MOTIVATION TO ATTENDANCE IN WORSHIP

 

Read Hebrews 10:25

 

            Why was it necessary for the writer of the Hebrew letter to bring this admonition to the Hebrew Christians concerning the assembly?

            That attendance of every public assembly of the saints is important should be and is obvious to every dedicated child of God.

            God can and does understand hindrances.  There are times when the work schedule cannot be changed.  There are times when we or other family members are sick.  There are times when circumstances arise that we cannot control and God, who knows our hearts, knows when those situations arise.  And there are a good many of us that deal with these hindrances and still rarely, if ever, miss the opportunity to worship God or study God’s word.

When I first came to this congregation, one of the things that I was looking for was the relative difference between the Bible School attendance, the Sunday morning attendance and the attendance at other services.  This is an almost immediate measure of the dedication of a congregation to the Lord.  It will tell us almost immediately the true membership of the church and we can get a very good indication of how strong a congregation is by comparing those numbers present for the Sunday morning worship hour and the numbers present at all other services.  I was pleasantly surprised by you brethren here, because this indicator of your level of dedication is much better that at most congregations of the Lord’s church and I commend you for that.  But at the same time we need to periodically reinforce our foundation of faith, thus my choosing of this lesson today.

            Many brethren have abused this scripture and treated it as though it were a direct command directed toward attendance at the Sunday morning assembly.  They even misquote it, as though it said “forsaking the assembly” when in fact it addresses the habit of failing to assemble when opportunity is provided, and is not restricted just to what many men consider the primary service of the week, Sunday morning worship.  In order to understand what is under discussion in this scripture completely we would have to back up to the beginning of the book of Hebrews and start reading from there but sufficient to our needs is to return to the 19th verse and read from there.

 

Read Hebrews 10:19-25

 

            If we create a situation here where our brethren are forced by the teaching of preachers, class leaders and elderships to attend the worship service, Bible study, or any other assembly without understanding why or when they see no need for it then we have gotten the cart before the horse.  To demand that one attend every public assembly of the saints without the proper motivation, without recognizing and understanding their deep spiritual need would be the same as making someone sit down to eat a big juicy steak when he has absolutely no appetite for physical food.

            Willful forsaking of the opportunity to assemble to worship and study the Word of God is a symptom of the absence of a spiritual appetite, or desire for the word of God.  Willful absence from worship or Bible study by the scriptural diagnosis of the Greatest Physician indicates a terrible, potentially terminal sickness of the soul.  To effect a cure in the soul of such a person there must be established within his conscience the ancient landmarks and guideposts of the faith.  There must be laid again, for his benefit, the eternal foundation upon which he may build his spiritual life; that foundation which transcends time and secures his life even through eternity.

 

Why attend the public assemblies of the saints????

 

            The answer is really very simple-----because of the love of God!!!!!

 

            Observe with me the love of God as displayed in the creation of man.

 

Genesis 1:31 “AND GOD SAW EVERY THING THAT HE HAD MADE, AND, BEHOLD it was VERY GOOD.  AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE SIXTH DAY.”

 

            Yet, out of love for his crowning creation, he planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he placed our fore-parents.  As we read in Genesis 3:3 there was but a single prohibition, essential to the exercise of man’s role as a free moral agent, able to choose for himself.  You, of course, are familiar with the fall of man as is recorded in Genesis 3:1-21 and the curses that resulted from their disobedience.  However, the remarkable thing about this whole matter is that while God is of eyes too holy to look upon sin we hear him saying in Genesis 3:15 as he addresses the serpent:

 

“AND I WILL PUT ENMITY BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN, AND BETWEEN THY SEED AND HER SEED; IT SHALL BRUISE THY HEAD, AND THOU SHALT BRUISE HIS HEEL.”

 

            Herein is manifested the love of God in a unique way.  To the consternation of Satan, the amazement of the angels and to the mystery revealed by the inspired prophets, God, at the very time he’s driving sinful man out of the garden, was planning in his own way and in his own good time to provide a way for mankind to escape sin. If we had no other, wouldn’t that be sufficient reason for us to take advantage of every opportunity to gather to worship, honor and glorify God?  God while removing his sinful children from this wonderful home he had prepared for them was preparing to give us the way of salvation spoken of by Peter:

 

I Peter 1:10-12  “OF WHICH SALVATION THE PROPHETS HAVE INQUIRED AND SEARCHED DILIGENTLY, WHO PROPHESIED OF THE GRACE that should come UNTO YOU:  SEARCHING WHAT, OR WHAT MANNER OF TIME THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST WHICH WAS IN THEM DID SIGNIFY, WHEN IT TESTIFIED BEFOREHAND THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, AND THE GLORY THAT SHOULD FOLLOW.  UNTO WHOM IT WAS REVEALED, THAT NOT UNTO THEMSELVES, BUT UNTO US THAT DID MINISTER THE THINGS, WHICH ARE NOW REPORTED UNTO YOU BY THEM THAT HAVE PREACHED THE GOSPEL UNTO YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST SENT DOWN FROM HEAVEN; WHICH THINGS THE ANGELS DESIRE TO LOOK INTO.”

 

Oh, yes, while almost in the very act of driving mankind out of the garden prepared He was planning our redemption.  Paul, in his writing to the Roman brethren says this and we’ve heard it many times:’

 

Romans 5:8  BUT GOD COMMENDETH HIS LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.”

 

The coming of our redeemer:

 

            God’s love is shown in the coming of our redeemer:

 

John 3:16  FOR GOD SO LIVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.”

