Church of God, New World Ministries

Why Should I Attend Sabbath Services?

Some people are failing to attend Church Services regularly, each Sabbath, with the brethren. Jesus Christ, the Head of this Church, gives us a stern warning not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together on the Sabbath. The question is - do you believe Him?

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The Sabbath was ordained to be a day of rest from secular work. But it is more than a day of rest. God calls it a Holy Convocation. The weekly Sabbath is so designated in Leviticus 23:3, “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath or rest, an HOLY CONVOCATION.”

These words in which you have just read are from the Lord, and this Lord later became Jesus Christ, who is the Head of this Church. Are you living by those words from your Saviour?

Some may ask, what is a “holy convocation? ” It means a divinely commanded assembly, a summoned assembly where your presence is commanded or ordered.

That is why Christ made it his custom to assemble on every Sabbath. It was Paul’s custom, long after the rituals of Moses passed away, and it should be the custom of God’s Church today.

One thing that the people needs to understand is that God does not leave you free to decide whether you want to attend local church services or not. God COMMANDS your regular presence, each Sabbath! And the same holds true of every annual Holy Day.

How many in God’s Church like to make excuses, and expect Jesus Christ to understand their problems? Maybe some of you reason that Christ or the local congregation doesn’t need your regular attendance. But that is not the question. YOU need the presence of Christ and the other brethren.

You and I are creatures of habit. What we must be sure of is that we establish the right habits, and change our habits when God commands.

How many of the brethren have been making excuses to justify their habits. Some may claim, "I am just too tired to drive to church on a regular basis". Or, they just had to visit their relatives over the weekend. It may be hard to believe, but some people will use the excuse, "I can’t find anyone to take care of my animals". And some will insist they just simply don’t get anything out of services.

These are excuses! Let’s take a look at them for a moment. Let’s see what these excuses indicate about our spiritual condition.

Is it possible that our spiritual attitude is plainly indicated by the excuses we make for not regularly attending Sabbath services?

If one of your excuses is that you don’t feel at home with brethren, or that others don’t show you the type of love that members of God’s Church should show. If that is the only reason for which you go to services, just to absorb others interest, personality and love, what about showing others a bit of your love.

Is it possible that those who complained of lack of love on the part of the brethren were themselves the most lacking in love. These individuals, whether or not they realize it, are self-centered. They are carnal, thinking only of what they can get, not of what they can give, to others.

When anyone complains of not receiving enough love, that person is on the getting side. Have you ever thought that a little giving on your part will prompt more love and interest on the part of others? Learn to help them first. Enrich them by your experiences, your warmth of personality.

Again, there are people who become careless about Sabbath services because they think they already know all that is said from the pulpit. They assume they have no more need of preaching, no more need of hearing God’s word expounded. Does this sound like you?

Twenty years after the death of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, I still listen to his old sermon tapes and read his articles. I am still learning from him. If people don’t come to services because they have heard everything, the trouble with such an individual is that they are there to know what is being said. Not being imbued with the Spirit of God that person does not grasp what is being preached. That person needs to be renewed in the spirit of repentance.

Of such Jesus Christ roars: “because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

In some rare instances a few brethren have missed annual Holy Days because they could not find someone to take care of their pets. This may be hard to believe, but this excuse rings of idolatry. Ask yourself this question: Are you going to let an animal decide what you are to do, instead of letting Jesus Christ, your God and High Priest, lead you?

Sometimes, brethren think it is more important to visit relatives in distant states than attend services on the Sabbath. Granted, there may be genuine emergencies when you have to be with relatives in case of sickness or death. What I am referring to is not an emergency, but a needless social occasion. Visit your relatives during the week, or on Sunday. The Sabbath is not a time to visit UNCONVERTED and worldly relatives.

If this pertains to you, why do you put your fleshly relatives before your spiritual family? Is it because you are lacking the Spirit of God and no longer feel comfortable with the brethren? Jesus Christ FORBIDS you to put family before Him. It is idolatry, serving another master in place of the true God.

Yet another excuse is that some are “too tired” to drive to church. After five or six days of hard work, it is reasoned, it is just too much for Jesus to expect me to attend services regularly.

