Church Attendance

Pastor D Green

03.09.2019

 

“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.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

 

I want us to consider the subject of “Church Attendance.”   This message was preached from the pulpit as part of a series I called Neglected Church Truths.  I believe this message and the others that follow are important because, let’s face it, the Devil is after the Lord’s churches.

 

"Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."  (2 Corinthians 11:1-3)

 

 

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:28–31)

 

 

Satan is not after the building, although he might someday take it from us to try to discourage us.   But remember the building is not the church.  Look around you, consider the membership of the church.   This is the church.

 

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:14–20)

 

 

Notice how the Scripture compares the church to a body.   And not just any body.  A human body.    Interesting isn’t it?  What is a body?  A local visible thing.   Nobody would ever imagine it to be a universal, nor would anyone think it to be invisible.  I am amazed at the otherwise smart men who will get into God’s Word and try to make the church become some pie in the sky concept.  Beloved, these things ought not to be!   There is a reason why that God uses such things as the human body, the bride, a house to describe His church.   These are all local.   I am sure when you men are thankful to have a local visible wife.  To have a universal invisible wife is unheard of.    So is a universal invisible church.

 

But some Baptists seem to think there is such a thing as an invisible church member.  How do I know this?  Because we hardly see them.   They join the church but then are missing from the services quite frequently.

 

Look here at the text before us. 

 

Every member of the church is compared to a physical body part of the human body.  Now think about this.   How much trouble would it have been for you to get here this morning if your feet decided to be somewhere else?  Your eyes decided they didn’t want to come?   And yet that is exactly what happens week after week in churches across this country and sadly even in our own.

 

What’s the deal?  I’ll never understand poor church attendance. I heard one time that the pastor spends a lot of time begging and calling on people who miss church.  Yet I don’t find that in the Scripture.  I do find that when a person is saved you ought to want to please the Lord in all things including church membership and attendance.  Some of y’all miss church so frequently but you’ll be sure go other places.  Why? 

 

It’s disrespectful to the body, including the pastor.   But worse than that, it’s disrespectful to the Head of this church - Jesus Christ.

 

I guarantee if I told you next week Jesus was coming and He would be here with us in the flesh, there’d be great attendance and great effort made by the entire body to be here. 

 

Well, guess what folks?  

 

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

 

 

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:12–20)

 

 

Jesus is here every service.   Whether you show up or not!

 

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:24–29)

 

 

Thomas missed the meeting with the Lord and we remember him often as “doubting Thomas.”   I often wonder if there is a lesson to be learned here.   A person’s faith is not so strong and I ask them about their personal Bible reading, prayer life and church attendance.  Every time and in every conversation I have had, these things are lacking.

 

Now I understand that there are reasons why a person might miss.

 

Sicknesses.

Traveling.  

Distance.

 

 

What we need to be careful of is to be sure these are reasons and not excuses.  Are we really unable to get to the church service, or are we just using an excuse?   If we would be unable to go to work , the grocery store, etc then we may have  a good reason but if we could go to those other places then we should be in church.

 

Sometimes folks are hindered from being in the church service because of living far away.   Long distance membership ought to be the exception and not the rule.   However, they do happen from time to time for various reasons.  

 

Some churches and pastors argue against the idea completely however, the Bible does have a clear example in the Eithiopian eunuch who was baptized into the membership of the church at Jerusalem in Acts 8. 

 

Perhaps, like in the case of the eunuch, a man or a family lives in an area where there is no body he can unite with locally.  

 

Obviously such folks cannot be held to the same expectation as the rest of the church.  However these cases should not be common, and our desire should be that either the member who lives away move closer or a work and eventually a church be established in that city or town that is closer to them.

 

It ought not to be that we want to have a perpetual satellite or little kingdom in other places as so many are apt to do in our day.   At the same time, as a church, we should avoid the other extreme to discourage such folks by neglecting their needs.

 

Beloved, such cases ought to be where a person is saved and just doesn’t live close to the church.   May it never be that a church member moves his family away to a place where there is no church.   I do not believe God is in the business of moving church members away from church except on two instances – persecution and mission work.   Aside from these, you may have a reason but do not blame God for it.

 

Let’s get back to where we started.  

 

“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.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

 

You might have thought I was never going to get back here, didn’t you?

 

The church written to in the book of Hebrews was warned not to forsake public assembly.  We see that “some” had already done so, even in those early days.  And they are bidden that by meeting together they will exhort (strongly encourage) one another and they need to do this with increased diligence.

 

The strongest of words is used here.  Notice it again.

 

“Not forsaking….”   This is not only about attending the worship assembly, but everything about forsaking.

 

It is not merely the sin of sloth, laziness, apathy, or indifference which is considered here, but also the sin or the danger of the sin of full blown apostasy.   These other sins are horrible but full blown apostasy is at stake here.   Watch out for it.   What starts as sloth, or laziness can turn into something more.

 

Think about it.  You miss one church service, and you feel bad about it but then two services and more and eventually you don’t even feel bad for missing any more.  Days turn into weeks and months turn into years.  Does not the writer even bring this out when he warns “as the manner of some is…”    That word manner is the same as custom.  Has it become your custom or habit to forsake the assembling of ourselves together? 

 

That word forsaking or the variation of it is found in other places.  (See Mark 15:34; II Timothy 4:10).

 

 

If we are to follow Christ and follow Him rightly, ought should we not follow Him in His church?

 

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)

 

 

Yet there are people out there who never want anything to do with the Lord’s churches and yet claim to know the Lord and read the Bible.    They have a manner or custom about them that we need not have.  

 

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66)

 

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)

 

 

The warning here in Hebrews is not to those who are already gone, but to those who are in danger of going.   Where are you at? 

 

I have been going through my old sermon notes and reflecting lately.

 

These things are for your spiritual growth.   You can’t grow properly if you aren’t present in the worship service to hear the preaching of God’s Word.  Sure, you could “catch up” on Sermon Audio but its not the same as actually being in the Lord’s House and meeting with the Lord and His people. 

 

“But exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.”

 

This is the positive side of our verse.  In these evil days we live in….these last days before the coming of our Lord we need to exhort…to encourage one another.  You’ll miss if you aren’t in the church service.

 

 

Will you make it a point to be with us?

 

 

We presently meet at 1117 N Trimble Rd in Mansfield Oh on Sunday morning at 10AM and 11AM as well as Wednesday night at 7PM.