A friend was telling me about where he attends "church." He said a lot of people come to Bible Class, but then leave before their worship services. That was a new one on me. Usually we have people to miss the Bible Classes and come just for the worship service. I want to address the need to faithfully attend the worship services.
First, we are commanded to remember the Lord’s death by observing the Lord’s Supper. "And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ’Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ’This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me" (1 Corinthians 11.24-26). The saints gathered together on the first day of the week to observe the Lord’s Supper, Acts 20.7. It focuses our mind upon the sacrifice of Jesus, and the price that was paid for us.
Second, we come together to "stimulate one another to good works" (Hebrews 10.24b). I have never been encouraged by a person’s absence. An empty seat does not motivate me to sin, or pray, or study. Instead a person’s absence tells me they are either physically or spiritually sick. In some cases it tells me they think worshipping God is really not important. It is not as important as a ballgame, or schoolwork, or cleaning the house, or a host of other activities. Therefore, when a person deliberately misses services, they are shirking their responsibility to God and toward their fellow Christians.
Third, we come together to hear a lesson from the Word of God. "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1.21). Christ sent out the apostles to preach the gospel. "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24.47). The Gospel of Christ must be taught before men can believe. "How than shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10.14). Unfortunately a few Christians downplay the importance of the preaching of God’s Word. Notice I said the preaching and not the preacher. The preacher is simply the messenger, the message is that which is important.
A sermon gives us the opportunity to study a Bible subject in greater detail. The preacher should study and know his subject. The audience should be attentive to the message. Take notes, look up the passages in the Bible, meditate on what is being said, and ask questions afterward in order to gain a better understanding of the Scriptures.
Fourth, we come together to pray for each other. Granted we can pray for each other outside of our assembly, but we can pray collectively when we are together. We can unite our prayers and pray for those that are spiritually and physically ill. We can thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us, our young families, older Christians, the elders, deacons, and preacher. All of us need the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Fifth, our attendance or lack thereof is often interpreted by our visitors. In some cases they can see the difference in Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night services. When our attendance drops off by 40% on Sunday night and another 10 to 20% on Wednesday night it reflects on our interest in serving God. How sad it would be if a visitor quit coming because of our lack of attendance. Our attendance shows our level of commitment. Those who make decisions to stay away from the services are not really committed. We need more determination and involvement.
By Dennis Tucker
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