Everyone is tempted to do something other than go to church.
We may not feel well and want to rest, rather than pushing
ourselves. Or we may want to participate in another activity,
sometimes related to school or work, rather than assembling
with the saints for worship and study.
The most important reason for going to church is that God
commands it. Paul says, "not forsaking our own assembling
together" (Heb. 10:25).
"Not forsaking" is translated from egkataleipo
and means "to abandon, desert, leave behind, leave in a
When Do We Forsake The Assembly?
Let me suggest that we forsake the assembly whenever we
can be there, but choose to be somewhere else.
For example, a high school quarterback played every game
but one. Instead of playing the last game, he decided to
start a new job and work Friday night, rather than play
football. That night, the football team lost because their
quarterback abandoned them.
If the quarterback had been sick and unable to play, he
wouldn't have forsaken his team by staying home. But because
he chose to work rather than keep his commitment as a quarterback,
he forsook his team, because he could have been there.
Among other things, this illustration shows that someone
can forsake the assembly when missing just once, like the
quarterback forsook his team when missing just once.
Jesus Died On The Cross So You Can Go To Church
Jesus purchased the church with His blood:
- ". . . the church of God which He purchased with His
own blood" (Acts 20:28).
- "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You
to take the book and to break its seals; for You were
slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from
every tribe and tongue and people and nation'" (Rev. 5:9).
Whenever you're tempted to forsake the assembly, remember
that Jesus died on the cross so you could go to church.
If assembling with the saints was important enough for
Jesus to die on the cross, it's important enough for us
to do whatever's necessary to be there!
Stimulated To Love and Good Deeds
When we assemble and do the things God commands, we're stimulated
to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24-25). Singing, praying,
studying, partaking of the Lord's Supper, and giving, build
us up and make us stronger.
If we depart from God's commands, the opposite occurs,
we become weaker.
Speaking of false religious doctrines, Paul says, "These
are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom
in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment
of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence"
Many years ago, my father shared this observation with
me: When faithful Christians start missing the assembly,
it's the beginning of the end. Unless they repent and again
become faithful in their attendance, they soon fall away.
In my experience, strong Christians are faithful in their
attendance, and weak Christians are lax.
Unfortunately, this still applies to brethren who are
unable to attend church because of circumstances beyond
their control. They struggle to stay strong, and some fall
away, impressing upon us our responsibility to encourage
them when they're unable to be at church.
Jesus Would Be At Church
Sometimes we use illustrations asking what Jesus would do
in a particular situation.
These illustrations help us apply basic Bible lessons,
while removing personal desires and prejudices from the
decision making process.
Here are a few questions to ponder along this vein of
- If Jesus were here today, what are the reasons He would
- If Jesus were here today, what would He think about
people who missed church for other reasons, especially
in light of the fact that He purchased the church with
- If you knew Jesus was going to be at church, under
what circumstances would you miss?
Use These Thoughts To Motivate Yourself
When you're tempted to do something other than go to church,
think about the things we've discussed.
- You're commanded to go to church.
- You can forsake the assembly by missing just once.
- Jesus died on the cross so you can go to church.
- You're stimulated to love and good deeds when you go
- Jesus would be at church, if He were here today.