Vol. 4, No. 8
~ Page 8 ~
[The Forrest Hill News, Vol. 26, March 29, 2000, p. 2.]
Often the question is asked, "Must I attend every service of the Lord's church?" Some feel that attending one worship assembly each week meets the criterion of faithful membership. But the problem is one of the heart. The question should be: "How much do I love God; how much do I love the brotherhood; how much do I love my soul and the crown of life awaiting the faithful?" The Christian, therefore, will reason thus:
One, I will assemble regularly, for to praise God demonstrates and proves my love for him and my gratitude for the marvelous sacrifice of Christ (John 14:15). To the Christian who lives in great anticipation of serving God day and night in his presence in heaven, the privilege of serving and praising him in the assembly cannot come often enough (Revelation 5:9-14). To have to miss the Bible study/worship brings deepest regret. Why, the Christian will die for Christ; certainly, he will assemble faithfully in his presence with the brethren!
Two, I will assemble regularly, for this helps me to be my brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9). It helps to strengthen my marriage (Song of Solomon 8:6; Matthew 19:6-9; Hebrews 13:4), helps me bring my children up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), helps me lead the lost to Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 7:4), helps me restore the erring (James 5:19-20), helps me love the brotherhood (Hebrews 13:1), helps me bear fruit (John 15:1ff), without which I shall be cut down (Luke 13:6-9).
Three, I will assemble regularly, for this helps me to be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). I do not wish to be lost; my spiritual carcass must not litter the path of life. I attend, for it brings edification and encouragement, fortification and conviction. The knowledge gained and associations experienced enable me to overcome temptation. Studying at home, though vital, cannot substitute for the strength derived from sharing the like precious faith with my brethren. That "tie that binds" is strengthened and my resolve is enhanced. I am human; I require the encouragement and brotherhood of others. I can then bear fruit and win the lost. I realize I am not alone; others are working for the Lord, as well.
Four, I will assemble regularly, for this enables me to function as a priest (Revelation 1:6). I realize how unbecoming it is for a priest not to have a sacrifice. Thus, I will give him the sacrifice of praise on every possible occasion (Hebrews 13:15), for I am part of that "royal priesthood," the church which was purchased by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 2:9; Acts 20:28). I am not my own, for I have been purchased and redeemed (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); I will thus glorify God. My privilege is great, for I can, being a priest, ". . . therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Five, I will assemble regularly, for this helps me put the kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). It shows steadfastness (1 Corinthians 15:58), offering my body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). I hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6); it will help me be filled. My presence tells the preacher, "Your study and sacrifices are much appreciated; I will give heed to the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). It tells the elders, "You certainly can count on me in the work of the church; I love you for watching in behalf of my soul" (Hebrews 13:17). It tells the Bible class teachers, "Your time of preparation will do me good" (2 Timothy 2:2). I will show appreciation for the regular feeding time established by the shepherds in the local church, who rule under the chief Shepherd, Christ (1 Peter 5:4; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28).
I attend the services because it is a command, but that is not my main reason for doing so. It is certainly true that I am commanded not to forsake the assembly (Hebrews 10:25). But, I attend out of love for God and for the good it does for me. God will continue to be God, whether I worship him or not. Note Psalm 50:12, where God observes, "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; For the world is mine, and the fullness thereof." Yes, my attendance helps the cause of Christ, but it especially helps me. Indeed, whether or not I attend every service has never been a subject of debate -- I will be present; if at all possible!