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                      "WHY ATTEND EVERY SERVICE?"


INTRODUCTION

1. In my life as a Christian, I have noticed the following in every
   church...
   a. There are some Christians who attend every service of the church
      whenever possible
      1) They are present for Bible study on Sunday morning and
         Wednesday evening
      2) They attend both Sunday morning and evening worship services
      3) When the church has a gospel meeting, they attend each service
      4) They frequently attend gospel meetings at other congregations
   b. There are other Christians whose attendance is infrequent
      1) They attend only once on Sunday, and that sporadically
      2) They do not participate in the Bible studies
      3) They are not present for most services during local gospel
         meetings
      4) As for attending a gospel meeting elsewhere...very unlikely

2. Why the difference?
   a. Why do some Christians attend every service, and others do not?
   b. Does it really make a difference?

3. I am of the conviction that it makes a very real difference!
   a. It makes a difference in the spiritual life of the Christian
   b. It makes a difference in the spiritual life of the congregation

[I wish to share with you some reasons why every Christian ought to
attend every service, unless hindered by illness or circumstances
beyond their control.  There are several reasons why many Christians
have chosen to attend as they do.  For example, we should attend every
service...]

I. TO FULFILL THE COMMANDS OF GOD

   A. THE COMMAND NOT TO FORSAKE OUR ASSEMBLING...
      1. This command is found in He 10:25
      2. It is warning against the complete abandonment of assembling
         with others
      3. While one may not have abandoned our assembling by attending
         only once a week...
         a. Forsaking that one assembly a week becomes a lot easier
            when you have been in the habit of forsaking many other
            assemblies!
         b. Those in the habit of attending every service are not
            likely to begin skipping services that can lead to stopping
            attending altogether!

   B. THE COMMAND TO EDIFY ONE ANOTHER...
      1. We have a responsibility to build up one another - Ro 14:19;
         15:1-3; He 3:12-14
      2. Simply our presence alone encourages others in attendance
      3. Can we really say that we are edifying others...
         a. When we are absent most of the time?
         b. When we attend so infrequently, we hardly know the other
            members?
         c. When we are not present to notice that others have stopped
            attending?

   C. THE COMMAND TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD...
      1. Jesus commands us to put the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33
         a. We all have priorities, we must simply put them in the
            right order
            1) Many Christians will not accept a job if it means
               missing services, and yet they find that God provides
               for their needs
            2) Many Christians will not play sports, or other
               extracurricular activities that conflict with their
               service to God
            -- It is one thing to miss because one provides critical
               services to others (such as medical needs), but to miss
               just to make money?
         b. Some stay home on Sunday because of aches and pains, but on
            Monday go to work, the grocery store, or the mall with the
            same aches and pains (???)
      2. Putting Christ first even before family - Mt 10:37-38; Lk
         14:26
         a. Some stay home because of family visiting - is that putting
            Christ first?
         b. Who is our true family? - cf. Mt 12:46-50

[Can anyone say that they can faithfully keep such commands when they
consistently miss most of the services of the church?  Consider also
that we should attend every service...]

II. TO GROW AND DEVELOP SPIRITUALLY

   A. THE SERVICES ARE DESIGNED FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH...
      1. Hearing the sermons and attending the Bible classes helps one
         to grow and develop into a mature Christian - cf. He 5:12-14
      2. Even the songs are designed to teach as well as praise - Co
         3:16
      3. Prayer, the Lord's Supper, even the collection, are designed
         to bring us closer to God as well as to one another

   B. OUR GROWTH IS DEPENDENT UPON OUR DIET...
      1. One cannot grow as God intended on a starvation diet
      2. Those who attend irregularly eventually suffer from "spiritual
         malnutrition"
         a. Leaving them susceptible to temptation
         b. Rather than living strong, joyful, peaceful spiritual lives

[I have never known a person who chose to attend only one service a
week to be a strong, faithful Christian.  They were more like the chaff
than the rooted tree described in Ps 1:1-6. Another reason to attend
every service is...]

