The Importance of Faithful Attendance (LHCOC)
The Importance of Faithful Attendance
1. Paul Harvey once reported on a 73 year old man who was pinned beneath his farm tractor in driving rain and freezing temperatures. Concerned friends finally went to see about him, apparently just in time. Evidently he survived the ordeal, although he did lose one leg below the knee.
a. His survival was amazing, but even more amazing was what caused his friends to check up on him. What prompted them to think something was wrong? He missed a church service. Just one, that’s all. Apparently that man was so consistent, faithful in his attendance that his brethren knew that if he was not there, there must be something seriously wrong.
b. We might conclude that faithful attendance may save your life. More importantly, a failure to be faithful in attendance may cost us our souls.
2. Where is God in your life? What place do you give him? How much do you love Christ, how strong is your commitment to him? One way you can tell, and that others can tell as well, is by your attendance at the services of the church, or the lack of it.
3. As we read through the N.T. we find the Lord’s church came together regularly (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20; 16:2. Acts 2:42).
4. So we, as the Lord’s church today, are to continue steadfastly in assembling. In keeping with the apostles’ instruction we meet together on the first day of each week for worship. But we also meet for Bible class, again Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for Bible class and worship, and for gospel meetings…
a. There are some who are supposed to be members of the church who seldom attend any of these services. Perhaps Christmas, Easter, maybe mother’s day or perhaps when they can think of nothing else to do.
b. Others attend regularly every Sunday morning worship service, and supposing they have rendered sufficient devotion to the Lord in this one meeting, apparently do not see the need to attend the others… There are many of you here now, who are members of this congregation, who were not here for class, and do not plan to be back tonight or Wednesday…
5. I am not here to twist your arm, point fingers and accuse, or point fingers and condemn. I am here to say, I am concerned about you and am willing to help you in any way I can.
6. What many may not realize is that failure to be properly concerned about attendance at all the worship services of the church is a serious problem –for the individual, and the congregation. It may be some simply do not know, others know and need to be reminded, others just don’t care. But we all should care about… TITLE.
I. WHY SHOULD WE FAITHFULLY ASSEMBLE?
A. To worship God.
1. God is worthy to be praised.
a. Psa. 18:3: “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.”
b. Rev. 4:11: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power…”
c. Rev. 5:12: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
d. Psa. 29:2: “…Ascribe unto the Lord the glory due his name.”
2. We should want to worship God for his greatness but also for his goodness toward us.
a. Psa. 95:1-7a: “Oh come, let us sing unto the Lord; Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving… For the Lord is a Great God… Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker: For he is our God; And we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand…”
b. Psa. 100:1-5. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…”
3. When we think of all God is, his love, all he has given us in the world and in Christ, all Jesus suffered for us, why would we not want to take every opportunity we have to join together and give him thanks, praise his name. Where else we would want to be? How could we stand to miss it?
a. If you have to drag yourself to worship, if it’s a bother, only attending to soothe your conscience, out of irksome sense of duty, if you have to be begged, badgered and browbeaten there is something seriously wrong.
b. Psa. 122:1: I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house
of the Lord.
B. The study of God.
1. Teachers labor with love to teach our children to help them to know God, his Son, his will. What a tremendous blessing the Bible class program of the church is in helping to shape our precious children in the image of Christ. They love to come, but they can’t… if mom/dad don’t bring them.
2. Many so ignorant of the Bible because they simply do not read it themselves, and fail to take advantage of the classes on Sunday and Wednesday to teach them…Are we like the psalmist when he said:
a. Psa.119:97: Oh, how I love Your law!
b. Psa.119:40: Behold, I long for Your precepts.
c. Psa.1:2: His delight is in the law of the Lord...
3. We need spiritual nourishment…Mt.4:4: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
C. Devotion to God.
1. Matt.6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
a. Notice that it is not enough merely to seek… to have some place, importance. There is an order, a priority: FIRST. The kingdom of God must have first place in our lives or no place at all.
b. That means it comes before family (“But I have family visiting…”), friends, school, sports, work, recreation…
c. Am I seeking first the kingdom of God when the church assembles and I choose to be elsewhere? Is the church of Christ the most important thing in my life on Sunday morning? Evening? Wednesday night?
