By Carol R. Lumpkin
This article is written while knowing that about every local church is troubled with some who do not attend all the services of the church that they should. I sense the attitude of such to be that, you cannot prove it to be binding; therefore, it is not essential to assemble. This attitude retards the growth of the church, relates an unholy disposition, services as a bad influence upon others.
Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). When the devil tempted Jesus to worship him, Jesus replied, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10). The church is instructed to assemble to worship God in: song ( Eph. 5:19), prayer (Acts 2:42), preaching or teaching (Acts 20:7), giving as prospered (1 Cor. 16:2), and the observance of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:25-26).
The first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 20:7), the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10), has been commanded of God as a day of worship; therefore it is binding upon all Christians to observe each week. Those who are not sick, or otherwise hindered beyond their ability to assemble will assemble with the saints for worship. This would mean that social events, fishing, hunting, visiting, vocation, vacation, etc., should not prevent first day of the week worship.
God has ordained that elders rule over His church (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 3:1-3). Men who desire the office of an elder and meet the qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9), have the charge to, oversee, superintend, feed, the flock over which they are appointed. To feed the flock may well require additional assemblies that the church might receive sufficient spiritual food. The edification, up building, of each member is essential for the growth and well being of the Lord’s church (Eph. 4:11-16).
God has authorized elders over each church (Ac. 14:23), who watch for the souls of the members (Acts 20:28). Members are subject to the elders who rule according to God’s word. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).
Elders are to see that church members grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18). Elders may plan extra studies for such edification of the church. This may include, gospel meetings, singings, lectureships, Bible studies, and prayer meetings. When such services are planned for the growth and development of the membership, all should do their best to be present. Those who willfully fail to obey the elders are in disobedience to God and, thus, sin.
Whether or not the members do or do not attend such services reflects their attitude toward God, the elders, and the church. It is not a matter of, do I have to attend, or whether or not it is binding. The attitude of converted people is that I will do all in my power to be present to study, learn, and to join to the fellowship with God, Christ and fellow saints.
When this life has drawn to a close and when each of us stand before the judgment seat of Jesus, don’t you really believe it will be a plus for a man that he attended the church services while on earth? Think of what it means to please the Lord.
God does not require the impossible from anyone, but he does demand first place in our life (Matt. 6:33; 16:26). I do not believe God has first place in my life when I put myself, other people, or other things, before my service to Him, do you?
Brethren, let us love God and keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15). This will save our souls, bind us together in that one mind and judgment, and make the church strong and united. Will you do your part to make this possible?
Truth Magazine XXIII: 41, p. 668
October 18, 1979