when they are born again but what the scriptures implore is that the believers should never neglect the public gathering and fellowship with the Church members! Hebrews 10:24-39 make very clear this fact, that if one abandoned fellowship it equates to abandoning God and giving one's will to sin that leads to spiritual death. Testing the context of this passage in Hebrews, which needs to be done because many have suggested that such severe warnings could not be spoken to genuine New Covenant Christians, let's find out to whom the apostle is speaking: Heb 10:24 is no doubt talking to believers waiting for the special day, the day is the Second coming of Christ. Then we note that the writer includes himself, "if we sin willfully " thus making the context specifically related to Christians and not addressed to old covenant Jews. Then note Heb 10:32-37 here again we see beyond any shadow of doubt that the apostle is addressing persecuted Christians who had their possessions taken from them, visited him in prison and were waiting for the second coming of Christ. In conclusion the warning was to not neglect Christian fellowship because of the danger of apostasy! How severe a warning should never be taken lightly!
That's a question only God can judge & answer. However, attending the church of your faith can put you in the path to Heaven. The church gives instructions, sermons, Biblical understanding, etc that is quoted from God's Instruction Book, the Bible. If one does not attend church and follows his or her own interpretation of the Bible, it could be a mutation of what the Bible is teaching us. Look at how our culture has morphed to today - people interpreting their faith views to the way of the world. We have to follow the Way of God - got to church and get spiritual counsel & direction and 'lean not on your own understanding".
Heaven isn't built on buildings, and people sitting in the pew. Salvation doesn't depend on singing hymns on Sunday morning. None of the disciples were saved because they went to synagogue, or because they didn't. They were saved because of Jesus. As far as scripture saying not to forsake the fellowship of other believers, there's something that needs to be understood about that. It isn't talking about going to church. A family that loves Jesus, coming together for dinner, is a fellowship of believers. Believing friends meeting for coffee is a fellowship of believers. Fellowship only means to gather, or meet. Meeting for worship in a building is only one kind of fellowship, out of a huge number of other possibilities. It seems like people use that too often as some kind of ultimatum. "You can be saved, but you'd better do what Jesus says, or else...." It always come off sounding more like a scare, than anything else. But, the verse was never meant as something to add stress or fear to someone's walk with God. It's not supposed to be read as an absolute command; it's supposed to be taken as a reminder. A reminder that we are the family of God, and that we should help and support each other, where ever we physically are, and where ever we physically meet. A reminder that where even just two meet in His name, he is there. A church is just one place, and the worshipers that go are just some believers, to fellowship with. But meeting with any believers, in any area, is coming together as a fellowship. It has nothing to do with going to church (though, that can be a very good way to enjoy fellowship). And neither going to church, nor fellowshipping in any other way, has anything to do with a person's salvation. God knows what's in your heart no matter where you are, or who you're with or not with. And having fellowship at a church has no affect on your salvation in the future. Fellowship is a work, and works don't make salvation real. Whether they're proof or not depends on what fruits God wants you to bring forth. Fellowship wasn't on the list of those, so that would be up to Him, and what He wants from your life. No matter what others think you should or shouldn't do after believing, salvation and your walk of faith rest in God, and God alone. Leave it with Him, and He'll lead you to do what He needs you to do, and to the people He needs you to be with, even if that means not being in a building that people think you should be meeting in.
The church is so important that the Bible calls it the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:25 teaches that the model for a husband's love for his wife is Christ's love for the church. Wrapping up the topic of marriage, Paul says, "I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church" (verse 32). If God thinks so highly of the church as to call it His "bride," we must consider our fellowship with one another extremely important. While no amount of church attendance will get a person to heaven, church involvement is the expected norm for someone who follows Jesus Christ. Our salvation is found in Him, and only Him (Acts 4:12), and the church is the context in which we encourage one another to grow and actively serve others.
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