Assembling with the saints.

 

This morning we are going to be examining the importance of assembling with the saints. This is one area that every church can improve on. Some Christians only see it necessary to attend Sunday morning worship and will vary rarely make it to Sunday evening worship or Sunday morning or Wednesday night Bible class. Sunday morning worship always has the highest attendance rate. I have take the liberty to run the numbers of our attendance here at Lone Grove and have also taken the attendance rate at other congregations to show a comparison between Sunday morning worship compared to the other services thatwe have here at Lone Grove.

 

 

SC

SE

WC

LG

49%

63%

69%

A

 

48%

 

B

 

65%

 

C

64%

61%

44%

D

73%

74%

74%

E

 

55%

70%

F

71%

69%

68%

G

71%

39%

47%

 

 

As you can see from this chart we can compare our attendance to that of 7 other churches that I contacted. First you will notice the low number are in red and the high number are in yellow. These percentage represent how many people come back to the varying services based on the amount of people who come on Sunday morning. As you can see we definitely need to improve in our Sunday morning Bible class because we are lowest in attendance compared to these other churches. The highest number 73% On Sunday evening were right inthe middle between the highest and lowest and also on Wednesday night we are in the middle. Now I know that it would be almost impossible to have 100% attendance in all these categories since some have work during these times some that attend on Sunday morning are just passing through. But I donít see any reason why could not be somewhere in the 80 percentile range. So the morning I want to try my best to encourage to make to every service you possible can and I am going to do this by giving 6 reason why you should attend every service.

 

 

 

The 1st reason is to grow and develop spiritually

 

The church services are designed for spiritual growth. When you listen to the sermons and attend the bible classes it helps you to grow and develop into a more mature Christian. It is important for us to grow in the faith. Look at what the Hebrew writer had to say to those that were not growing in the faith as they should. Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. When we sing to the lord, not only do we praise him but we teach each other with the words of the song.Col 3:16.Prayer, the Lordís Supper, and even the collection is designed to bring us closer to God and to one another.

 

Our spiritual growth depends on our spiritual diet. We cannot grow in the faith, as God wants us to on a starvation diet. Those who attend irregularly eventually will suffer from spiritual malnutrition leaving them weak and susceptible to temptation. It becomes easier to skip church the more you do it. On the same hand it becomes easier to make it to every service the more you come. I challenge you this morning to attend every church service for 3 months straight and you will see that you will become stronger in the faith having a greater joy and peace in your lives.

 

The 2nd reason is to help the church function properly.

 

The local church needs workers.The church is described as a body, needing every individual part to do it share. This is described in Eph 4:15 speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. No one can say that they are not needed nor can they say that they donít need others. Paul very clearly wrote to the Corinthians about the body in 1Cor 12:12-27. He told them thatthe body was one, but its made up of individual members and ever member is important. The eye cannot say to the hand that I have no need for you nor can the foot say since I am not a hand I am not part of the body. God has a work for every member in his church from the weak to the strong. Look at verse24.But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Again, one can not say they are not needed. If a Christian does not attend every service how in the world are they going to know if a member is suffering.

 

For the church to function properly, a church needs both physical and spiritual service. Such as leading songs, prayers, reading scripture, and preaching. There also teaching children and adult classes. We need people to prepare communion and clean the building. There are many thingsthat need to be done outside the assembly such as visiting the sick, helpingthe needy, teaching the lost, and encouraging the weak.

 

The church is dependent upon its members. Those who attend sporadically rarely do much for the church. A church can only be as strong as its collective members. The church is like a chain. If there are missing links it affects the entire chain.

Do you want to see the church grow?

Do you want to see the weak encouraged?

Do you want to see souls saved?

 

If the answer is yes it is up to you and to me to attend every church service possible so we can make the body stronger. When we backslide we are not living up to our full potential in our service to the lord. Do we really want to give an answer to the Lord for why we hindered his church?

 

The third reason is to provide a good example and influence.

 

Christians are to set a good example for one another. Look what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Listento what he tells Titus 2:7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Not only are we to be a good example to one another we are to be examples to the world. Jesus tells us Mat 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Withouta doubtwe are examplesto those aroundus thatís why its imperative that we be faithful in our attendance so that we can be a good influence to others. When we do so we set a good example for the babes in Christ, the spiritually weak, visitors and even our own children. Maybe you think you can survive on one service a week, but what about those that need your encouragement, and they notice your missing? Weather you realize it or not you are an influence to your friends, family and neighbors. When you attend church faithfully people notice and they will admire your dedication to the Lord. They may begin to wonder what makes you so devoted to the church and will open up and opportunity for you to share the gospel with them. When a person attends faithfully itís a great encouragement to the elders, the preacher and the other Christians. When you are absent it creates anxiety for those who are concerned about your spiritual welfare.We cannot escape being an influence to others. Its up to you and me weather or influence will be good or bad.

