Is Church Attendance Important?

Posted on 06/16/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Mighty is our Lord
Ruler of everything

Glory to our God
Glory to our King
Glory to our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher
Higher than any other name
His power is greater
For he has created everything


I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES

I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
be in my mouth


BLESS THE LORD

Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all that is within me
bless his holy name

God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
He saved my soul
He saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
He is coming soon
He is coming soon
Bless his holy name



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Praise God for his Word! If it wasn't for the inerrancy, authority, and power of the Holy Scriptures, we'd have no true foundation for what we believe, and we might as well just stay home instead of going to church. Okay, so maybe most if not all of you ARE home right now.

But we have a solid foundation. We have the absolute truth. And we serve the only true and living God who loves us, whose thoughts toward us are for peace and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope, and who gave us His Holy Word so that as we obey it and live our lives by it, that blessed future and that glorious hope can be secure.

So let's open up His Word today, and start by reading from the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 23-25.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NKJV)

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

So the confession of our hope which is in Jesus, is tied in closely with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And this tells us we are to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.

How many of you have ever been to a network marketing meeting? Or any other sort of entreprenuerial or sales-related meeting? They can be exciting and motivating, they generally show the marketing plan, and the purpose of the meeting is to recruit new members and to motivate you to use the product and to go find more people to do the same.

They always stress the importance of going to the meetings, because statistics show that those who don't go to the meetings very seldom succeed, while those who do go are much more active and their chances of success are much higher.

Well, the same basic principle holds true for the Christian walk and for the meetings we call church. Sure, going to church doesn't save you, and you can and should read the Bible and spend time seeking after the Lord every single day at home or wherever you are.

But it is not for no reason that God instructs us to meet together on a regular basis. And He knows that if we neglect doing so, we will eventually languish in our faith. There's something you just can't get by sitting at home.

Verse 25 says, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."

Now, I don't know what you believe about the day in which we live, but I believe we're in the last days. The newspaper headlines are starting to sound an aweful lot like Bible prophecy, wouldn't you agree? And this verse says "and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."

This is not the time to start getting lazy. And I'll be the first to admit, when that evil electronic rooster starts screaming on Sunday morning, that's when the bed sometimes feels the most comfortable. Well, at least that's how it is if the option of staying at home is on the table.

But let's consider what this could be telling us. Turn with me to Psalm chapter 122, and verse 1. (King David says...)

Psalm 122:1 (NKJV)

1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."

David apparently didn't wish he could sleep in. And I bet he wasn't in a hurry for the preacher to hurry up and say the benediction so he could get home and watch the game.

You see, David was a man after God's own heart. And I don't think it was only that his heart had something in common with God's; No, I think it went deeper than that. I think He was literally a man who was AFTER God's own heart. He pursued the heart of God. And because he passionately sought after the heart and the presence of God, he found Him.

In Jeremiah 29:13, God says this:

13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

And searching after God was David's consuming passion. This is why he was glad, delighted, about going to the house of the Lord, because he knew that God visits His people when they seek Him corporately in a special way, a way you won't experience if you just stay home.


When David was a boy, he tended his father's sheep. You probably know the 23rd Psalm by heart, or at least you're familiar with it. This is the perspective of a shepherd who loves his sheep, and it's also the perspective of God.

Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd, and His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. And there is something that David, having grown up a shepherd, and Jesus, being the Great Shepherd, knew about sheep, and about us.

They both knew that sheep sometimes leave the flock. They go off by themselves. David knew this not only from watching his sheep, but from being a wandering sheep himself.

King David did not end up committing adultery and then arranging for the woman's husband to be killed, while he was pursuing the heart of God and rejoicing to be with His people.

You see, God's people were at war. But instead of being with them in both good times and in the struggles, David stayed home. He slept in, took a shower, grabbed an iced tea, and went up on his roof to see if there was anything good to watch. Maybe he'd find a good Church service on TV.

