Acts 2:44 says, “All that believed were together, and had all things common.” We are looking through the Bible for great truths that are connected to the word “together.”
Before I begin my message today I want to give you a very important “public safety” announcement.
· If you regularly ride in automobiles, drive carefully because auto crashed are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents.
· Staying at home doesn’t help because 17% of all fatal accidents occur in the home.
· Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because pedestrians account for 14% of fatal accidents.
· If you travel by public transportation such as air, rail, or water you should be aware that 16% of all fatal accidents involve some form of public transportation.
· You will be pleased to learn that only .001% (one-one hundredth of a percent) of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you and your family to be at any given point in time is at church! Attend church—it could save your life.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see the day approaching.”
How would you “rate” your present church commitment, on a scale of 1 to 10, as a matter of high, personal priority? Let me let you think about it.
Three (3) things are assumed. The people to whom this commandment is given were….
(1) Born-again believers. While the unsaved are welcome at church gatherings, we do not hold church for the unsaved. God doesn’t command the lost to attend church; He commands them to received His Son. The truth is, most lost people will not attend church for every long because they are convicted by the Holy Spirit when they attend.
(2) Baptized-believers. Acts 2:41. Water baptism is a physical expression that a person has believed Jesus died, was buried and resurrected for our sin’s payment. In the New Testament, no one was a church member apart from having been baptized following their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
- When a person joins some branch of the armed forces, he or she received a uniform. For the Christian, that uniform is baptism.
- When I got married 40 plus years ago Susan gave me a ring and I have wearing a ring since then to signify our relationship. Simply wearing a ring does not make you married, but married people usually are proud to wear a wedding ring. Baptism does not save; it is a testimony you have been saved.
(3) Belong to a church family. In the New Testament, a church was a body of believers that you could be received into or put out of, Acts 9:26. You see, a church is far more than a number of people listening to the same preacher during a given week, it is the church of the living God.
There are likely four groups here today. (1) Faithful members (2) Unfaithful members. (3) Faithful non-members. (4) Unfaithful non-members.
1. The Neglect of Weekly Church Attendance is PROHIBITED.
Q: Can you be the Christian God wants you to be without faithful church attendance?
Why is a “weekly” interruption important? We are all slow learners and fast forgetters. Church attendances helps us remember every week that God is not just “important,” He is our “life”! We need the weekly reminder that God gives us….
- Time - Life - Health - Resources
“Assembling ourselves together…” Look around. We are all so different.
Yet, here we are “together.” Remember that words means “at the same place and time; associate with, to convene.”
We take time for what we consider important…
“Not forsaking….” An imperative, a command. It means...
· If you are forsaking the assembling, stop it and get back in church every week. Purposefully not attending church is an act of disobedience to God, and disobedience is sin and sin should be confessed and forsaken.
· If you are in church every week, make sure you don’t start laying out of church. It is a dangerous thing.
2. Weekly Church Attendance is an old PROBLEM.
“..as the manner of some is:…” It was already happening in the first century. Baptist churches have experienced more missing persons than the Bermuda triangle!
Why has this been an problem that has plagued God’s churches for 21 centuries?
· Sabotage ….Satan warfare… “taketh away the seed.”
· Stubbornness… rebellion
A pastor commented to a friend that the people of his church were not attending like they should because “the church was too close to the lake.” The friend disagreed saying, “No, the problem is they don’t live close enough to the Lord!”
Going to church does not save you, but if you are saved you ought to be in church. What kind of salvation did people get that is supposed to take them to heaven when they die but doesn’t take the to church while they are alive? I would check out that kind of salvation before it is too late!
Missing church one Sunday a month is problematic! Did you know that if you miss one service a month, every month during the year, that it would like you missing three months on your job during a year!
3. Weekly Church Attendance is a POSITIVE influence.
“...but exhorting one another…”
We don’t live “in the church.” We live “in the world” and it can be very discouraging. The world is a dark, dirty, difficult place.