 

The fourth reason is to be ready, watching and waiting.

 

You see disciples of Christ are to be a preparedpeople for the day of judgment. Jesus warned us in Matthew 25:13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Paul taught the Thessalonians in 1Th 5:1-11 to be prepared for the coming Christ and told them how in vrs8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. We as Christiansneed to make the best use of our time and serve the lord daily.

 

Attending every service contributes to ourpreparation. When we sing songs about the Lords coming or we study the scriptures that show us that he will return this will help remind us to be ready. What if the Lord comes back on a Sunday or Wednesday night, and you were staying at home out of convenience instead of assembling with your brethren?

 

Can we truly say that we are ready, watching, and waiting for the Lord when we willfully miss many opportunities to be with his disciples? I think we really need to think about questions like this.

 

 

The 5th reason is to have a clear conscience.

 

Its important for Christians to have a good conscience. When Jesus died for us it was to purify our conscience. Heb 9:14 When we were baptized Peter tells us that it was appeal to god for a good conscience. 1Peter 3:21. When we look at great examples like the apostle Paul we see that he always sought to serve God with a good conscience. He stated this very thing in Acts 24:16I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. In fact Paul urged Timothy in 1Tim 1:3-5 for him to command those in Ephesus not to teach any other doctrine The purpose of this command is found in vrs5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,. When we teach we need to do it out of love and a good conscience. Again, look at what Paul tells Timothy starting in vrs 18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck. We see here that we must have faith and a good conscience. If we do not we will end up in a spiritual ship wreck.

 

When a faithful Christian starts missing services that they could of made, they began to feel guilty because they know where they should be. I think everybody would agree that you would be better off assembling with the saints. The more services you miss the easier it becomes and you conscience will become hardened and it will not bother you in the least bit to miss more services. Once your conscience has become seared it no longer functions correctly and it wont be long when other sinful things wont bother you either. Can you say what the writer of Hebrews did in Heb 13:18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.

 

If we make it a habit not to attend all the services of the church, can we really say we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably?

 

 

The sixth reason is to attend every service is to fulfill the commands of God.

 

The first command I want you to consider is found in Rom 14:19. It tells us there that we are to edify one another. Edify means to build up to encourage. So we have the responsibility of building each other up. In our day and time unfortunately the only time we see our brothers and sisters is on the days we meet together. These are some of our only times for us to edify each other. Because of this can we really say the we are edifying others when we are absent most of the time? How can we every get to know the other members of the church or know when someone needs encouragement if we are hardly every there.

 

The second command I want us to look at was stated by Jesus himself in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

This command is all about priorities. We all have priorities in our life but as Christians our first priority should be to seek first the kingdom. Everything else will fall into place if we follow this command. Many Christians have turned down jobs they were trying to get when they find out that they want them to work every Sunday and Wednesday night. Many strong Christians will not play sports or get involved in any other activity that will cause them to miss church services. They do this because they are putting God first in their lives.

 

On the flip side of thisthere are Christians who will stay home on Sunday because they are to tired or they have aches and pains but these same people will go to work or go to the mall with these same symptoms. How many people would be able to keep there jobs if they missed 2 days of work every week? Why are we so dedicated to our jobs but not dedicated enough to God to make it to all the services? It because our priorities are wrong.

 

Listen to what Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Jesus tells us we must put him first before family. But sometimes we stay at home because our family is visiting. I ask you is that putting Christ first? Now I know that its difficult to put God first sometimes but let us continue to work on seeking the kingdom of God first.

 

Finally the last commandment I want us to look at is found in Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

 

Here we are commanded not to forsake the assembly and vrs 26 tells us thatif we do we are willfully sinning. James tells us the same thing 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. I donít think many of us realize that when we miss services when we could make it, that it is a sin. Our Elders are in agreement that we should attend on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. They are our spiritually leaders and they look out for our spiritually well being. In fact look at Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. We need to realize that our Elders have to give an account for their flock and if they see it to be important for us to assemble on Sunday and Wednesday the bible tells us to obey that.

 

When I start thinking about how Jesus gave up his heavenly home to come to this earth just to go to the cross where he was beaten spit up on and had thorns shoved into his head and where he was crucified naked between to theifs just so you and I could have forgiveness of sins I canít understand why we as Christians would ever want to neglect the body of Christ.

 

This has been a difficult lesson for me to preach because it is very dear to my heart. I just want you to know that I love everyone here with brotherly love and it deeply concerns me when so many show up for Sunday morning and sometimes only half show up for Sunday night. I want to ask you this morning to step back and reexamine your priorities in your Christian life. If you see that God is not first in your life make the change today. I have given you 6 very good reason why you should attend every service and I hope that you will start doing this. If we would just start with this one step you would be amazed at how strong our church could become.