The above question is often asked by church members. It is one which deserves some very careful consideration by all of us, especially by those who occasionally absent themselves from the assemblies. The question emanates from a false attitude, the attitude that one is going to try to get by with a minimum of service, rather than a maximum. Certainly, we would not say it is a sin to miss one or many services du to unavoidable hindrance, but we are not talking about such absences in this article. We have in mind the fellow who misses JUST ONE service because he doesn't care to go -- he would rather do something else.
To get to the heart of the question, consider the following: If one doesn't sin when he INDIFFERENTLY misses JUST ONE service, how many times does he have to miss before he sins? Two, four, six, or one hundred? At which absence does he become a sinner in need of repentance and by what authority do you answer? The truth of the matter is that if it is a sin to miss a hundred assemblies, it is a sin to miss JUST ONE service. If not, why not?
Take this imaginary situation for an example: Brother John Doe misses an assembly, but no one takes any notice of it; he misses 8 or 10 and the church begins to wonder. Finally, he is absent a whole year, and the elders go out to talk to him about his condition. When he asked the nature of his offense, the reply was that he had forsaken the assembling with the saints. What if he should ask for the specific time at which he became a sinner? What could they say? Could they rebuke him for missing the first, third, or one hundredth service? And if they should rebuke him for forsaking the assembling for one year, why shouldn't they rebuke him for forsaking it for one week? Why should it be wrong to miss a year, but right to miss one week?
One can wrestle with this question for days, and he will be forced to the conclusion that missing one service is a sin, if his reasoning is governed by common sense and Scripture. Many have never really seriously considered their duty to attend the assemblies; and hence they feel no guilt to speak of, regardless of how often they are absent.
We should all compare what we do for the Lord with what He has done for us, and hang our heads in shame for our lack of sacrifice for Him. We need to repent while we still have time or one day we shall stand before the Great Judge of all with unbearable disappointment for our LUKEWARM and HALF-HEARTED service. When that time comes, we will wish we had given heed to such admonitions as those uttered by Paul in the following words: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Heb. 10:25).
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