Summary: How important in church attendance?
The Importance of Church Attendance
Rev. Sean Lester
For Living Water Assembly of God
May 25, 2009
(484) QUOTATION QUESTION. How important is church attendance? (30)
(NIV) Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(KJV) Hebrews 10:25 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.
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
A friend was visiting a church for the first time. Now, this friend had grown up in the church, sometimes his father being the pastor. Because of his inside-and-out perspective of the church, I asked him what he thought of the one he was visiting.
“It’s a church”. He replied.
Not being a man of few words, I was surprised by the brevity of his answer. I plied him for more information.
“It’s a church. People come. They sing. They take an offering. A sermon is delivered. They pray. They go home.”
The biggest challenge I have faced as a pastor has been to keep the churches I have pastored moving forward into better things as representatives of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. But, it is easy to become just a church. I think that people in a congregation can get an image of what a church should be, and when that vision is fulfilled, they tend to want to stay where they are at. But once a church, or any organization for that matter, arrives at a place of satisfaction, the church tends to lose passion. It tends to lose urgency.
Beyond the consideration of what church growth is like from a worldly standpoint: how many people attend, how much they give, and how big are the facilities; I want to challenge you toward spiritual growth as a congregation. I believe, rather I know, that a Spirit-filled congregation powerfully affects the community and the world. Spirit-filled congregations are church going congregations. They are giving congregations. They are teaching congregations. They are active congregations.
Church attendance is a vital part of the Spirit-filled believers’ life. It is the social, spiritual, and emotional backbone of a people that influence others to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Transition: Our passage this morning tells us why church attendance is important.
1. Encouragement from being in God’s presence.
a. Being in God’s presence does bring courage. Just being with the people of God, who also bring the presence of God (where two or three are gathered in my name…) calms the nerves and reminds us that God knows where we are and what we face.
i. When we are at church, we are ascending to the throne of God. It is no small thing to have an audience with the King of Kings. Kings have a tendency to destroy those who enter their presence presumptuously or carelessly.
ii. But, we have assurance to enter His presence because our hearts and our minds are being made clean. We are acceptable for entering into His presence.
b. After Peter and John escaped prison, they returned to the believers and reported to them what had happened to them. They had been beaten and warned not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore. When they returned to the church, they had a decision to make, preach in Jesus’ name and face hardships, or refrain from publicly proclaiming His name and find a safer way to do it. The church decided to pray for more boldness so that they could proclaim His name publicly and more effectively yet. Then, the place where they were meeting began to shake with the presence of God.
c. There are issues that you face and that require wisdom and courage. But before answering the question or before looking for another way to calm the nerves, the best course of action is to find the church, the assemblage of people who follow Jesus Christ, and just get into His presence. In His presence there is peace and safety for making decisions based on His righteousness.