 

             “So!”  If only we could really understand the power of that little two letter word “SO”.  “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD - that’s you and I he’s talking about; not this miserable ball of mud we live on.  God spake this world into existence.  He can speak it out of existence again.  He could to this a thousand times and be none the worse, but not you and I.  There is a part of every man that has ever walked the face of this earth that is immortal.  There is a part of us that will endure forever.  There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and I’m sure I’m talking to people who are seeking to gain heaven.  It is then for US that His love is expressed.  I cannot fully understand the depth love of God, but I can obtain a fuller appreciation for it when I understand what he was willing to give to make it manifest.  He sent his only begotten son to live in this world’s sin, sorrow, sickness and troubles.  Then he allowed him to be murdered by the most heinous type of execution and torture that man’s evil mind could devise.  He allowed him to be ridiculed, shamed publicly, beaten and spat upon in a kangaroo court made up of his enemies.

            He “SO LOVED” us that He “GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.  There are causes and people that I would probably die for.  But to give one hair from the head of my little towheaded, blue-eyed boy who is now a man and a father in his own right?  Not to save all the reprobates in hell.

 

Why did he come???

 

            Why did Jesus come to earth?

 

Hebrews 2:9  “BUT WE SEE JESUS, WHO WAS MADE A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS FOR THE SUFFERING OF DEATH, CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOUR, THAT HE BY THE GRACE OF GOD SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.”

 

            He came to die in my stead.  He came to die so that you and I wouldn’t have to end our lives spiritually dead; so that we wouldn’t have to suffer spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

 

Hebrews 2:14-15 “FORASMUCH THEN AS THE CHILDREN ARE PARTAKERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD, HE ALSO HIMSELF LIKEWISE TOOK PART OF THE SAME; THAT THROUGH DEATH HE MIGHT DESTROY HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL; AND DELIVER THEM WHO THROUGH FEAR OF DEATH WERE ALL THEIR LIFETIME SUBJECT TO BONDAGE.”

 

             Jesus came to destroy the power of Satan and to deliver you and I from the fear of death.  And let the fact not escape our attention in this scripture that this blessing is conditional.  This is available only to those who spend their lives in bondage to God.

 

II Corinthians 5:21  FOR HE HATH MADE HIM to be SIN FOR US, WHO KNEW NO SIN; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.”

 

            He came to bear my sins and your sins.  Do we really understand what this means?

 

Read Isaiah 53:1-6

            While we walk this vail of tears, this footstool of God.  Until we understand this great sacrifice that God gave through his love; there will be strife, there will be division, there will be people in congregations that will give good elders ulcers, gray hair and heart attacks.  We can preach and pound the pulpits until we’re old and gray and people will not understand why they should be committed to the cause of Christ and faithful to God if they will not understand God’s love for us.  If we are indeed faithful to God, attendance at his worship and to study His word will never be an issue in our lives, we will be there!

 

God’s love thus provides for my security.

 

            Even though we all sin as Paul tells us:

 

Romans 3:23  FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD;”

 

And Paul tells us just three short chapters later the ultimate result of our sin:

 

Romans 6:23  FOR THE WAGES OF SIN is DEATH;….”

 

He then reassures us as we study this wonderful letter further:

 

Romans 8:1-3  there is THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.  FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH.  FOR WHAT THE LAW (that is the Mosaic Law) COULD NOT DO, IN THAT IT WAS WEAK THROUGH THE FLESH, GOD SENDING HIS OWN SON IN THE LIKENESS OF SINFUL FLESH, AND FOR SIN, CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH.”

 

            What the Law of Moses could not do for the Israelite nation or for anyone else; Jesus Christ did for you and I.  That redemption that was not available through the sacrifice of the blood of bulls and goats; that salvation that all the way through the patriarchal age until the time of Christ could not be provided; Jesus Christ did provide.

 

Hebrews 9:12  NEITHER BY THE BLOOD OF GOATS AND CALVES, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENTERED IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION for us.”

 

            Paul also points up the blessed news that there is no power under heaven that can separate the faithful from the love of God.

 

Read Romans 8:35-39

 

            Does that mean that once we’re saved we cannot be again eternally lost; absolutely not; but we’ll cover that in just a moment.

 

            Jesus promises the faithful eternal life with the assurance that there are not enough devils in hell to snatch them out of his hand.

 

John 10:27-28  MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME: AND I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND.”

 

            But there is something that can sever a child of God from the benefits of the love of God.  Observe also the very context in which this teaching is found:

 

Read Hebrews 10:25-29

 

            Willful sin is the only factor that can sever the child of God from the benefits of the love of God.  And in this context forsaking the opportunity to assemble to worship God is given to us by the Holy Spirit as an example of willful sin.

            God has done so much for us, relieving our burden of guilt, filling our souls with eternal life.  How can we fail to use every opportunity to show our love and gratitude to him?

            Our worship; singing, praying, teaching, and upon the first day of the week the memorial we observed as the Lord’s Supper and the giving of our means are all designed to draw us closer to one another and individually and collectively closer to Him who lived in poverty and died in shame to redeem my soul and yours.

            Would you willingly neglect him?  Would you willingly neglect to feed and nurture your soul?

 

Romans 10:17, we must hear; John 8:24, we must believe; Luke 13:3, we must repent, Matthew 10:32, we must confess; Acts 2:38, and we must be baptized to remove our sins and become a child of God if we haven’t already done so.  If we are unfaithful, we must repent as John told the Ephesus church in Revelation 2:5.