references: 1 John, especially the first chapter, understanding that “fellowship” refers to “church”. also our church has a sermon series on fellowship that you can listen to here or read some notes from here. i apologize for the references not being more exact!
how we define church:
a place where christians gather to –
a- study the scriptures, especially the gospel
b- worship corporately through singing, prayer and service
c- minister to one another through spiritual gifts
d- have communion and baptism
e- administer church discipline
it takes all of these to be the church, and church discipline is meant to remove someone from the fellowship that comes with points a through d; willfully separating oneself from the church is unknowingly administering church discipline on oneself.
why attend church:
1| God is in perfect fellowship with himself, and we should model our lives after God
2| According to 1 John 1, the church has fellowship with one another so they can have fellowship with God, and so that our joy may be complete.
3| To partake in points a – b of what defines a church (study of scripture, singing prayer and service with other believers, ministry to others through spiritual gifts, communion and baptism, and church discipline)
4| To have community with believers of all age groups, socioeconomic status, and races
when we come across a christian tradition that has lasted for hundreds or even thousands of years, we should ask ourselves why this tradition exists. is it based on scripture or something else? in the case of attending church, we have clear references in Acts and the letters to the specific congregations in the new testament