Summary: Church should be GOD'S way, not YOUR way.
You Should Be Committed
A husband and his wife arose one Sunday morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn't moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, "Why aren't you getting dressed for church?" He said, "Cause I don't want to go. She asked, "Do you have any reasons?" He said, "Yes, I have three good reasons. First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don't want to go. The wife replied, wisely, "Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you're the pastor! So get dressed!"
While this is a humorous story--and one that is not true of your pastor--many people that claim to be saved do not attend church. The most common comment that I hear is "You don't have to go to church to be saved" or "You don't have to go to church to get to heaven". Frankly, as a pastor, I am getting really tired of hearing that. I hear all sorts of reasons why people don't go to church, and frankly most of them come down to a statement that is true of all of them: "I want God MY Way". I think that in the majority of the cases that those people that do not assemble together on Sunday mornings want a manageable God, one that fits into their lifestyle.
Now don't get me wrong. When a person is sick or has to work, I understand that. That is a reason, with a caveat: if Junior is sick that is no reason for the entire family to miss, just one parent. When there is a death in the family, well, that is a reason. But too often, I just hear excuses best explained by an old axiom: "An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie".
It seems that only over the past 30 years or so has the idea that church attendance is optional for the Christian has become a seemingly valid point to many people. I know that there have been people that over the ages have skipped out on church when they profess the faith as is obvious from reading the above passage from Hebrews. But this is not the only scripture that bears witness to the concrete doctrine of assembling with a local body of believers on Sunday.
All this being said, I feel that the real reason why people are not faithful on Sunday is because of faithfulness during the week, month and year. Our faith is so much more than just Sunday morning and that is the problem. Quite honestly, I think that the problem of the church today--and our little church is not exempt--is that we are driven to distraction. Yes, we are driven to distraction by those things that are not worth a pile of cow manure in eternity. Let's study where the problem lies this week.
It's A Sign O' The Times...
But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (HCSB)
Let's face it, there have always been people that have professed Christ but not gone to church. It obviously was a problem back in the early church, as the writer of Hebrews mentioned in Hebrews 10:24-25.
But we should not be surprised that people are finding ways to justify not being in church. It is one of those signs of the times. People that have once confessed Christ as their Savior After all, prophecy does tell us that before the end times, there will be a great apostasy. I think that this whole wave of people not attending church is part of this great apostasy, this great "falling away":
Look around the world around us and tell me if you don't think that this scripture relates to it! By and large, our country has become this way. In fact, this passage of scripture could be used as an indictment against our society today.
Top Ten Reasons Why "Christians" Don't Attend Church
Over the years, I have heard so many excuses for people skipping the worship service. Here are the top four that I have heard that would be humorous if it wasn't such a tragic and serious issue:
"I had to mow the lawn" (the lawn has become more important than God?)