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Union Grove Church of Christ

"Are you Faithful in Your Attendance"

          The Bible is clear regarding the command to assemble. Attendance is a matter of faith, not opinion. However, there are many who regard the issue of attendance as a personal matter, a matter of conscience. It is true that the Bible speaks of matters of the conscience. Paul wrote, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Corinthians 6:12). The context in which Paul wrote was regarding the eating of meat offered to idols. Paul states that an idol is nothing. However, if one's conscience is violated by the eating of meat offered to an idol then there is nothing wrong with abstaining from eating it. But when it comes to matters of conscience and opinion, abstaining from or forsaking the assembly is not in that category.

            The Hebrews writer wrote, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:22-26). Let us search this matter through an exegesis of these verses.

            Notice in verse 22 the inspired writer makes the point that we, Christians, have the privilege of drawing near to God because we have been given the assurance that our sins have been forgiven. No one can "approach" God or be in fellowship with Him without first repenting (Acts 17:30). Repentance is a command in the Gospel of Christ. Furthermore, the writer states that our assurance that God forgives provides to us a clear conscience concerning the matter. This clear conscience is manifested after one is immersed in water for the remission of sins (I Peter 3:21; I John 2:24-25).

            Verse 23 makes it clear that we are to be faithful. Faithfulness is defined as "trustworthy, sure, true." God demands faithfulness, obedience (Matthew 7:21). One cannot be faithful if he is not consistent. First he must be consistent in his obedience. Second, he must be consistent in his attendance. The writer states that this faithfulness must be without "wavering." To waver is to lean to and fro, like an oscillating fan; here one moment and there the next. One wavers when he attends one service and then does not attend the next.

            Next, we must reference verse 24. Christians have the responsibility to be mindful of one another's faithfulness. This matter is very serious. Cain asked the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The implication of the question asked by God and the answer given by Cain is that he was to be his brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9). So are we. Sadly, Cain allowed his selfishness to blind him to this fact. May it never be so for us! When we attend all of the services of the church, we encourage out brethren to remain faithful because we are displaying our faithfulness.

            Verse 25 is one of the most quoted verses regarding the matter of attendance. The writer states that we must not "forsake the assembling of ourselves together." The word assembly in the Greek is defined as, "a complete collection, a Christian meeting (for the purpose of worship)." Notice that within the definition, we see that all of the members of the church are commanded to be present, hence the "complete collection." Sadly, the writer states that there were some who chose  to not assemble " as the manner of some is." By writing this he makes the point that these are a discouragement to those who are attendance. He writes, "but exhort one another." Within this command is found the effect and influence on the brethren that those in faithful attendance have.

            Finally, in verse 26, the Bible states that when one chooses to forsake the assembly, he commits willful sin. It must be made clear that there are times when a child of God is unable to be present in the assembly because of illness, death in the family, necessary work, or such like. Absence on the part of these matters is not willful sin. However, when one chooses to be absent from the assembly for frivolous and selfish reasons, he chooses sin over obedience. When one sins wilfully, he troddens under foot the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

            I once had a friend who followed the music group the Grateful Dead from city to city. I asked her what it was that made her do this. She answered, "Because I love them." The question we must ask is, "Do we love God?" Or, do we love God enough to be present at every opportunity provided for us to "draw nearer to Him?"




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