The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. ~Proverbs 21:16
Every Sunday afternoon, I take some time to review the attendance at church and, specifically, those who were missing. There are those who were missing because of employment, illness, or vacation travel. Then, there are those who are missing consecutive weeks because church attendance became non-essential to them. The longer they are gone, the more difficult it is for them to be back on a regular basis. This morning, let us see the danger of being missing in attendance.
We see the privilege.
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Saved, baptized individuals of a specific local assembly are members of that church. An individual can only be a member of one local church. Being added to the membership of that local assembly is a blessed privilege. It is there where the member participates together with other members in worship, service, and the taking of the Lord’s Table. It is through the congregation where the tithes and offerings of that person are given to help promote the gospel and work of the Lord. God blesses the life of those who choose to thrive in a local church assembly.
We see the priority.
“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” (Hebrews 10:25). God commands the members of a church to not forsake the assembling of themselves together. In other words, we are not to skip out, be missing in attendance, or be church hopping. We have a responsibility in the fellowship of the church: we are to exhort, love, and provoke one another to good works. We have a responsibility in the finances of the church: our tithes and offerings undergird the work as an ongoing entity. We have a responsibility in the fervency of the church: enthusiastic churches are made up of enthusiastic members.
We see a parting.
There is a man who wanders out of the way of understanding. He walks away from the safety and security of his church family. After a while, he loses his way, and his wandering takes him further and further away. He has become a member of the congregation of the dead. Anything that is dead no longer has life or breath. It is spiritual suicide to wander away from regular attendance at church. The farther we go away and the longer we are gone, we become dead to the worship, the witness, the work, and the will of God. Like the church at Sardis, it can be said of a church member who wanders away: “thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” The connection is broken, there is no longer fruit, and there is a loss of desire.
We see the prevention.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Notice: “they continued steadfastly.” Don’t be missing! Make your spiritual life the high priority of every day. Don’t wander from the fellowship of the church: be at every service. Don’t wander from the fundamentals of the church: the apostles’ doctrine is the doctrine that Jesus passed down. Don’t wander from the fervency of the church: this includes the preaching, the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Table), soulwinning, prayer meetings, and church work projects. Staying active in church keeps you in the congregation of the living. In summary, strive not to be missing in attendance. Continue steadfastly!
Have a steadfast God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 13-15