The Third Commandment, “Why should I go to Church?” Someone might ask. “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian!” What answer would you give? Someone I was listening to the other day said, “Because that’s the way I stay a Christian. If I didn’t go to worship, I would wander away from God.”
The Third Commandment deals with our need to “hear God’s Word”. “Let the person who has ears to hear – listen!” (Matthew 13:9) The whole point of the Parable of the Sower is that people’s life depends on hearing God’s Word. “Everything depends on listening; where the Word is heard, everything has been done that human beings can do. The sounds of music are beautiful to the ear, but the truth of the Gospel is even more exquisite; news too fascinates the ear, but the Good News inebriates the heart.” (F.D. Brunner: Matthew - A Commentary, p.8)
Luther writes in the Large Catechism, “Even though you know God’s Word perfectly and already a master in all things: you are daily in the devil’s kingdom. He ceases neither day nor night to sneak up on you and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against the first three & all commandments. Therefore, you must always have God’s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle and the Word does not make a sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware. On the other hand, the Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard and used, it is bound never to be without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words.” (Concordia 370:100)
My hope & prayer is that all Christians under our care will listen to the preaching of God’s Word every week if they are able, & join me in reading the Bible, saying the verse for the week, singing the hymn of the week, learning the catechism off by heart & praying the Psalm - on a daily basis if possible.