Summary: A message that examines the motives that people have for attending church.
Clem went to church on Sunday morning. He heard the pianist miss a note during the prelude and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everyone else was bowed in prayer. He sensed the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him angry. He caught the pastor in five verbal errors in the sermon. As he slipped out of the side door during the closing hymn, he said, "What a bunch of hypocrites. I'm leaving." -- Meanwhile, Claude went to church. He heard the pianist play an arrangement of "A Mighty Fortress" and thrilled at its majesty. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to share a simple moving testimony of the difference faith had made in her life. He was glad his church was taking a special offering for the hungry children of Africa. He appreciated the sermon, for it answered a question that had been bothering him. As he left the church that day, he thought, "How could anyone come here and not feel the presence of God?" -- ** Both men went to the same church on the same morning. Each found what he was looking for. A-Men
"Why Did You Come to Church Today?"
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.
Introduction: My purpose this morning in using a question as a sermon title is not to argue whether or not you should come to church. That issue is settled by the text we read and the Savior who attended the synagogue regularly and often. Let me read a short passage to illustrate this truth:
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
No, the purpose of this message is just to ask a simple and straightforward question concerning your own personal reason/s for coming.
We are being told two things about church attendance that ought to concern every one of us. First, over-all church attendance has declined gradually in the last 25 years and second, the frequency of church attendance has declined as well. This has all kinds of implications for the church and our culture. Again, my aim is not to address these things in this sermon but to make it much more personal for each of us. I believe that if we can identify the reasons and motives that people have for coming then we have to opportunity to determine if these reasons and motives have a Biblical foundation or not and then, if not, we can make some changes that hopefully will set us on the right course.
Let me deal with one issue right out of the gate. If you are an able-bodied believer you should attend church. You cannot be just as good of a Christian staying at home. You just cannot.
SHOULD CHRISTIANS ATTEND CHURCH?
An old question: "Can I be a good Christian without joining the church or attending worship?"
Answer: "Yes, it is possible. There are those who are not able to attend who are wonderful Christians; they love the Lord; they pray for and support His work; and they are given the grace to love and serve God despite their limitations. But for all the rest it is a different story. A Christian without a church is like:
a. A student who will not go to school;
b. A soldier who will not join the army;
c. A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote;
d. A salesman with no customers;
e. An explorer with no base camp;
f. A seaman in a ship without a crew;
g. A businessman on a deserted island;
h. An author without readers;
i. A football player without a team;
j. A politician who is a hermit;
k. A scientist who does not share his findings;
l. A bee without a hive."
Why should we go to church? The importance of assembling is both subjective and objective. It benefits the individual with spiritual stability and growth, and it benefits objectively by its positive effect on others. The church meeting is far more than a place for one to be entertained or to hear, for these can be accomplished through radio or television. The purpose for the assembling is for participation in worship and fellowship and with one another. Over the years I have had folks excuse their non-attendance by saying, "preacher, I was there in spirit." I heard a story that is illustrative of this fallacy...
WHEN MY HAT IS HERE...
So, it's not true that you can be just as good a Christian without going to church. You can't simply say "Well, I'm there in Spirit... but I don't have to be there in body."