Dealing with discouragement.
· Broken relationships… “Where is so-and-so?”
· Besetting sins. Clubbing on Saturday night and church-going on Sundays.
· Bad experiences in the church family.
We received encouragement from…
· God’s Word. Every believer needs the teaching ministry of a Bible preacher! Every Christians needs to be “in” the Word during the week and “under” the Word on Sunday. Only God can do what is done from week to week through the pulpit ministry of the pastor. It is an amazing thing that God can take one message and through it encourage 200 different people and meet their needs...all through one message.
· God’s people. Church is a place for “positive” relationships. How many know all relationships are not positive? Amen! The fellowship of God’s people in a church family is a powerful thing! Fellowship is not having cookies and Kool-aid after church services. Fellowship is helping one another in adversity, praying for one another in difficulty, encouraging one another in sorrow, sharing the burdens and joys of life with people who care.
· God’s resources. Tithing is to be a weekly thing for Christians. It encourages us each week that God has and will meet our needs. And that through our joint tithing God’s work goes on.
We are not a perfect church. And let me say, if you ever find a “perfect” church, don’t join it because you would mess it up!
This is one of the many “one another” passages that find their fulfillment through the ministry of God’s people.
· “Love one another…” John 13:34.
· “Be kind one to another,” Ephesians 5:32.
4. Weekly Church Attendance in our day is to be a high PRIORITY.
“...and so much more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Church attendance is more important now than every before.
Where did God have the Tabernacle positioned for Israel? At the center. All of the Jews lives were literally organized around the place and day of worship.
Do we believe Jesus’ returning is “approaching”?
Ill: Recently I was at a meeting out of state for 7 days….by day 2 or 3 I was always thinking about home...by day 4 and 5 I was planning (this is what we will do)...by day 6 and 7 I was packing!
A graphic artist was hired to create a logo for a company. After several weeks of waiting a very simple logo was present with a bill of $5,000. The person in charge was shocked and asked how he could billed so much for so little. The artist said, “The price is for knowing what to leave out!”
That a major problem for many people—we don’t know what to leave out!
Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “One thing thou lackest,’ Mark 10:21.
To a frustrated Martha Jesus said, “One thing is needful,” Luke 10:42.
The blind man who had been healed said, “One thing I know,” John 9:25.
Paul said, “This one thing I do,” Philippians 3:13.
If something were said about most of us it would be, “These 100 things we dabble in.”
We need to make “being in church” one of our highest priorities.
There are so many things that try to intrude into our church time—our work schedule, relatives, pee-wee football, cheer leadings, school, band. And when we drop one of those activities, something else takes its place.
The Bible says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to thee…” James 4:8.
Get closer to Christ and we will get closer to each other.
As many of you know, I have a passion for fly-fishing. Its not a holy passion, but it is a passion. I don’t get to fly-fish but about two weeks in the whole year, but when I’m not fly-fishing, I’m thinking about fly-fishing. I have fly-fished in Vermont, Wyoming, Oregon, and Colorado. I have gotten up early in the morning to fly-fish. I have driven hundreds of miles to fly-fish. I have walked as many as 10 miles in one day fly-fishing. I have camped overnight in a tent to fly-fish. I have spend considerable money to fly-fish. I have some of the best equipment money can buy to fly-fish. I have been cold and wet and hot and bone tired for fly-fishing. My office is decorated ...you got it… in fly-fishing gear. I absolutely love it. And I am pretty good at it. I couldn’t settle for less.
How is it that some people can be so passionate about fishing or golfing or sports or crafts or collecting or traveling or camping or visiting family or whatever … at the expense of what should be their primary passion for the house of the Lord? Its all about the heart. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:21. The reason the house of the Lord is no longer our priority and passion is because the Lord of the house is no longer our priority and passion. Like those of the church at Ephesus, many have “left their first love,” Revelation 2:4. The Bible says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to thee…” James 4:8.