Holy Church | ‘The Right Place To Worship God’
God is present every where. He can hear our prayers, from wherever we pray. Then, why should we go to Church to worship? Such questions are normally put forward by many students. A humble attempt is made to answer this question. We will see certain Biblical proofs as to why Church is the right place to worship God.
Worship is man’s natural response to God – the Creator and the Protector.
Gen. 4: 26 ………. Then people began to call on the name of the Lord.
Our Old Testament patriarchs had dwelling place to live in, but in addition to that they built Altars to offer sacrifices to God.
Noah: Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it (Gen. 8: 20).
Abraham: The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So, he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Gen. 12: 7);
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord (Gen. 12: 8);
From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord (Gen. 13: 3-4);
So, Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. (Gen. 13: 18),
Isaac: Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well. (Gen. 26: 25);
Moses: Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner (Ex. 17: 15);
God instructed Moses to build a Sanctuary within the Tabernacle
“Then have them make a sanctuary for Me and I will dwell among them“. (Ex. 25: 8). God also decrees to Moses that, he has to seek one place of worship. You must not worship the Lord your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; (Duet. 12: 4-5).
Temple of Jerusalem became the permanent location of divine presence. Worship became centralized to the Temple of Jerusalem.
- King David promised God to build a house for LORD Almighty (2 Sam. 7: 27). He realized that he was living in a palace of cedar, but the ark of God was in a tent. He said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.’ (2 Sam. 7: 2).
- King Solomon built the Jerusalem Temple, and he consecrated the temple to the LORD, God Almighty (2 Chron. 6: 1, 18-21). During the time of the dedication, God’s glory filled the Jerusalem temple (2 Chron. 7: 1-3). The temple was hallowed by God, Whose Name, Whose eyes and heart shall be there, forever (2 Chron. 7: 16).
- During the period of captivity, a new form of worship developed, ie. worship at the synagogue.
- Jesus was presented in the Jerusalem Temple on the 40th day (Lk. 2: 21-28) and at the age of 12 Jesus was taken to the temple for the Feast of Passover (Lk. 2: 41-48).
- Jesus Christ regularly went to the synagogues on Sabbath days, as per the custom (Lk. 4: 16). Jesus and His disciples went to the Jerusalem temple regularly, for worshipping and teaching (Mt. 24: 1, Lk. 20: 1; 21: 37) He preached in the synagogues on many occasions (Mt. 13: 54).
- Jesus was indignant when he found the Temple of Jerusalem was misused and defiled by the people (Mt. 21: 12-13). “My house shall be called a house of prayer“.
- After the crucifixion of Christ, the disciples used to assemble in the Jerusalem Temple for prayer (Acts 2: 46; 3: 1).
- After Ascension of Christ the disciples stayed continually at the temple worshipping and praising God (Lk. 24: 53)
- Even during the time of persecution, Christians, the early church used to preach in the temple and the temple was the focal point of their ministry (Acts 5: 12, 20, 42).
- Jesus called all His disciples at one place for the Last Supper. They partook the bread and wine and Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22: 19). Our Church members also cut off from the world and assemble in the Church to partake in the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul scolded those who were not partakers (Heb. 10: 24-25). So Church is the Place to Partake the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ — (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11: 23-26). Sacramental prayers and corporate worship is effectively possible only in Church, a place specially consecrated for worship.
- St. Thomas, the disciple of Christ came to India and he built Eight Churches in India, so did the other disciples in various parts of the world.
- Church is a Place for Exhortation and Study:
On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight (Acts 20: 7).
- Church is a Place of Prayer and Contemplation,
like Gethsemane, for personal relationship with God (1 Thess. 5: 17). Prophetess Anna worshipped God, night and day, praying and fasting, in the temple for most part of her life (Lk. 2: 37).
- Church is a Place of Rest and Relief:
Hannah poured out her bitterness of her soul, in tears and prayers, in anguish and grief in the temple of the God at Shiloh. and as Jesus tells us “come to Me all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”. (Matt.11: 28).
- Church is a Place to experience the Fellowship with the Holy Spirit and to have Communion with the Saints,
like the Mount of Transfiguration,(Matt. 17: 1 – 13).
- Church is a Place for Reconciliation
between the faithful. The actual Liturgy begins with the kiss of peace and the celebrant proclaims bestowing God’s peace several times throughout the Holy Eucharist service.
- Church is symbol of God’s heavenly abode.
It is referred to as a temple of the Lord (1 Kings 8: 10), house of the Lord (Ex. 23: 19); prayer house of God (Mt. 21: 13) and God’s house – Bethel (Gen. 28:16-19).
- Church, is a consecrated Place of Worship,
(Acts 2:1-4), and to be revered and treated as a temple of God. Jesus Himself certifies that God dwells in the Church / temple (Mt. 23: 21).
- Church is the place to give Thanks, and our Offerings
(1 Cor. 16: 2; 2 Cor. 8: 19). The LORD Almighty instructed to bring all the offerings due to Him to the storehouse of the Temple of God (Mal. 3: 10; Neh. 13: 12). When Hanna’s prayers were answered she came back and thanked God (1 Sam. 1). When Peter and John healed the man, crippled from birth, he went into the temple, thanking and praising God.
- Church is a Place for Renewal
(Isaiah 40: 30-31) and the Church is a spiritual Hospital which heals man.
- Church is a LIGHTHOUSE:
Jesus is the Light (Jn. 8: 12) and we have to be enlightened by Him so we can enlighten others (Is. 60: 1-3). Church as a body is a lighthouse, with lost people all around. We must be the light to bring them to Jesus
Church is a Holy Place, as they are the place where God meets with His people. The word “Church,” by which we designate the place of divine worship, being derived from the Greek kuriakon, the Lord’s house, embodies the idea of its sacred character. The custom of setting apart places and houses as holy and dedicated to God’s worship was ever a part of the faith of God’s people. Throughout time God has called His creation to Him, for the exact purpose of the right relationship with Him.
We go to Church to meet God, to adore and to worship Him because it is the house of God. To praise God, by singing and praying, to receive remission of sins; to be spiritually enriched and strengthened, to partake His holy Body and Blood; to receive blessings; to receive peace of mind and to recharge ourselves. We go to Church for fellowship, inspiration, and service to Him.