By David O. Lanius, Jr.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised); and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; 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. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge ~of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice of sins” (Heb. 10:23-26).
As we note our text together, we can immediately see that there was concern among the writers of the New Testament about absenteeism from the worship assemblies. The inspired writer of Hebrews was trying to check this tendency, knowing that it would lead to apostasy. As there was trouble then, so there is now. Every church seems to have this same problem. Why do Christians continue to absent themselves from the assemblies of the saints? Is it really because of the excuses they offer? Here are some of the most popular excuses:
1. “I attended the morning services, wasn’t that enough?”
2. “I had company.”
3. “I overslept.”
4. “My children do not like to attend that often.” (Neither do they like to attend school that well.)
5. “I needed to work overtime at the job.” (How about working overtime for God?)
6. “I was just too tired.” (He has never missed a day on the job because he was tired.)
Actually the truth must be that, lacking a love for God and their brethren, they just do not want to come.
There are dire consequences which result when one consistently does not assemble.
1. You fail to let your light shine (Matt. 5:16).
2. You weaken the efforts being put forth by others to save souls.
3. You harm yourself in that you have not partaken of the spiritual food necessary for spiritual growth (Jn. 4:24; Acts 2:42; Heb. 5:8-9).
4. You rob yourself of being with those of like precious faith, the Father, and Son (Matt. 18:20).
5. God is grieved by your continued absenteeism. It is hard to worship Him when you fail to attend for that purpose.
6. You show to the world what is first in your life.
7. You fail to do your part, making someone else carry your load; such is shameful and sinful.
If you begin to miss services, you will become weaker and weaker each time you allow a service to pass by.
One of the greatest blessings we have in our earthly lives is the opportunity as Christians to meet together and join our minds in worship to our God Who created and sustains us. Every time we meet, whether it be on the Lord’s day, in mid-week, or during a gospel meeting we can be “built up in the most holy faith.” We can “cast all our burdens on Jesus” and “let Jesus dwell within our hearts.” We can raise our voices together in song and express deep emotions which we may never feel able to express at any other time. Our spirits will be more humble, reverential and penitent after an hour of prayer, song and study together than they could possibly be during our busy weeks without such an hour. Instead of making excuses for missing the services of the church, we should constantly thank God for every opportunity that we have to assemble with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us determine now not to miss a single service of the church.
Truth Magazine XIX: 28, pp. 440-441
May 22, 1975