Know Your Bible
VOL. 14 July 19, 2015 NO. 19
MUST I ATTEND EVERY SERVICE OF THE CHURCH? 3
Reasons for Attending All Services and My Obligations To Others
Not only are there personal reasons “Why I should attend all services of the church", but I owe certain obligations to my brethren and others that compel me to be faithful in attendance.
1. I have a duty to the congregation where I am a member. This duty respects others as well as the Lord. I owe to my fellow man the encouragement and help that I expect from him. There is a command of Christ found in his Sermon on the Mount that is affected when we fail in this duty. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matt. 7:12). This is often called the "Golden Rule" of the Bible. How can I follow this instruction of my Lord when I shirk my duty to help my fellow man by failing to attend the scheduled services of the church? The answer is evident: it can not be done. We expect the preacher, the elders and deacons to be present at every service, and they should be - must be - but do not they expect each of us to be just as faithful in attendance? If each member followed the "Golden Rule" as Christ laid down, we would have no problem such as absenteeism.
Another thing. We have many duties to be done in these services. Certain obligations rest upon each member of the church, no matter how small he may be, and when one is absent from his duty the burden becomes heavier on someone else. When one so neglects his duty and places a greater burden on his brother, he is in direct disobedience to the rule Christ gave. As we want others to take their part of the obligations in the public worship, we ought to be sure that our duty is not neglected by our absence. This is a vital issue.
2. By every act of my life I am influencing someone to serve either God or the devil. No one lives without leaving some trace of his having been here. All Christians (some of them so called) are either glorifying God or disgracing him before others. Christ said in the same sermon mentioned above: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). By failure to attend every service when it is possible to do so, am I letting my light shine as to glorify God? Is it possible to glorify God with an influence that breeds neglect? I do not believe any would affirm this, yet they apparently think so, for they practice this very thing. We ought to attend every service of the church, and by so doing we glorify God before men in our conduct. Our influence is a mighty thing. It reaches where we can not go. Generations to follow may be influenced by the very things you do now. Your influence will reach great grand-children you may never see. What a terrible thought! Many may be lost because I was not faithful to my duty to God and my fellow man.
3. Would you tell your brother in Christ that he is pleasing to God when he has no interest in the mid-week service, or in Sunday evening service? Could you conscientiously encourage, a young Christian to stay away from the Sunday morning Bible study, the Sunday evening service, or the midweek service? Could you tell the weak church member that he doesn't need such teaching and encouragement as is given in these services? You would answer these questions with a big "no." Then if one would not say these things, why will he act them? One's actions speak as loud as his words; sometimes louder. The life that one lives teaches as much as his tongue.
To the Romans Paul wrote: "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?" (Rom. 2:21) Are you guilty of doing the very thing that you would tell others not to do? You could not claim to be faithful in your Christian duty and so do. Therefore, in order to teach others to do the right thing, I must attend every service of the church.
Every father and mother has a responsibility that is most important. The children must be taught the way of the Lord. Children untaught in Christianity are to be pitied above all others. Now could I as a faithful Christian father bring up my children to be in the Way of the Lord when I do not set the example before them? Could children really believe in Christianity when the parents care so little that they don't attend the scheduled services of the church? These questions invoke serious thought on the part of every father and mother.
If there is one on earth in whom we ought to be interested it is our children. We brought them into the world, and it is our solemn duty to care for them in every way. The spiritual being of our children is by far the most important. Thousands of parents come to preachers, weeping that their children have grown up and now have no interest in the church. Some weep and grieve away their lives because their children are lost forever to the sin of the world. What is the matter? The right example was not set before them in earlier days.
Paul said, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph. 6:1). Then in verse 4 he says: "And, ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Can this possibly be done without setting before them the right example? Absolutely not. I must attend every service of the church so that I can properly influence my children to obey the way of the Lord. These are obligations we owe to our children.
5. We also have a responsibility to the preachers, teachers, elders and deacons. We expect them to be present at every service, and would disown them if they didn't. You would say: "A preacher, teacher, elder or deacon who will not attend all the services is not qualified for his position; he is not interested in the Lord's work." How many times has this been an objection to someone being appointed to the eldership or deaconship? It is certainly right to object in such cases, but where does the Scripture say that a preacher or elder must attend every service of the church, but others do not have to attend every service? Just what Bible principle would apply here? God requires exactly the same thing of you in attending all services of the church that he does of preachers, teachers, elders and deacons.
Then, too, you owe an obligation to preachers, teachers, elders and deacons to work with them to the building up of the church in your locality. Every work of the church is made to include you, and if you fail in this duty you impose upon these men. Even men of the world frown upon such conduct. If one does not intend to perform his work in the church, please tell me why he ever obeyed the gospel? The Lord did not add anyone to the church just as an ornament or special guest, but every one has a place and duty to perform. Certainly he can not expect to gain heaven while behaving himself in such a manner. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). We all contend that it is the will of God for preachers, teachers, elders and deacons to attend all services of the church, and if one must do the will of God to enter heaven, we conclude that each one of us must do just as we expect the elders, preachers, teachers and deacons to do in doing the will of God. We owe these men and the church our presence at every service.
6. We are in debt to our brethren and fellow man to do good at all times. For one to fail to do that which is good, when he knows what is good, is to rob others and God of the virtues he has. I believe without a doubt every reader will admit that all men ought to prove what is good and do it. The opposite of good is evil. All things are either good and right, or else wrong and evil. If it is wrong for you to attend every service of the church, it is wrong for all Christians to attend. But if it is right and good for others to attend, it is right and good for you and me to attend every service. James says it in this way: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (Jas. 4:17). Then if you know it is good to attend all services, and fail to do so unless health prevents, it is sin; and sin when it is finished brings death.
These are obligations we each owe to our brethren in the Lord, to our children and to others with whom we come in contact. No one can fail to attend every service of the church where he lives and be faithful in these requirements.
Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.
--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
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