I admit it. Sometimes I struggle with getting up and going to church on Sundays. On any given Sunday, there are a ton of reasons rationalizing why I might not want to go. Regrettably, I’ve even missed a Sunday here and there. So what’s the big deal? A lot of people I know, including professed Christians, say that nothing in the Bible commands us to attend church and that how we worship God is up to each individual’s taste. While I agree that church attendance isn’t necessarily a part of coming to believe, gathering together in public worship is a vital part of our continual walk with Christ.
When we neglect public worship, we avoid celebrating the most important relationship we have. Everything from that point forward just unravels. Things just don’t quite go the way we planned for the rest of the week; all because we didn’t start the week of right, by spending time gathered in public worship of Yahweh. That’s not to say all that attend are believers or perfect in their daily walk with God. Of course not. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect. It simply makes you more aware of your imperfections and your need for God. The journey isn’t so much about us being perfect as it is realizing how imperfect we are and how perfect the Lord is. He wants us to learn to depend on Him for guidance and direction and to heal our hurts and hearts. The Lord, He is trustworthy, indeed.
In Exodus 20:8-11, we read:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
That certainly sounds like observing a day of worship is important to God. Back in the days of Moses, the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Since God ceased from His creation work on the seventh day, this was to be a day that all Israelites rested, as God rested. God set the Sabbath apart from the other days of the week. Observing the Sabbath is the 4th Commandment handed down to Moses and the Israelites. It happens to be the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated for the church in the New Testament. Coinciding with the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the church has traditionally observed Sunday as the Sabbath, as the resurrection lays the foundation for our rest.
In Psalm 95, verses 1-7, the psalmist proclaims:
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
As he urges his audience to worship God and not live in unbelief, the psalmist exalts God as the King above all kings and God above all gods, declaring Him worthy of all praise.
In Acts 2:42-47, after the Pentecost, we see the believers in Jerusalem gather together. Scripture says:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Setting the day that begins the week aside to gather together as one body in united worship of the Lord matters to God because He reveals it through the Bible, a book intended to by God to show Himself to us.
Finally, in Hebrews 10:19-25, we learn:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that believers need each other for support, encouragement, accountability, and exhortation to persevere in our faith. As believers, we have an obligation to love each other, encouraging one another to press on, in spite of what we see happening in the world because He who is for us is greater than whatever is against us. By gathering together for public worship, we help our love for one another so that we can stay steadfast in God, who ultimately is faithful in His promises about the future. It is God in whom we trust.
Public worship celebrates and commemorates that. So, the next time you’re tempted to neglect public worship, I will pray for you, as I hope you will continually pray for me. As believers, we need each other, to help us get from this journey unto the next. May His favor shine down on you today. Amen.
Constable’s Notes, https://lumina.bible.org/bible/