Jesus Christ could have reasoned the same way at the time of his death. BUT HE DID NOT! Now notice the example of Christ that some of you may be overlooking. On the mount of Olives Christ told the disciples, (are you a disciple of Christ?) shortly before His capture: “Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” Then Jesus withdrew from the disciples about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping.” They were tired!

SO WAS JESUS CHRIST

Then Christ aroused them and warned: “Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:39-46). Here is Christ’s example, His warning to those making excuses that they are just too tired.

Of course a person needs physical rest each Sabbath to restore physical vigor and determination. But a person also needs to have spiritual vigor and zeal restored! That is why church attendance is vital. It is not enough to rest from your physical labors each Sabbath. You need spiritual stimulation that comes with personal contact with other brethren. You need the presence of Christ and His words that come in every Sabbath service.

Now think about this, if God thought all you needed was physical rest, He would not have made the Sabbath any more than just a rest day. But brethren, He did make it more than a rest day. He made it a HOLY CONVOCATION. He commands your presence, wherever a local church is available.

Now we come to a vital chapter of the Bible partly devoted to church attendance. Most of us are familiar with Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” But how many remember what the other verses of this same chapter say?

Notice the subject is our access to the Father in Heaven. Under the Old Covenant, there was only a constant reminder of sin enacted by the priests in their daily rituals. But under the New Covenant, we have access through Christ to the Father. We are to draw near to Him “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (verse 22), and to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” (verse 23), and to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works ” (verse24). How are you going to provoke others to increased love and good works if you seldom see them in Sabbath services? Verse 25 has the answer! “We are not to neglect assembling ourselves together, as the custom of some is!”

We simply cannot exhort and encourage others when we are not in Sabbath services on a regular basis. And notice that we are to assemble “so much the more, as we see the day approaching ”!

But this is not all that Paul wrote. “ For if we sin willfully,” Paul continues, “after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb.10:26-27). Have you really considered what this means?

Neglect of attending services each Sabbath, when local services are available, can, and does, lead to willful sin! Paul had just commanded the brethren in verse 25 to assemble regularly wherever possible. Then he warns of sinning willfully. The connection is obvious! The neglect of Sabbath attendance, carelessness about being regular, separates us from God on the very day He wants us to be in His presence the MOST. This could be the road to sin and eternal death!

Now turn in your Bible to verse 29. What happens to those who become careless, who fail to observe the Passover with the brethren when they can do so, who do not value Christ’s blood which opened the way to true spiritual worship every Sabbath with the brethren?

Here is Paul’s answer: “Of how much sorer punishment, than under Moses, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, who despise Christ’s express command to meet in His presence each Sabbath, “and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, and unholy thing ,” by neglect of assembling for Passover services when available. Paul concludes in verse 31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”

Don’t say it doesn’t matter, that you can worship God alone at home! That is the same excuse the world uses for pretending to worship God on Sunday instead of the Sabbath. God not only tells you which day to devote especially to worship, but He also orders you to appear before Him on that day wherever a local church exists!

After reading what your Creator says about the Sabbath, what are you going to do now?

Heed Paul’s words! “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Heb. 10:35-36). Some are doing the will of God! Some lack the faith and patience it takes to be consistent in their regular Sabbath attendance.

Now let us consider the importance of regular Sabbath attendance!

It is good for you, and good for the other brethren. They have as much need of your presence as you have of theirs, and we all need the presence of Jesus Christ and His messages through His ministry.

You simply cannot get this privately at home, while you dwell on your own problems. You need to get your mind on other peoples’s problems-- get away from your personal surroundings each Sabbath. Go to a local church!

Ask the brethren who want to attend services, but can’t, how much they miss each week, how they long for fellowship with other brethren of like faith. God does not hold them responsible because they have no way of getting to services.

We are not of them who draw back unto perdition,” who begin to neglect the words of Christ, become self-centered, preferring fellowship only with their family and acquaintances. We are “of them that believe to the saving of the soul ” (verse 39). Do you believe Christ’s words? Do you act on them? He commands you and me to worship in His presence every Sabbath wherever a local congregation makes a HOLY CONVOCATION possible.

 
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