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‘Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that’ Hebrews 10:25 (CEV)

August 24, 2019
HEBREWS 10:25

As I was praying for the new term, I felt the Lord lay on my heart this verse for the church. Which in Simon’s translation is ‘Keeping coming to church each week, at the start of the academic year block out Sundays for meeting with Jesus’. There is a growing habit across the UK church to only come to church when it is convenient to do so. At the start of this term I want us all to prioritise coming to Sunday worship each week. Let us break the habit of only coming when it is convenient or when I feel like it. I don’t want to belittle the real struggle it is for many of us to come to church each week and that is why we will once again put on two services on a Sunday. We also are committed through life groups to walk alongside those who work or have unbelieving partners or support family on Sundays so they can be accountable.

A recent study in America showed evangelical Christians do not attend church regularly for the following reasons

1.    They practice their faith in other ways (46%)

2.    Logistical – not have the time or poor health (26%)

3.    They haven’t found a church they like

4.    They dislike the sermons

5.    They do not feel welcome

 

However the survey showed that the majority of those who practiced the faith outside church were those who regularly attended church debunking reason 1 making it an excuse.

I wonder whether you can identify with any of the reasons above, so to help you try and establish a good habit let me share some of the reasons why you should prioritise Sunday worship.

It demonstrates Faith – although we believe that coming to church does not make you a Christian. Just as going to McDonalds does not make you a hamburger but just as you will find hamburgers in McDonalds so you should find Christians at church. Faith the bible teaches is not just belief in God, if this was the case the book of James reminds us, that this would make the devil a Christian. But faith is acknowledging Jesus as our Lord. It is submitting and following him. Putting my belief in action.  Therefore if we submit to him being our Head, we are part of his body, the church. And as Ricky Jones says ‘I want you to understand that being part of the universal church without submitting to a local church is not possible, biblical, or healthy. First, it’s simply not possible. To imply you can be part of the greater community without first being part of the smaller is not logical’. Now you may argue that the bible nowhere dictates about weekly attendance, but surely this verse indicates that when we make Jesus our Lord we become part of a church and we submit to its chosen way of worshiping and following the Lord. So for us as a church this means presently weekly Sunday worship and connection with a life group.

 

It builds Family – when we put our faith in Jesus we become part of his family. As this verse describes we meet to encourage one another. Worship has been defined as ‘relating to God in the presence of others and relating to others in the presence of God.’ Sunday worship is when we gather with our God and his family. Matthew 18:20 reminds us when we gather in the name of Jesus he is there. For us as good Baptists we remember that gathering in his name is ‘retelling’ his story through baptism, communion, word and worship. When we do that we are meeting as a family with our God. We are building healthy relationships with the Lord and one another. If I miss out regularly I may begin to feel less and less connected with the Lord and the rest of his family.

 

It Feeds & sustains my Christian life – we join each Sunday to worship and we come in submission to the Lord – through songs, prayers and the Word. And it feeds and sustains me. I simply quote William Temple’s definition of worship

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose–all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”

 

It fuels the miraculous – the gifts of the Spirit are distributed to the body. 1 Corinthians 14 reminds us that it is when we come together that we prophesy and use these gifts. We should all come prepared to be used by the Lord in exercising spiritual gifts. It is when we gather in worship that the Lord is present in his church to work the miraculous.

 

It falls short without me – if we truly believe in the description of the church as the body. I am letting down the rest of the body if I choose not to take my place and my part regularly. Have you thought the church might be falling short of all the Lord has for it because I am not taking my place or my part.

 

It is the fire of evangelism – we all struggle with evangelism. But do you realise that the greatest act of personal evangelism is commitment to church. The church is the Lord’s evangelistic strategy for the world. So if you are wanting others to come to know Jesus – commit to church. This is because Jesus tells us it is not the miraculous or the persuasiveness of our arguments that will convince people but our way of community, of love of being church. Also it demonstrates to my family and friends where my priorities lie. Also it where when we all gather as a body Jesus is present and people can meet him and he uses my gifts to speak to others.

 

I know there are many other reasons to commit to church this term. I saw Hillsong posted 99 reasons to attend church (I didn’t read them) but I hope as you pray over these 6 reasons you will prioritise a Sunday worship service and your life group each week. And if we all did that I am sure renewal and revival would break out at Wallingford Baptist Church or whatever church you belong to.

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