Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 22, 1949

Why Go To Church?

Chas. L. Heron

In every community there are numbers of persons who do not attend public worship services of any nature at any time. Good men and women may be, but they have never been impressed with the necessity of worshipping God. Too, there are many members of the church of our Lord, people who have been bought with the blood of Christ, who do not attend regularly at the worship services. They do not come as they should, and could.

To the faithful Christians, students of God's word, there are many compelling reasons for church attendance. It would be impossible to list all of these reasons here, but we do give a few of them.

Divine Commandments

When one willfully absents himself from the public worship services, he has violated some very definite and explicit commandments of the Lord: (1) "Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is..." (Heb. 10:25) Some would have us believe that the assembly here mentioned is the judgment day. But it occurs to this writer that no one will "forsake" that assembly! nor is he likely to "see the day approaching". The writer, no doubt, is speaking of the Lord's day, and of the public worship gatherings connected with that day.

(2) In the night of his betrayal, Jesus commanded his disciples to break bread. (Lk. 22:19) There is a clear and definite statement which shows that the early Christians did break bread, and that they met on the first day of the week for that very purpose. (Acts 20:7) They did not break the bread at home (although such might have been allowable had they been unable to assemble) but they came together for this breaking of bread.

(3) There is a commandment for the Christians to "lay by in store." (I Cor. 16:1-2) It seems evident that Paul told them to lay by in store "on the first day of the week." because that was the very day upon which they habitually assembled. Of course, it is quite possible for one to fulfill the commandment to "lay by in store" without assembling with other Christians, but as a rule, those who neglect the assembling, and absent themselves willfully from the worship are the very ones who do not "lay by in store".

Right Influence

Church attendance is necessary for the Christian to exert the right influence. Each one of us is an example, it matters not what we may say to the contrary. We may not be good examples, but we are examples nevertheless. Those who are known as members of the Lord's body, and make little or no effort to be regular in church attendance, are just about the worst examples possible. Their influence is all in the wrong direction.

Work Of The Church

Church attendance is necessary to the doing of the work of the church. The church of the Lord has a great and world-wide mission to discharge. Every member of the church has a part in that mission. If one member refuses to do his part, or fails in the discharge of it, to that extent the whole program of the church suffers. If one member has the right to absent himself from the public services, and thus fail to carry out his part of the work, then every other member has exactly the same right. And so the total work of the church would come to a dead stop.

Spiritual Development

Church attendance is necessary to our spiritual development. There may be exceptions to the following rule, but the rule is that those who are most regular in their attendance at the worship services are the ones who are the strongest spiritually. If there is any exception to the rule, it is the very exception that proves the rule. Certainly there is nothing that will build one up in the spirit more than a faithful and fervent participation with other Christians in the worship of our God. And who of us is not in need of spiritual strength? Of course it is obvious that many of us who take the lead in conducting the worship services are far from perfect, but the validity of one's worship is in no sense dependent on the character, culture, or educational qualifications of the one who may be conducting the service.

Proving Our Love

Paul makes us to know that love must be our controlling motive, else there is no profit at all in what we do. Motivated by love, any Christian is anxious, not reluctant, to attend the worship service. He does not think of attendance as an obligation or as his "duty as a Christian". On the contrary it is a joyous and welcome occasion.

Most of us can remember the days of courtship. We desired and sought the company of the one we loved. No man ever thought of offering his girl-friend some excuse about "not having sufficient clothing," or "some relatives came for a visit just as I was ready to leave," or "I just didn't feel very good," and such like. Somehow, regardless of the difficulties, and the awful weather, those who loved each other would manage to find some way to be together. This same sort of spirit should move the Christian to be faithful in his attendance at the meetings of the church. Recall that John said, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." When one is "in the spirit" on the Lord's day, he will certainly make every effort possible to meet with other Christians who are also "in the Spirit", True Christians seek opportunities to worship, not excuses to stay away. Every gospel preacher has been amused at times at some of the excuses given by some brother or sister who did not attend. They run the gamut from bad weather to company coming, to no clothes, to poor health, to hypocrites in the church, etc. etc. Most of these excuses are nothing other than smoke-screens to hide the real reason. People remain away from church ordinarily for the very reason that other people in the same circumstances go—because that is what they want to do! Truly did the Lord say, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."