by pastor david
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 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.”
Growing up as I did in the home of Christian parents and the home of a Baptist deacon, I attended church regularly. Actually, it was beyond regularly. You see, when I was a child we attended Tuesday evening Youth Meeting, Wednesday evening Prayer Meeting, Saturday evening Evangelistic Service, Sunday morning Sunday School, Sunday morning Worship Service, and Sunday evening Worship Service. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it.
However, if I had it to do over again, I would not change a thing because, among the many things I learned about the Bible, I also learned to worship. I had the wonderful privilege of sitting with my parents and observing them and others worship Christ from the heart. Ironically, it was at a Sunday evening worship service that I gave my life to Christ!
Obviously, my parents and the leaders of the church where I grew up were familiar and obedient to the passage above. They did not “forsake the assembling” of themselves together and for that I am thankful.
The interesting part of the passage to me is the phrase, “and so much the more as you see the Day approaching”. Apparently, church attendance – the fellowshipping of ourselves together as believers – is more important today than it was when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. The reason is obvious. It is because we are closer to that approaching “Day” than ever. That “Day”, refers to the day of the return of Christ and all that follows.
If this is indeed true, and it is, why is the attendance of the average church member so sporadic, so erratic? Is it really too much to expect those who claim the Name of Christ to attend church regularly, unless providentially hindered. Is attending every Sunday now so out of the ordinary that those who do so are seen as Super Saints?
I certainly understand that there are times when it is impossible to attend. Sometimes sickness, travel, work, and other interruptions keep us from attending as much as we would like. However, that should be the exception – that providential hindrance to which I referred earlier.
“Are we going to Church today?” is a question that should never be asked in the committed Christian’s home. Faithful attendance to the house of God should be such a pattern in your home that your family and friends know exactly where you will be at church time.
Yes, church attendance is more important today than ever. Let’s make obedience to the Lord in this matter a priority. Not only will you be blessed but God will also be glorified!
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, a pronoun is, “A word used instead of a noun or name, to avoid the repetition of it”. In the passage above, there are two significant pronouns, used for our Lord Jesus, each of which, shine radiant and revealing light on the essential subject of the Church. Those notable pronouns are, “I” and “My”. Jesus said, “I will build My church”. A careful study of the passage reveals that this statement applies to both the universal church, of which every believer is a member, and the local churches, which meet at various locations around the world.
There is a great deal of comfort associated with these two prevailing pronouns.
1. Christ is building the Church, not man.
Each member of a local church fellowship has been given certain responsibilities to be exercised within the context of that local assembly. Ultimately, it is our Lord Jesus Christ, however, who is building the Church. How comforting that is. As a Pastor, I am given many tasks that must be carried out on a regular basis, relative to the local Church to which I have been called, but “building” the Church is, in actual fact, Christ’s responsibility.
Often, I remind the Lord and myself of course, that the Church I serve is His Church and not mine. This is especially true when things are not going as I had hoped or planned. Christ is actively and aggressively building his Church locally and universally. I do not have the experience or proficiency to take on such a daunting task on my own.
Out of this profound principle, there arises another insightful truth.
2. The Church belongs to Christ, not me.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way; “Christ is head of the church”. (Ephesians 5:23)
If the Church I serve is His Church, then I must follow his lead as He directs the affairs of the congregation. Fortunately, He has revealed His will for the Church in His Word, the Bible, and as long as I am following His Word, I know I am following Him.
Twice the wise writer of the Proverbs reminds us that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death”. (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) If I do things my way, the result of my endeavors will be death.
Our loyalty to the local assembly where we worship must emerge from our love and loyalty to Christ, who is the “head” of the Church. We are to be faithful in our attendance and participation simply because we love him.
When we call a particular local assembly our “Home Church”, there is associated with that a certain accountability to the leaders of that Church and to its members. However, we are, in the final analysis, responsible to Christ who is the Head of the Church and the One who sacrificed His life to redeem it. The Bible says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:10) This, I am sure, is something that is not to be taken lightly or flippantly.
Today, I am resting and relaxing in the fact that our Church belongs to Christ and is being built by Him. However, there is a lot of work for each of us to do, in order to see our Church reach its highest potential. Amen?
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Unless you grew up in a literary vacuum, you are familiar with the children’s story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, written by Robert Southey in 1837. While walking through the woods, Goldilocks came upon a house and finding no one home she went in. “At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. ‘This porridge is too hot!’ she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. ‘This porridge is too cold,’ she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. ‘Ahhh, this porridge is just right,’ she said happily and she ate it all up.”
The same scenario was repeated with three chairs and three beds. “She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.”
As you know, the family of bears finally came home and found their nosy neighbor fast asleep. When she awoke, “She screamed, ‘Help!’ And she jumped up and ran out of the room. Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest. And she never returned to the home of the three bears.”
Unfortunately, we have a lot of Goldilocks Christians in our “forest” these days.
They move about, from church to church, trying this and trying that, but are never satisfied and, therefore, never settle down to become actively involved in a local church, as every believer should. They say…
The problem with the Goldilocks Syndrome is that she never says, “Ahhh, this is just right”. She or he is never satisfied, at least not for very long. Consequently, upon their dissatisfaction, they move from church to church every few years; sometimes every few months. The consumerism of the day finally catches up with them when they hear about another church nearby with something different that “meets their needs”.
Sadly, we find no Biblical basis for this kind of “church shopping”. Does God, at times, lead a family from one church to another? Certainly, but that is seldom the reason Goldilocks and her family “run away into the forest” in search of something better.
And why is Goldilocks never satisfied?
Are we blessed and benefited by the presence and the ministry of the church? Certainly! But the church doesn’t exist to please us. It exists to please Him, the One who gave His life a ransom for it.
What should Goldilocks Christians do if they find themselves in this kind of fairy tale? May I make a few suggestions?
Is there ever a time for someone to leave a church? Yes, if that church is no longer preaching and practicing the Word of God and all attempts to remedy the situation have been exhausted (Galatians 6:1), then God will lead you elsewhere. Until then, stay where you are and serve God through your local church with all your heart and all your energy.
Go home, Goldilocks, and stay there!
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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