By: Gary L. Hutchens
Countless sermons have been preached by countless preachers over the years about church attendance. Countless elders meetings in countless congregations have dealt with the challenge of increasing attendance. The results are almost always less than stellar. Perhaps one of the biggest problems is that descriptive phrase, church attendance. It may communicate the idea of responsibility more than need. As such, it can sound rather cold and formal. But it’s difficult to come up with a much better expression. So, let’s approach the matter through a question: What’s The Big Deal?
The basic reason we come together as the church is to worship God, to glorify Him through our worship. We bring our petitions and thanks to Him in prayer (1 Tim. 2:8). We praise Him in song (Eph. 5:19). We offer thanks to Him for all of His blessings as we give back from what He has given us (1 Cor. 16:1-2). We remember the death of our Savior on the cross as we partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). We teach and preach His word to all who will listen (2 Tim. 4:2). What we do in worship is A Big Deal!
The Hebrews writer lays out some important reasons why Christians should meet together as the church on a regular basis to worship God and study His word (Heb. 10:23-25). First, he states that doing so helps each one of us to stand strong in the faith (vs. 23). In fact, it helps us to grow in faith. Since receiving the “crown of life” is related to our being “faithful until death” (Rev. 2:10), being strong in the faith is of paramount importance. That’s A Big Deal!
The writer also states that our dedication, love and faithfulness, exemplified in meeting with the church to worship and study, serves to encourage and strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ in their faith and Christian walk (vs. 24). Along this line he also instructed us to “…exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13). A prime setting in which we can exhort one another is as we gather together to worship God. That’s A Big Deal!
The Hebrews writer then gives direct instruction to us, as members of the Lord’s church, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (vs. 25). As an inspired writer, that instruction has the authority of God behind it. Obviously, That’s A Big Deal!
Jesus came to this world as our Savior (Lk. 19:10). He preached and taught the gospel message of salvation (Matt. 4:23), and He instructed the apostles to continue to preach and teach that message throughout the world (Mk. 16:15-16). The church holds a central part in God’s plan in carrying out that mission (Eph. 3:8-11). So vital is the church in God’s plan for our redemption that Jesus personally adds those who are being saved to His church (Acts 2:47). Our work as the church, in coming together and teaching God’s word, is therefore A Very Big Deal!
Gary L. Hutchens