By Jimmy Tuten
A. Man has no more exalted privilege or awesome responsibility than the worship of almighty God. A failure to grasp this truth plunged the likes of Cain (Gen. 4), Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10) and King Saul (1 Sam. 13) into terrible calamities. Our Lord chastised His contemporaries for their vain worship, because they followed man’s teaching instead of God’s.
B. Worshipers of God must worship Him in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24). Some Christians do not enjoy worshiping God because they mistake its purpose.
1. Our materialistic society is most often the contributor to the neglect of spirituality.
2. It is not generally popular to attend all the services where worship to God is expressed. This is manifested by the great difference in attendance at the Sunday morning services and the others conducted during the week.
C. Worship is to serve or do homage, to do reverence and involved in it is a feeling of awe. Religion is to be the involvement of a personal relation between an individual and God wherein one does God’s commandments in order to establish the proper relation with Him. Attendance at services is for the purpose of pleasing God!
I. What are some of the objections to not attending services?
A. “I can find better things to do elsewhere. ” This shows a misconception of worship. One should go to services to praise God, not to be entertained. On the first day of the week disciples meet to commemorate Jesus’ death (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-27) and to be with those of like mind who offer services and devotion to Jehovah.
1. The Church is God’s creation and is His temple. It is not a human creation. It is only with the saints that one is to assemble to worship and such is not to be neglected (Heb. 10:25). In this you encourage each other.
2. Finding better things to do elsewhere is a display of misunderstanding of the church and the purpose of the assembly.
2 Timothy 2:4 – “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. “
B. “The assembly is basically a social gathering, so my presence is optional. ” This position views the church as being of human origin where worship in it can be ignored, if one so chooses. But the church is the body of God’s chosen people and since He expects of them devotion and service, one should not feel that the worship can be ignored.
C. “I don’t attend because there are hypocrites that attend. ” This is erroneous because one is measuring the divine standard in terms of wayward men, and not wayward men in terms of the divine standard. Men may be wicked through hypocrisy, but that should be no reason for our becoming wicked too. What is the difference between a hypocritical man and a person who hides behind him (using him for an excuse to neglect one’s duty)? Will God excuse either? Our goal should be to please God and avoid hell where unquestionably all hypocrites will be.
D. “I don’t get anything from services. ” The preacher is often compared to worldly entertainers. We are not pleased, so we go elsewhere. But is it not what one gets, but what one gives. Worship is something that one does, not gets. One gets out of it what one puts into it. With this view one can never have the fruit of genuine religion. There must be a change of viewpoint. The service must be given before the fruit is forthcoming (cf. Heb. 13:15).
E. “Those assembling are not friendly, their attitude is not right and the singing is not good. ” Such expresses a carnal mind that should be more concerned with pleasing God. Worship is man’s expression of love, devotion and service to God. If this is not one’s goal then there will be disappointment.
1. We are not the audience, God is. . . We come together to give our praise, money, etc. because we love him.
2. Failure to understand this turns those in the pew into hyper-critics of song leaders, preachers, etc. God hears and observes the hearer as much as the preacher, song leader, etc. He cares as much for the singer in the pew as he does the one leading singing.
II. Why attend services?
A. This question is often asked by those. seeking to sooth one’s own conscience by putting the other person underfire (i.e., put one on the defense). A truly pious person will not ask such questions because he wants to express his praise and thanks to God.
B. Why attend all services?
1. To commune with God. The very nature of worship demands an expression that involves a personal relationship (Jn. 4:24; 1 Jn. 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 6:17-18).
2. To express the feeling of our souls. The book of Psalms shows the proper disposition (Psa. 122: 1; 26:6-8; 65:4; 95:6-7; cf. Heb. 10: 19ff).
3. To praise God (Heb. 13:15). If one is cheerful he can praise God; if one is suffering he can pray to God, etc. (Jas. 5:13; Phil. 4:6).
4. Because God teaches us to worship (Matt. 18:20). No person who truly wants to be with the Lord will miss when conditions are under his control (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25).
A. One can see that worship is to “press spirituality – not arouse it.
B. When we esteem, serve or bow down to God, our spirit will be stimulated and love for God will be intensified. These are natural by-products that flow from true worship. (They are not the purpose for which we worship.)
C. Hence: the more often that one communes with God, the more spiritual he or she will be in life.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 20, pp. 626-627
October 16, 1986