“Sundays” Aren’t Optional

Some early Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42); others had the manner, or habit, of forsaking the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:25). Which group of early Christians do you think pleased God, and which group best describes you?

It is evident from New Testament Scriptures that Sunday, the first day of the week, was a day on which Christians were to assemble with one another. Paul sailed to Troas and abided there seven days. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow …” (Acts 20:7). To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” How could Paul know that the Corinthians would be assembling together on the first day of the week? Was it coincidence that the church at Troas, the church at Corinth, and the churches of Galatia assembled on the first day of the week? Obviously, God commanded saints everywhere to assemble on that day.

It is not surprising that God has chosen the first day of the week for Christians to assemble together, eat the Lord’s Supper, and give as they have prospered. Consider the events that took place on the first day of the week: Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9); later, after Jesus ascended into heaven, salvation and forgiveness of sins were preached in the name of Jesus on Pentecost and the church was begun on that first day of the week (Acts 2:21,38,47; Leviticus 23:16). The first day of the week is “the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10) — a day distinguished from all the other days of the week because of its association with and devotion to the Lord.

Christians are commanded “not to forsake” the assembling of themselves together (Hebrews 10:25). The writer “refers here, not to apostasy from the church, as some allege, but simply to the neglect of public worship” (R. Milligan, Commentary on Hebrews). Therefore, it is sinful for a Christian to ignore assembling with the saints on Sundays or to think he or she can fulfill this command by worshipping at home apart from the saints. “Sundays” are not optional.

Some Christians are steadfast in assembling with the saints on the first day of the week. They eagerly make all the preparations needed and joyously anticipate the worship services. Perhaps, others who desire to assemble on Sundays are hindered from doing so because of sickness or other extenuating circumstances. We do not deem these to have forsaken the assembly. They are steadfast in their mind and hearts and should be judged accordingly.

However, some capriciously miss assembling with the saints on the first day of the week for sleep, leisure, work, etc. They deliberately plan activities that will interfere with their attendance of the worship services and are dissuaded from coming to the assembly of the saints by the slightest ache or cough. Such actions signal a lack of sound judgment and commitment to the Lord. Furthermore, those who willfully disobey God’s commands to assemble with the saints on the first day of the week and to eat the Lord’s Supper and to give as they have prospered are guilty of rebellion.

Are you steadfast or is it your manner, or habit, to forsake the assembling of the saints? “Forsaking the assembling” is a sure road to apostasy when people persist in doing so. Please understand, “Sundays” are not optional!

Harold Hancock

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