Thesis: Regular church attendance is a foundation for spiritual growth.
1. If you resolve not to make a New Year's resolution this year you are not alone.
a. Gallup survey for 1992 revealed over half--54% refused.
b. One possible reason--22% say past ones lasted less than 1 week!
c. However, 16% (Nearly 1 in 5 making them) are able to keep them permanently.
2. What New Year's resolutions have you made this year?
a. Lose weight, read Bible thru, quit smoking, spend more time with your family?
b. Challenge: regularly attend church services this year.
1) Dialectic: "Oh no, here comes another tired sermon on church attendance! Another guilt-producing rendition of Heb. 10:25--just what I need to start the new year out on a positive note."
2) Purpose: Not to run up the institutional "body count," but to present regular church attendance as a foundation for spiritual growth.
A. Law couldn't cut it (10:1-4).
1. Therefore, Jesus came and dealt with sin once and for all (10:5-18) ......... A NEW COVENANT!
2. There's a right way and a wrong way to respond to what Jesus has done.
B. The Right Way (10:19-25).
1. By drawing near to God (22).
2. By holding unswervingly to hope we profess (23).
3. By spurring one another on to love & good works (24).
4. How do we do this? BY NOT GIVING UP MEETING TOGETHER!
C. The Wrong Way (10:26-31).
1. By continuing to sin willfully (26).
2. What happens when we continue to sin willfully (27-31).
3. Forsaking assemblies may be symptom of deeper problem-- an improper response to sacrifice of Jesus.
4. No way to escape the teaching that to be faithful to New Covenant one must be involved in life of the church.
5. Involvement in life of church involves reg. attendance!
II. MOVING FROM THE THEOLOGICAL TO THE PRACTICAL. (Why should we attend church regularly?)
A. You need it.
1. Virtually impossible to be a Christian in isolation.
a. NT clearly teaches X'ty is a communal experience.
b. While there is a strong personal element, the X'ian faith was not meant to be practiced alone!
c. No Lone Ranger Christians (even LR had Tonto!)
2. Why is that? Because there is strength in numbers!
a. Illust. Bundle of sticks cannot be broken; one stick can be. Log burns bright & hot when close to other burning logs; goes out when alone.
b. Illust. Can you go to heaven and not go to church? Pointless question. Can you get to Washington D.C. without driving or riding a train? Yes, but why would you even want to try?
B. I need it.
1. Because what the individual does/doesn't do affects the group they are a part of.
a. Illust. Closest thing in our families to an "assembly" is our evening meal. What if one or two of your family members missed supper 3-4 x per week and you never knew why? They never called, just didn't show up. Would it affect family?
b. Illust. Picture life as a heavyweight boxing match and "church" as the time between rounds. Picture a fighter after a particularly rough round. Bloody, bruised, losing on points. Crawls to corner seeking encouragement only to find trainer missing. Someone at ringside: "He'll be back after the next round. He just went to get some popcorn." Affect?