“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 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.” Hebrews 10:24-25
It is almost as if the writer of Hebrews knew what would happen: As “the Day” (of the Lord Jesus’ return) gets closer and closer, many of God’s children would get into the habit of forsaking the assembling of themselves together in His house. For the one who has ever truly believed God’s Word, it would be hard to look around at what’s happening and not come to the conclusion that, the Day is approaching.
Recently, a national church survey group reported that a full one-third of people who regularly attended church before the lockdown of churches have never returned. I would like the opportunity to ask each one of them, “Why?” Is it fear? Discouragement? Embarrassment to return after such a long time? Feelings of abandonment by God? Or is it simply that a new routine has been developed that is hard to break. Slopes are slippery.
Whatever the reason, there is one thing I can say with assurance: Church attendance is vital for Christians. Oh, sure…one can be a believer without attending church, but a disinterest in going to church is a definite sign of something not being quite right in one’s Christian life. Why? Because Jesus is the Founder of the Church. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus calls the Church “My church.” The believer in Jesus who cares little for what Jesus cares so much about is only fooling himself.
Jesus founded the Church so that we can worship corporately in the presence of the Living God with an opportunity to encourage one another before, during, and after the church service. As the writer of the book of Hebrews made clear, as the Day of Christ’s return is drawing nearer, coming together is more important than ever!
Whether it be a temple, a tabernacle, or a church building, Jesus calls it “My house.” It is in these gathering places on earth that he taught daily (Luke 19:47). He called the temple on earth “My house” when making it plain that God provided such a place for all people to pray.
As I am writing this to you, I am listening to a recording I’ve had since the 1970s. The title of the song is, “To My Father’s House” by Edwin Hawkins. The “House” that the song refers to is the House that Jesus told us He is building for us in Heaven. He said, “If it were not true, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) But in the meantime, I am praying daily for those who have chosen not to return to the House here on earth.
Would you pray with me, “Dear Jesus, may you put it back into the hearts of so many of your children to come back into the House. Please help them to say with King David in Psalm 122:1, ‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the House of the LORD.’ Heavenly Father, may you remind them of the glorious times they had back in the day when they rejoiced with the saints in Your House. And if they have not returned due to discouragement, please restore unto them the joy of Thy salvation. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”