There is one sermon in the arsenal of every gospel preacher which should only rarely be needed, and then only as a refresher or reminder: It is a sermon on the necessity of faithful attendance by every member of a local church at the services of that local church. However, it seems like most preachers, myself included, have spent an inordinate amount of time through the years pleading with Christians to attend services. This kind of thing shouldn’t be necessary! Attendance should be as normal to a Christian as breathing.
Unfortunately, most sermons on attendance fall on deaf ears. Those who truly need such basic teaching tend to tune out lessons on attendance. What is even worse, most of the time weak, non, or rare-attending brethren never hear the lessons, because they aren’t there when the lesson is preached! The preacher is hard pressed to guess when these folks might happen to be in attendance.
When the Lord’s day rolls around each week my place is in the assembly, not because I am the preacher, but because I am a Christian. I am also in my place on Sunday night, Wednesday night, and during a gospel meeting for the same reason — I am a Christian. My faithful attendance is vital to the growth of the church. My attendance is also essential to my own spiritual growth. Apparently the saints in the first century understood the value of regularly assembling together. In Acts 2 the early Christians diligently involved in the Lord’s service. Those that gladly received the gospel and were baptized and “… continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer” (Acts 2:42). There seemed to be a fervor at the beginning of the Lord’s church that is lost to some degree now. The early disciples desperately wanted to be involved in spiritual pursuits. They knew the value of their souls and wanted to grow spiritually.
Why can’t we feel like the early disciples felt? We claim to restore first century Christianity, yet we often fail miserably where they excelled. I submit that we can have the same zeal the early church had, but to do so we must put our interest spiritual things rather than things that are worldly. We must “… seek those things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Your regular attendance at the services of the church is vital because it is an expression of the confident hope that in within you as a Christian. Paul told the Hebrew Christians to hold fast the confession of this hope “without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23). Those early Christians would go on to face terrible hardships that would test their faith, and they were required by God to never abandon their confession of hope.
In addition to declaring their hope, the regular assembling of a Christian with other Christians in worship provides him with the necessary atmosphere of rejuvenation that will enable him to confidently hold on to his hope.
When you choose to forsake the assembling of the saints, you are wavering! Not only are you wavering in your faith, but you are also abandoning the perfect opportunity to strengthen your resolve to serve God diligently.
Christians are strengthened by the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16). The heart soars when we blend our voices together in exuberant a cappella praise to God. We learn how to live holy lives from carefully prepared discourses of the word of God. The Bible study we engage in when we come together is wholesome spiritual exercise (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Sometimes it hurts when our toes are trampled on, but if we have good and honest hearts we repent, submit to truth, and are better for it. The Lord’s Supper is a blessed opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ suffering and death (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10:23-26). By observing the Lord’s Supper each Sunday, we not only fulfill a requirement given by God, but our faith is increased as well. Even the weekly contribution serves to strengthen us. It is an expression of gratitude to God, and a reminder of how much God has blessed us, for we give as we have prospered (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Your attendance is vital to the growth of the church. Paul instructed the Hebrews to “… consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together …” (Hebrews 10:24-25). You may not think so, but your presence at each assembly is a necessary component of the growth of the church — whether you lead in the public worship or not!
When you identify yourself with a local church you are pledging to pull your share of the load (Ephesians 4:16). You are responsible for helping to encourage me and the other brethren by meeting with us regularly. Likewise, other Christians are responsible for encouraging you.
Tell me how it is possible to provoke your brethren to “love and good works” without being with them. When you choose to forsake the assembling of the saints for another pursuit, you are telling your brethren how unimportant they are. We should be more important to you than extra dollars you may earn working overtime, guests that might drop in unexpectedly, or a camping trip or ball game.
Failure to attend regularly is a poor example for your children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 6:4). Children whose parents don’t attend regularly will grow up to be adults who don’t love the Lord, and who have little interest in the work of the church. A church without zeal for public worship will never grow numerically. No one wants to be a part of a dead church.
Much more could be said, but the truth should be obvious by now. Take these exhortations seriously. Your attendance at all of the services of the local church is vital. Vital means necessary to life — spiritual life and eternal life.
Adapted from David Weaks