Paul is writing to Christians here. When he mentions about them coming together for worship, he uses the word "when", not "if". There was this expectation that those who follow Christ would be part of worship together on a regular basis. It wasn't a question, it was expected. It's just what they did.
So here's my question: Why is it so popular today for many who proclaim themselves as followers of Jesus to not get involved in a local church? I know that there are plenty of reasons.
- "I don't have to go to church to be saved." (Honestly, true. But Paul is not talking about salvation here. He's stating what we as Christians should be doing when we go to worship)
- "I have a problem with 'the church'." (Well tell me how not going actually helps bring about any change that truly may be necessary).
- "I don't get fed at my church." (Well that's just crazy. Do you say the same thing about the food you eat all week. Do you eat once per week, and that one time expect someone else to feed you? When did it become the church's job to take sole responsibility of the feeding of every sheep. There's a word for those who hold to this view: lazy. That's it. Lazy.)
- "It's a personal thing for me." (Very true, but we were also created to be in relationship with each other. The early church [Acts 2:42-47] made getting together a top priority. There is no such thing as a Christian hermit.)
- "Churches today are just about the money." (Are there some? Absolutely. Every single one? I see it as kind of presumptuous and arrogant to conclude that every single church is led by money-hungry wolves).
- "Churches are filled with hypocrites." (This is true. Guilty as charged. But here's the thing: our schools and neighborhoods are filled with hypocrites. Movie theaters and restaurants. Our homes are filled with hypocrites as well. And honestly, if all of us are really honest, one of the biggest hypocrites at times is the one staring us back in the mirror).
These are excuses, not reasons. And I know that there are plenty of other ones out there. However, how does that change the idea of coming together as Christians on a regular basis that seems to be throughout the New Testament? I mean - half of the New Testament is written by a man who wrote to churches about how they should be conducting themselves.