God's prescription for worship includes the church

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Minister's Forum

"Therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing to God. This is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1, Holman Christian Standard Bible)

I have been told many times that an individual need not go to church to worship God. Numerous people have attested that they can worship at home, on the lake or in the woods just as well or better than in a church building. I want to propose the following reasons why one should worship with the church.
1) Worship is more about God than it is about you. God must be approached as he dictates, not as you prefer to approach him. Our sin precludes our coming into his presence. He tells us the manner in which we must come before him. Offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament were not only required but their manner of presentation was specifically prescribed. We approach the Father through the Son and are told not to forsake the assembly of ourselves together as the manner of some is. Worship is not just feelings and emotions. It is a matter of sacrifice. Worship is about what God has given.
2) Jesus said where two or three are gathered together, he would be in their midst. You cannot worship God while disobeying him. The Psalmist said that God inhabits the praise of his people. God seems to prescribe a collective gathering, and enjoys unified praise and prayer. Nothing is said of a single individual worshiping in his own time and way. Sunday, the first day of the week, was set aside by the apostles as a day of collective worship because Christ arose on Sunday morning. Worship is more than silent reflection on God.
3) Spiritual gifts are given to individuals to be used to edify his church. Worshiping alone can benefit no one but the worshiper. Further, the one who worships alone cannot edify other believers. This is the very purpose of spiritual gifts. The exercise of spiritual gifts is a part of worship. Recognition of personal insufficiency and the edification of others is a necessary part of worship.
4) The church is God’s missionary agency for carrying the Gospel to all the world. Lack of obeying this command of our Lord cannot be pleasing to him. Support of missionary endeavors is a part of worship.
5) No monetary offering is given to the work of the Lord by worshiping alone. The church serves its community and should be supported because it was established by our Lord.
5) Fellowship is an ingredient of worship. Paul said to come out from among them [the world] and be separate.
6) One’s testimony is established before an unbelieving world by publicly affiliating oneself with the people called out by God.
7) Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Can you deny the significance of the church in your life and still please God with your worship? The church is the bride of Christ. How unthinkable that a bride would ignore her husband. When you ignore that which God loved most you cannot properly honor him.
You may feel you are pleasing God, but emotions can be deceptive and should not be trusted. The very fact that Christ established the church should move us to worship through this agency. I urge you to identify with the people of God. It is not appropriate to worship only alone. Certainly, you can have a personal relationship with Christ all alone and it is wise that you do so, but this relationship should not be used to reject public worship.
Great care should be given in preparation for one’s worship experience. Slighting worship is an insult to our creator.