From a piece written by Greg L. Bahnsen, titled: “Is It Our Moral Obligation to Attend Church?”
Old Testament Law, Piety, and Prophets
The Mosaic law commanded God’s people to gather together for corporate worship and the hearing of God’s word (e.g., Deut. 12:5-12; 31:11-12). Indeed, the law of God required that the weekly Sabbath in particular be a “holy convocation” (Lev. 23:3). Regardless of outward circumstances (e.g., seventh-day Sabbath, a localized central tabernacle), the worship required in the Old Testament law entailed the basic moral element of assembling with God’s people to hear His word and praise His name.
The religious piety of the Old Testament saint was evident in his desire to “Render unto Jehovah the glory due unto His name, bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship Jehovah in the beauty of Holiness” (1 Chron. 16:20; cf. Ps 96:8-9). The believer is eager to worship in the midst of the assembled people of God. David the Psalmist wrote, “I will declare Thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I praise Thee” (Ps. 22:22). “I will give Thee thanks in the great assembly; I will praise Thee among the people” (Ps. 35:18; cf. 116:12-17). Many of the psalms emphasize the fact that David worshipped along with a congregation of other believers (e.g., Ps. 42:4; 55:14; 122:1; 132:7).
David’s inspired testimony shows that his desire for congregational worship is normative for all God’s people, He declared to all believers; “O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Jehovah our Maker” (Ps. 95:6), “Come before His presence with singing...Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Give thanks unto Him and bless His name (Ps. 100:2,4), “Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, and praise Him in the seat of the elders” (Ps. 107:32). “Praise ye Jehovah, Sing unto Jehovah a new song and His praise in the assembly of the saints” (Ps. 149:1).
Old Testament prophecy likewise shows us that those who are true believers will desire to assemble with God’s people to hear His word and praise His name in congregational worship. For instance, Isaiah the prophet indicated that converts to the Lord would join themselves to the corporate worship of God’s people in “Jehovah’s house of prayer” (Is. 56:6-7; quoted by Jesus in Mark 11:17).
One of the burdens of Malachi’s prophecy was that the corrupt worship among the Jews of his day would, in the future age of God’s advent, be replaced with pure worship among the Gentiles in every place (Mal. 1:11; 3:3-4).
Therefore, the law, piety, and prophecy of the Old Testament all combine to point us to our moral obligation to gather together with God’s people for worship.
“But that was the Old Testament, with its Jerusalem temple and seventh-day Sabbath,” someone might complain. This complaint diminishes the full authority of God’s inspired word. Referring to the Old Testament, Paul taught “every scripture” is inspired and is profitable for...instruction in righteousness? (2 Tim. 3:16). Of course, changes from the covenantal administration and foreshadows of the Old Testament to the redemptive realities of the New Testament must be recognized (much of the book of Hebrews serves this very purpose).
Nevertheless, Jesus obliges us to submit to the continuing validity of “every jot and tittle” of the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17-19), and Paul teaches that “whatever was written previously in the Old Testament was written “for our instruction” (Rom. 15:40. In that light, we would naturally expect that the moral obligation of corporate worship which is taught in the Old Testament will continue into the New. God continues to call a people for himself in the New Testament, and God surely continues to be worthy of their praise.