Some people today believe they can be a Christian without being part of a church. I know of people who call themselves Christians yet purposely do not associate with a local church fellowship. This is an unbiblical attitude that results in an unbiblical lifestyle. Hebrews 10 talks about not forsaking the assembly, and 1 John says that people who went out from the Christian group were really not part of the group (Heb 10:25 & 1 John 2:19). John Murray gave a good reminder of the tight bond between Christ and his bride, the church:
“We cannot think of Christ properly apart from the church. All the offices he exercises as head over all things, he exercises on behalf of the church. If we think of the church apart from Christ, or transfer to the church prerogatives that belong only to Christ, then we are guilty of idolatry. But if we think of Christ apart from the church, then we are guilty of a dismemberment that severs what God has joined together. We are divorcing Christ from his only bride. The central doctrine of the Christian faith should remind us of the evil of such divorce, for this doctrine is that ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it’ (Eph. 5:25).”
Since Christ loved his church that much, so should his followers! True, the church is not perfect. But Christ didn’t run away from it or forsake it, instead he loved the church and died for it! So the Christian must not run away from the church or forsake it, but love it, pray for it, and join with it – out of love for and obedience to Christ.