2. What does the Lord think of me if I’m only half-hearted? If I am anything less than on fire?
a. How many here would say that a person who only went to work 3 or 4 days out a 5 day work week was a faithful worker?
b. How many here would say a car that only started 8 out 10 times was a dependable vehicle?
c. What about a Christian who only attended 1 of the 3 or more services offered every week… would they be considered a faithful servant of Christ?
d. Rev.3:15-16: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
D. Love of God.
1. Mat. 22:37: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
2. Why should we love God?
a. 1 Jn.4:19: We love Him because He first loved us.
b. 1 Jn.5:3: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
3. Do I love God with all my heart, soul, mind…if I simply do not want to assemble with the saints to worship him? Or is there something I love more?
a. We sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” or “I love thy kingdom Lord…” but not more than an extra hour of sleep, not enough to come back… not enough to make the extra effort to get ready Saturday night… Wednesday…
b. Statistics don’t lie. More of us love God on Sunday morning than on Sunday night.
E. Love for one another.
1. Why am I preaching this sermon? 1 Jn.4:21: And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
2. How much should I love my brother? 1 John 3:16: By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
a. How much do I love my brother if I am not willing to attend to exhort him, encourage him?
b. Did you love you brother enough to come this morning? Back tonight?
3. The main verse in the NT that addresses the assembly of the church speaks of having a proper concern for one another (Heb.10:23-25).
a. What are we to do to provoke unto love, good works? “Do not forsake our own assembling…but exhort.” This text is not saying exhort to assemble (though we do that), but assemble to exhort.
b. Notice it is not: “the assembly” but “assembling.” Not “Sunday morning only.”
c. So here we have a command… the reason is for our good and the good of one another. When you are here, it encourages me, provokes unto love… When you’re not, you deprive me and you of blessings we need.
[Why attend… all? Worship of God, Study of Sod, Devotion to God, Love for God, and Love for one another. Now, the real question is…]
II. WHY DON’T WE FAITHFULLY ASSEMBLE?
A. Of course, I don’t have in mind those who want to be here but are not able… but those who could be here if they really were willing to make the effort.
B. Why do many not attend all of the services of the church?
1. Ignorance – maybe it is because they do not know any different.
2. Spiritual Immaturity – may some do not know everything involved in worship… Worship of God, Study of Sod, Devotion to God, Love for God, and Love for one another.
3. Excuses – We know the excuses. Too busy. Too hard. Not feeling well.
a. Too busy… Those who are here every time are just as busy as anyone else. Some may say, “God would surely not expect me to be inconvenienced, to get up an hour earlier… to hurry home Wednesday after work…” If I really want to do something, I can find the time and make the effort to do it. (Golf at 6:30 a.m.). If we gave away $100 bill at every service, we would suddenly have the building full.
b. Too hard… We know of brethren in other places who walk long miles in hot sun to sit on the ground or on wooden planks for hours… and we can’t get in our cars and drive a relatively short distance to sit in a comfortable air-conditioned building… and if we do we’re miserable if services run ten minutes past the hour?
c. Not feeling well… It’s strange how some never miss a football game or school activity, don’t mind to get the car washed, or go to the grocery store, but just don’t feel well enough on Sunday evening to go. There is a difference between being sick, and not feeling well…it’s called not forsaking and forsaking the assembly.
C. What would it take to get you back at the next service?
1. More love from God? Better book to study? Better church? Change the time? No.
2. What we need is more love for God, for his church, for our own souls.
1. Lord willing, we are going to assemble again [tonight]. Members of this congregation, will you be here? Why not?
a. I do not want you to feel like you have to tell me, while I may be concerned about you, I am not the One you will stand before on Judgment
b. What will be more important to you tonight, Wednesday? What will come before God? Whatever it is, is it worth it?
2. Faithful attendance is far from being the only thing necessary to be faithful. If you are not striving to live a life pleasing to God in other areas, you can attend every service and go straight to hell. It’s not the only thing, but it is an important part of faithfulness.
3. When you deliberately absent yourself from assemblies when you could be present, you deprive yourself of blessings you need, you deprive your brethren, you deprive God of worship due his name… you manifest an attitude which will places your soul in jeopardy.
4. With love every member of this church, and want what is best for you. We plead with you to consider these things. May we all put our Lord and his kingdom first in all things from this day forward, for the good of our souls and the glory of God.