I’m willing to admit that my views on attending church are based on my upbringing, but I still think they’re solidly based on Scripture, according to what I studied preparing for last Sunday’s sermon. Growing up, nothing got in the way of church. I mean… nothing! It’s weird, I know. But that’s how it was for me.
I had soccer practice on Wednesdays. The peer pressure was there—I was concerned about getting made fun of from my friends on the team, but I always left practice early and went to church. Sunday tournaments were just, “Too bad; we’ve got something more important that day—church.” Every vacation, every morning, evening and midweek service was spent in church. And I learned to like it!
Hebrews is the answer to all the pictures of Leviticus. Since Jesus is our High Priest, and when we’re taking advantage of the access we have to God’s throne, the author commands the reader of Heb. 10: 19-25 to 1) Have full assurance of FAITH, 2) Live in light of our HOPE, and 3) LOVE one another enough to provoke love and good works from each other.
This is impossible alone, so in God’s infinite genius, he encourages (commands, actually), the regular assembly of like-minded believers to help each other out. This is referring to nothing but church, and the GOAL of this text is to HELP you! Not beat you over the head with more “stuff” to do. Like it’s a drudgery. Or a pain.
Church is meant to be a place to encourage your spiritual growth, and for you to help each other, too. So, when we miss out on church, it’s only hurtful to us.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Here are a few of the points we made on Sunday night:
See forsaking the assembly like God sees it: as an abandonment of him. If we saw it like that, we’d be less flippant with services, I think. Research the word forsake on your own, and see how seriously God views this: Deut. 28:20; 31:16; 32:15, 18; Judg. 2:12, 13, 20; 10:10, 13; 1 Sam. 8:8; 12:10, etc. See 2 Tim. 4:10, 16.
Admit that the warning is at least valid: that forsaking the encouragement of the Word at LEAST opens you to the possibility of apostasy. The text following Heb. 10:25 is about those who slip away from truth into false doctrine. You may not fall into apostasy, but you have to admit that the probability is higher when you forsake the regular assembly of the encouragement of the Word (Heb. 13:22).
Instill the habit even when you don’t see immediate fruit.
Maybe it’s holding TOO strongly to a principle, but I think sometimes we need to be extra-aggressive with our PRINCIPLES even when they’re not Gospel. If anything just to make sure they stay strong, we will do things that may not make immediate sense. That’s why we’re hanging onto our service structure, why we’re having church on Christmas, why we’re adamant about not canceling services for every little thing (like Super bowl!), and why Pastor always makes a point to mention what church he attended on vacation. Someone might say, “Well, it was a lame church, and I didn’t get anything out of it.” There are some things in life that aren’t for the MOMENT, but for the LIFETIME.
See church as a COMMITMENT, and not a RIGHT. Don’t treat church as if YOU get to decide which services are going to be beneficial, and which are not. You don’t know. You aren’t omniscient (all-knowing). Someone mightsay, “Well it’s my RIGHT to go to church.” Actually, it’s kind of like a place that has its expectations. Remember the series “I Am a Church Member?” We distinguished between a COUNTRY CLUB and a CHURCH. One (country club) – pay your dues, GET what you can. Other (church) – you give of yourself for the benefit of others.
Expect God to CHANGE YOU in EVERY service. Come to church expecting to hear from God. He’ll speak to you. If anything, the Word of God is preached – that IS God speaking. Even if you like nothing else (and hopefully that’s not the case), come to hear the Word!
Keep the kingdom first.
Sincerely analyze your heart motives for missing.
It’s not a big deal
Everyone misses some
I’m old. Some are older
I work. Others do too, like 3:30 am
Health. Some are sicker. Mr. Sniffles.
Homework. Many have accomplished. Keep kingdom first.
Missing one is not a big deal. You’re probably right, but what you allow, the next generation will defend.
I know managers that would fire employees if they took the same approach to work as they do to church attendance. (commitment)
– Bro. Ryan