And in this luke-warm condition of his heart, staying at home instead of being with the people of God, he saw Bathsheba, and the rest, as they say, is all history.


So, what does a good shepherd do when there is a sheep who stops showing up with the others? Who goes off by himself, who goes his or her own direction?

In Matthew 18:12, Jesus says this:

12 "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?"

You see, there are only two places for a sheep to be: with the other sheep, or going astray. One or the other.

Some people get hurt by people in the Church, and they decide they're better off on their own.

Some people get offended by the pastor or some of the leadership, and they simply stop going to Church.

Some people have such radical interpretations of the Bible or are so hyper-critical that ALL preachers have it wrong, and they simply can't seem to find anyone who gets it right, so they just stay home.

But if you've been hurt, then you need a touch from the healer, and you'll find Him where the other sheep are grazing.

If you've been offended, then you need to get closer to the Shepherd, so that as you learn of Him and become more like Him, any offenses caused by other imperfect Christians like you will start to fade away.

And if you think there just aren't any sheep who are really following the truth, then you just might need to plug in to a fellowship most of all. After all, Jesus did say, "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me." Where the voice of Jesus is, there WILL be sheep following. And if you're the only one following the voice you believe is God's, then you'd better wake up and start running back to where the other sheep are, because you're about to be someone's lunch.


One thing with which many people struggle is how to find the right church. Of course the first thing you need to do is to pray about it. God knows exactly where He wants you, and as you seek Him on the matter, He's going to show you in His time and in His way.

Are you already part of a congregation? Then until you know God is leading you somewhere else, that's exactly where you're supposed to be.

But perhaps you don't have a home church. Well, very quickly, here are a few things you'll do well to keep in mind as you look for somewhere to call home.

First of all, the pastor or preacher needs to know, obey, and preach the Bible. Not just part of it, but the whole thing.

A few years ago, I was told by a self-ordained pastor, not my pastor but someone else, that I'm living in adultery because I've been divorced and am married to someone else. He said that he, quote, remembers Jesus saying that if you remarry, you're committing adultery, end quote.

If you are hearing things that the pastor "remembers" being in the Bible, or things whose source is unknown, or especially things that disagree with the Holy Scriptures, then chances are that's not the place you should be.

Remember, Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. This isn't something that just happens, but is something that is learned as the sheep are close to the shepherd and hear Him speak.

This means you need to be a good Berean. You need to study the Bible yourself at home, and when you hear something taught from the pulpit, make sure the Bible agrees before you just accept it as true.


The other things I might suggest all fall under that first one, that the leadership lives by the Word of God, and preaches it faithfully, completely, and accurately. If a man or woman of God is doing this and is walking with Jesus, exalting Jesus alone, pointing to Jesus, and bearing good fruit, then the other things will take care of themselves.


Now, I realize that you could say I'm preaching to the choir, but that's not the case. Especially since we don't even HAVE a choir. But perhaps you're listening somewhere at some time, and you realize this applies to you. Well, I urge and challenge you today to heed that stirring inside of you, and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit as He instructs you in His paths of life.

And as we get ready to end with a time of prayer and ministry, I'd like to leave you with this:

You are important. You are needed. And there is a place in the Church you are supposed to be.

1 Corinthians 12:12-28 says this:

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[c] one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

There's something God wants you to do as a part of his body, working with the body, functioning with the body, suffering with the body, rejoicing with the body.

And if you allow hurts, offenses, or disagreements to keep you out of Church, then you can NOT obey everything God has called you to be and to do, and you can NOT completely follow Him; for He has created you to be a part of His body, to work closely with them, and to follow Him as part of the flock.

Find a good church, or faithfully plug in to the one of which you're already a part, or from which you have strayed. And together, pursue the heart and the presence of God. And as you walk with other sheep who are doing the same and who demonstrate the presence of the Good Shepherd and His Holy Spirit, then you will start to hear and recognize His voice, and you will find the place where you belong.


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