What is it that causes some folks to respond in faithfulness to the Holy Spirit’s call to worship and others to disregard it so frequently? What is it that is in the heart or mind of the person who is regularly in the pew on Sunday morning that is seemingly absent from those who show up only once in a while, if at all? Yes, these are “Law” oriented questions, but/and necessary to address. More and more people nowadays claim a commitment to Christ, but not to His church. Can the two be separated? I have written and spoken about this many times, but I’m so very troubled by the many Christians I have known throughout my life who have made no true allegiance to the Lord’s church. I have to wonder what they think heaven will be like. The Scriptures describe it as a continual time of worship (e.g. Rev. 4). Our limited opportunities to worship in a given week should spur us on all the more to make the effort (and that is really the wrong word, because in love it would not be any effort) to come and worship Jesus with the Body of Christ, the Christian family.
Too many people want to live under the false premise that “I can be a good Christian and not go to church” or ideas such as “I can be a better Christian without the church since there are so many hypocrites there.” I know people who make a concerted effort to attend weekly meetings in groups such as the Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, etc… People will make certain not to miss a certain program on T.V. each week, but they don’t think twice about missing Sunday morning worship. Along with these, I’ve know people to place $100 down for lottery tickets or drop $50 for a night of alcohol, or even much more to eat out several times a week or movies and popcorn. Those same folks will drop $20 in the offering plate and feel good about how much they contribute to the work of the Lord. Whatever pastor taught them the meaning of 2 Cor. 9:7 failed miserably because they haven’t understood the context and the verses before and after it about sowing sparingly and reaping sparingly.
We are clearly told “not to give up meeting together” (Heb. 10:25) and the context there should bring a life changing response as it says “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Heb. 10:26-27).
Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). Of great importance is the 3rd Commandment that we must “Remember the Sabbath day BY KEEPING IT Holy” (Deut. 5:12).
The church (as in the local congregation) is where the Word is proclaimed, the Sacraments are administered and the Body of Christ is nurtured, supported and strengthened. There are some who are unable to come to Sunday worship because they have a job that simply will not allow the time off. But those are few compared to the many who “choose” not to set the time aside for God.
Our attention, time, energy and even monies go in the direction of our passions and heart. If it is for the world, that is where we will be (Psalm 81:12) and remain. If our heart and love are truly with the Lord, we also know where we should/will be (Luke 11:28).
“Come, NOW is the time to worship.”