In the article below, Brother Lynn Huggins helps us to explore the reasons we attend (or fail to attend) the services of the congregation where we are a member. Members failing to attend as they should is a problem in many, if not all congregations of the Lord's church. It is our hope that the thoughts presented below will help us all to see the importance of being at every service, but also to look more closely at the reasons why we should attend.
By E. Lynn Huggins
Why do you attend the assemblies and Bible class periods of the church? Someone answers, “To worship God and to be encouraged and edified.” Indeed, these are reasons we attend. We love God and want to worship Him, and we also desire to grow spiritually. We understand that attending the services of the church will help us to be what God wants us to be. The assemblies are provisions God has made to help us grow and become more like our Lord. But if these are the only reasons we believe we should attend the assemblies and Bible class periods of the church, we are failing in our attendance.
Another very important reason why the Lord calls upon us to attend the assemblies of the church is to exhort and encourage our brethren. We attend not just for ourselves, but also for one another. The reason the Hebrew writer tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together is because we are to “consider one another.” “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25 NKJV; emphasis mine, elh) A Christian does not live on an island all by himself. A Christian lives in a world surrounded by other people, and some of those people are his brethren in the family of God. The Christian has special responsibilities (that God has placed upon him) to his brethren. “Love the brotherhood” (1 Peter 2:17); “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15); “warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thess. 5:14); “do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10); “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another” (Heb. 10:25) -- just to name a few. As we minister to our brethren, we are ministering to Jesus. Jesus said, “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” and “inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” (Read Matt. 25:34-46) When we attend the assemblies and Bible class periods on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights to encourage and exhort our brethren, we are ministering to Jesus. When we fail to attend and do not render encouragement and exhortation to our brethren, we fail in our service to Jesus.
A brother may say, “I can worship God at home, and I get more out of my own worship and Bible study at home than I do in the assemblies and Bible classes of the church.” If that be true, and if the only reasons to attend are to worship God and to be edified myself, then the brother may have a point. Why attend the assemblies of the church when it would be better for me to stay at home? But when I understand that I attend not just for myself, but for my brothers and sisters, then I will attend in order to be an encouragement to them. If the assemblies of the church are not that edifying, I should attend to help change what is lacking so that not only will I be edified, but my brethren will be edified also. My failure to attend will surely not solve the problem.
Others may say they don’t believe they have to be there on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. How can a Christian say this knowing that his brothers and sisters in the family of God are there needing his encouragement and exhortation? If Jesus was there needing encouragement, would I then say I don’t have to be there? The fact is He is there. His body is there. His brethren are there. “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Why do you attend the assemblies and Bible class periods of the church? Or why do you not attend?