III. TO HELP THE CHURCH FUNCTION PROPERLY

   A. THE LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS WORKERS...
      1. The church is like a body, needing every individual part to do
         its share - Ep 4:15-16
      2. No one can say they're not needed, nor that they do not need
         others - 1Co 12:12-19
      3. To function properly, a church needs both spiritual and
         physical service
         a. Such as leading songs, prayers, reading scripture, and
            preaching
         b. Such as teaching children and adult classes
         c. Such as ushering, preparing communion, cleaning the
            building
         d. Such as many things which take place outside the assembly:
            visiting the sick, helping the needy, teaching the lost,
            strengthening the weak

   B. THE CHURCH IS DEPENDENT UPON ITS MEMBERS...
      1. Members who attend infrequently rarely do little else for the
         church
      2. Do you want the church to grow?
         a. Do you want to see souls saved?
         b. Do you want to see the weak encouraged?
         c. Do you want to see our (your) children have good teachers?
      3. A church is no stronger than the collective strength of its
         members
         a. The church is like the links in a chain
         b. If there is a missing link in the chain, it can affect the
            entire chain

[Churches where the attendance drops on Sunday and Wednesday nights,
where the members do not attend gospel meetings, will never live up to
their potential in service to the Lord.  Do we want to have to give an
answer to the Lord for why we hindered His church?]

IV. TO PROVIDE A GOOD EXAMPLE AND INFLUENCE

   A. CHRISTIANS ARE TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE...
      1. For one another - 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:7-8
      2. For those in the world - Mt 5:14-16; Php 2:15

   B. FAITHFUL ATTENDANCE IS ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD INFLUENCE...
      1. It sets a good example for babes in Christ, the spiritually
         weak, visitors, and our own children!
         a. You may think you can survive on one service a week
         b. But what of those who need encouragement, and they notice
            you missing?
      2. It influences our friends, relatives, and neighbors - cf. 1 Pe
         2:12
         a. They admire your conviction and devotion to the Lord
         b. They may begin to wonder what it is that makes you so
            devoted to the church
      3. It is provides great support to the elders, preacher, and
         other Christians
         a. Your presence alone is a source of great encouragement
         b. Your absence creates anxiety for anyone concerned for your
            spiritual welfare

[We cannot escape being an influence to others.  Will our influence be
good or poor?  Here is yet another reason to attend every service when
possible...]

V. TO BE READY, WATCHING AND WAITING

   A. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ARE TO BE PREPARED...
      1. Jesus warned against getting caught off guard - Mt 24:44;
         25:13; Mk 13:33-37
      2. Paul taught the need to be prepared - 1Th 5:1-11
      3. It is part of enduring to the end - Mt 10:22; 24:12-13
      4. It is part of making the best use of our time - Ep 5:16

   B. ATTENDING EVERY SERVICE CONTRIBUTES TO OUR PREPARATION...
      1. As we sing songs about the Lord's coming
      2. As we study the Scriptures that promise His return
      -- What if the Lord came Sunday or Wednesday night, and you were
         staying home out of convenience rather than assembled with the
         brethren?

[Can we say that we are ready, watching, and waiting for the Lord, when
we willfully miss many of the opportunities to be with His disciples?
Finally, consider another reason to attend every service...]

VI. TO HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE

   A. A GOOD CONSCIENCE IS IMPORTANT...
      1. Jesus died to purify our conscience - He 9:14
      2. We were baptized, as an appeal for a good conscience - 1 Pe
         3:21
      3. We are to have faith and a good conscience - 1Ti 1:19
      4. The goal of our teaching is to have a good conscience - 1 Ti
         1:5
      -- And so disciples like Paul sought to serve God with a good
         conscience - Ac 24:16

   B. MISSING SERVICES CONTRIBUTES TO A GUILTY CONSCIENCE...
      1. When you miss, not because of illness or some other
         circumstance beyond your control, you feel guilty
         a. Because you know where you should be
         b. You really don't need a lesson like this...common sense
            tells you that you would be better off assembling with the
            Lord's people
      2. A guilty conscience soon leads to a hardened conscience
         a. A conscience that becomes "seared", so that it no longer
            functions properly - e.g., 1Ti 4:2
         b. Once your conscience is hardened regarding attendance, it
            is more likely to become hardened against doing what is
            right in other areas
      3. Could you say what the writer of Hebrews did? - He 13:18
         a. "...for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in
            all things desiring to live honorably"
         b. If we make it a habit not to attend all the services of the
            church, can we really say "we have a good conscience, in
            all things desiring to live honorably"?

CONCLUSION

1. Why attend every service?  The faithful and fruitful child of God
   attends...
   a. To fulfill the commands of God
   b. To grow and develop spiritually
   c. To help the church function properly
   d. To provide a good example and influence
   e. To be ready, watching and waiting
   f. To have a clear conscience

2. For such reasons (and many others), the faithful child of God will
   the same attitude expressed by the sweet singer of Israel:

      "I was glad when they said to me, `Let us go into the house
      of the LORD.'" (Ps 122:1)

Is that your attitude?  In redeeming what time you have left (Ep 5:16),
may you use as much of it as possible in service to the Lord and His
people!
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