Church Attendance: Is it Necessary To Be A Christian?

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August 6, 2007

Hello kind sir:  

I have a question I hope you can answer for me:  

I am a seventh day Adventist and have not been going to church regularly, and recently I have been having health problems that keeps me from going like I should.  My question is this:  When Jesus returns, will those who don't go to church be taken to heaven along with other believers, simply because we don't attend church?  I ask this because one of the members I go to church with makes me feel as if when he comes back, he'll only come for those who go to church.  

Thank you for your help  

Your sister in Christ

(Persons name):   

God is a God of the heart.  He does not take into consideration your work to determine your salvation.  That would negate your dependence upon what Christ did on the cross for your salvation.  For it is not by works of righteousness that you go to heaven but by Jesus and His saving Grace (Titus 3:1).   With that said, you can't work your way to heaven nor will you ever be good enough to attain salvation.

But there is also a flipside to salvation.  Certainly, salvation is by Grace through faith and not of ourselves it is a gift of God lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2: 8 & 9).  But I also believe that if one is saved they will strive to be like Christ. The Bible says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21)."  Living a life of sin or contrary to the Word of God is a strong indicator that one may not be saved.  Certainly, that's not my call but as a fruit inspector (Matthew 7:15-20) God has given each Christian the ability to identify others of like faith (other Christians). 
So what does this mean...are we to work our way to heaven with things such as church attendance, tithing, etc.?  Not at all!  Salvation is still by Grace but once we have taken on salvation we must repent and turn from our sin.  Does that mean we must be perfect?  Not at all!  But I think you should remember that when God saved us He bought us with a price and we are now no longer our own (I Corinthians 6:19 & 20). 
(persons name), as a Christian, God expects you to allow the Holy Spirit to lead your life so that you may grow and achieve the goals God has set before you (Romans 8:28).  Attending church and learning how to live for the Lord is one avenue God uses to teach the principles of His Word and bring Christian believers together for fellowship.  He certainly does not want us to forsake our assembling together (Hebrews 10:25). 
But as I said in my opening statement, God is a God of the heart.  If you have accepted Jesus as Lord of your life, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, rose again and is now at the right hand of the Father, and repented of your sins you are saved.  That cannot be taken away from you.
When Jesus comes He will be coming for His children and not necessarily for those who are in the building (church).  That's not to say you shouldn't be in church but if health problems prevent this there's not a whole lot you can do about it other than ask the elders of the church to pray for your healing (James 5:24 & 15).  
I hope this has answered your question.
Terry Malone

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Terry Malone