Does it matter where you attend and which Church of God fellowship you support?
Suppose every group taught the same doctrine to the brethren, exactly the same, and each group taught that doctrine equally well. That is probably not true, but for a moment, pretend that it is.
If all teach the same doctrines equally well, does it matter which fellowship we are a member of?
Not so much for the major doctrines, but for the world that needs a warning message.
If all taught the major doctrines equally well, it might seem that it would not matter, for our personal salvation, which group we attend with and primarily support with our tithes, offerings, prayers, and service.
But does it matter for others outside the Church of God? Does it matter for God's work of preaching the gospel to the world and the Ezekiel warning about the tribulation upon the English-speaking nations if they do not repent? Yes, it matters FOR THEM which fellowship we support.
Not all fellowships put equal effort, or are equally effective, in getting that message out. Some do better than others. In my opinion, LCG does the best job of any major Church of God fellowship of getting that message out to the public. They have a TV program on many stations and typically bring in about 5,000 responses or more a week, people asking for booklets after seeing the TV program. They have public Bible lectures and a magazine. Their message is strong, but balanced, and people respond to it.
God's tithe money, dollar for dollar, will be more effective in getting the Ezekiel warning out to the public when sent to a group that has the zeal, the talent, the experience, and the blessings of God to preach the gospel and warning effectively than if it is sent to a group that does not have these qualities. So if you want to get the warning message out to your friends and neighbors and fellow workers in this country, not members of the Church of God, but ordinary people who never heard the truth before and don't know that a severe punishment is coming, then you should want to support a fellowship that is getting that message out effectively, even if all fellowships teach the same doctrines.
Is that important?
"Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,' Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?" (Proverbs 24:11-12). "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19). "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18).
Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you want your neighbors to hear a warning before it is too late? Do you love the people in the neighborhood you live in, the people you see at work, your extended family and relatives not in the Church, as you love yourself? Or do you love yourself more (Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:25-37)?
Do you want them to hear a warning before it is too late for them to escape the tribulation? I am not suggesting you push your beliefs on them directly. But you can help them have access to the truth by supporting a fellowship that is preaching that truth on TV, in magazines, on the Internet, in public Bible lectures, on radio, or any other effective means.
All those who know the truth, that is, all of us in the whole Church of God, have the job of giving the Ezekiel warning. We are the watchman God talks about in (Ezekiel 3:16-21, 33:1-11). If we do not give the warning, their blood will be on our heads. In other words, their guilt for breaking the Sabbath will be transferred to us, because we didn't warn them, and WE will be punished for it. God has made us the watchman.
How do I know this? The verses I quotes MAKE us a watchman because they command us to give the warning.
Here is a command, in effect, to give the warning: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19). Love requires that we give the warning message, because the people need the warning message.
Here is another command to give the warning: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). If you were headed for trouble and didn't know it, wouldn't you want somebody to warn you? If there was an obstacle on a dark and wet road up ahead that could cause you to have an accident, would you not want someone to light a flare to warn you to slow down? If you were asleep in a burning apartment building, would you not want someone to pound on your door to wake you up to save your life? If you would want a warning, then likewise you should give a warning to those about to die. Then these verses are equal to a command to give the warning, and they give you and me and anyone who knows what is coming the job of watchman.
Here is another command to give the warning: "Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11). The only way you can hold back those who are sinning and bringing punishment on themselves is to warn them before it is too late. So this is another command for us to warn, and this scripture also gives us the job of watchman to give the Ezekiel warning, and if we are not diligent to do it with all our might, we become guilty for our failure to give the warning.
Here is another command to teach God's truth to the public: "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' " (Matthew 28:18-20). This is a commission for the Church.
So it matters for other people, our friends and neighbors and fellow employees at our places of work, people who live next us, among our extended family if they are not in the Church of God, and the whole nation whether we know the people or not, that we do everything we can to get a warning message out by supporting whatever Church of God fellowship is doing that most effectively. That is true even if every fellowship teaches us, the members of the Church, the same basic doctrines.
So when you make a decision where you attend and where to send your tithes, you should think beyond yourself, not just, how will this affect me, but, how will this affect other people? How many people will I get the warning to if I contribute to this Church of God fellowship more than if I contribute to this other Church of God fellowship?
But in fact, even for our salvation, it matters where we attend, because we need to be supporting a group that is getting the warning message out. Also, a group that is not doing the Ezekiel warning work, because they do not have the zeal for God's work or true agape love for the Israelite nations, is likely not going to do a good job of feeding the flock and teaching us and helping us in our relationship with God.
Why is it important that the Ezekiel warning go out to the people before the tribulation begins? Basically, they need to know that they heard a warning so that if they do not repent and heed the warning (and most will not), they will remember that they ignored the warning, and they will accept the blame for not heeding the warning and not try to blame God because they never heard the warning. Many people in this country and others do not know they are doing wrong. Catholics and Protestants don't know it is wrong to keep Christmas and Easter and to work on Saturdays. They need to be told. That way, if they ignore the warning and continue, they can remember that we warned them but they ignored it. Otherwise, in the tribulation they will say, "it wasn't my fault, no one told me, so God is unfair to punish me."
I go into this in more detail in chapters 3, 4, and 5 of my book.
God will judge us for our love, or lack of it, for the nations that will go through the tribulation. God will judge us if we do not go all out to support a warning message, just as we would want to be warned if we did not know the truth. If you and I have a strong love for other people, enough to go all out to get the gospel and warning message out, Christ can say to us, "well done, good and faithful servant". But if we do not have that love and do not go all out, He may say something else to us. But one way or another, we will be judged for our decisions, for good or bad. Let's make sure we are judged favorably, because we please God, not unfavorably for what we do, in all our decisions, including the decision of which Church of God organization to attend or support.
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
CHAPTER 3 - THE EZEKIEL WARNING
CHAPTER 4 - WHY PREACH THE GOSPEL?
CHAPTER 5 - SHOULD THE CHURCH FEED THE FLOCK ONLY?