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Monday, April 2, 2012

Absentee Christians

By R. W. McAlister
     It’s common to look at the attendance record of most congregations and find the Sunday and Wednesday night attendance to be greatly below that for the service on Sunday morning. Sometimes the total attending on Wednesday is one-half the Sunday morning figure.
     Those who cause this difference by deliberately forsaking Sunday and Wednesday evening Bible classes are sounding forth a message to God and others. Here’s what we’re saying when we forsake Sunday and Wednesday night Bible study:
1) I don’t need spiritual food. The Bible contains the necessary ingredients for one's spiritual growth (I Peter 2:2). Every Sunday and Wednesday night, a portion of spiritual food is set out for those hungering for righteousness. Those who remain at home during this spiritual feast act as though they don’t need this nutrition for their souls.
2) Those who forsake the Sunday and Wednesday night services are saying that there are some things more important than gathering with God's people for study and worship. Some of these “more important” things are television programs, the newspaper, housework, the garden, or a nap. “Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15). Those who forsake these assemblies are missing a great opportunity to do this very thing.
3) Those who remain at home on Sunday and/or Wednesday nights are also saying that a study of the Bible is boring. It totally amazes me that anyone could call something more precious than gold (Psalm 19:10) dull or boring. It’s beyond comprehension that the Book containing God's mind (I Cor. 2:9-13) could be thought of as dry or uninteresting.
4) Those who forsake evening services are saying with certainty that obeying God's commands is not important. Hebrews 10:25 commands that one not forsake the assembling of the saints. Those who forsake the Sunday night and mid-week assembly must think this command is meaningless. The Holy Spirit instructs differently “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
     Dear Reader, everything that has been said about Sunday evening worship and Wednesday night Bible study applies equally to Gospel meetings or lectureships your congregation may be hosting. Why do we not love God enough to assemble with the saints whenever possible? (cr. Heb. 10:25; Mt. 6:33; Ps. 122:1)
     Without doubt, there are reasons, and there are excuses for not being present on Sunday & Wednesday nights. Friend, God knows the difference.
 - R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/



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