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Meeting

 

Church, Attending

A Christian who says he worships God every Sunday morning on the golf course is really worshiping golf on god’s course. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Church, Attending

An old farmer attending a Sunday-school conference commented: “I find it amusing, all those papers and discussion on how to get people to come to the meetings. I have never heard a single address at a farmer’s convention on how to get the cattle to come to the rack. It’s simple—we just use the best kind of feed.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Church, Attending

Many believers don’t see the importance of regular church attendance. Members of Northend Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Seattle received a special announcement in the mail, listing the many things that would be done for them at church on the following “no-excuse-to-stay-home Sunday.”

According to the pastor, cots would be available for those who say Sunday is their only day to sleep. Eye drops would be supplied for those who have red eyes from watching late Saturday-night TV shows. There would be steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave in if they ever went to church, blankets for persons who think the church is too cold, fans for those who say it is too hot, scorecards for those wishing to list all the hypocrites present, TV dinners for those who can’t go to church and also cook dinner. Finally, the sanctuary would be decorated with Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Church, Attending

A certain parishioner who had previously been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to church. After some weeks, the minister decided to visit the absent member. It was a chilly evening, and the minister found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him,  led him to a big chair by the fireplace, and waited.

The minister made himself comfortable and said nothing. In grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, he took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow, but then its fire was no more and it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greetings. But as the mi9nister rose to leave, the host said, “Thank you so much for your visit—and especially for your fiery sermon. I shall be at church next Sunday.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Church, Attending

Dear Sir: You manufacture aspirin tablets that relieve sufferings, colds, and fevers. The mixture used in your tablets makes it possible for people to get out of bed and fight off headaches, bad nerves and muscle spasms. I have noticed that these tablets work wonders on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and especially well on Saturday. But people who take them on Sunday seem to get no relief. They claim they cannot get rid of their aches and pains and are thus not able to attend Sunday school and church. It is possible to put in an ingredient that will work on Sunday? -- Hopefully, A Concerned Pastor.

 

Conferences

John R. Mott was for many years head of the Student Volunteer Movement when it was a vital force for Christ and for worldwide evangelism. When asked to evaluate his life, Mott commented, “If I had may life to live over, I would give much more emphasis to student conferences and retreats, because the benefits are far out of proportion to the investment of time and money.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Faithfulness

When I proudly told my 8-year-old granddaughter I'd been attending Bible class for almost 50 years, she looked at me sympathetically and patted my hand.

"Don't worry, Grandma," she said.  "Maybe this year you'll pass." -- Marlys Huffman, Seattle, Washington, The Christian Herald May/June 1990

 

Religious Activity

Where Have All The Grandmas Gone?

   In the dim and distant past,

      When life's tempo wasn't fast,

   Grandma used to rock and knit,

      Crochet, tat and baby-sit.

   When the kids were in a jam,

      They could always call on "Gram."

   In that day of gracious living,

      Grandma was the gal for giving.

   but today she's in the gym,

      Exercising to keep slim,

   She's off touring with the bunch,

      Or taking clients out to lunch.

   Going north to ski or curl,

      All her days are in a whirl.

   Nothing seems to stop or block her,

      Now that Grandma's off her rocker!!! -- Author Unknown, From F. Turnridge  1987

 

Church Attendance

Mike Duffy, writing in the Detroit Free Press, makes this observation:  "For many people, blue Monday is merely the followup to blah Sunday."  Although it might be difficult to pin down one specific reason for this strange phenomenon, Mr. Duffy does single out a possible cause.  He says, "Sundays just aren't the same as they used to be.  And the change from a tightly structured day, focused on the family and religious observance, to a wide-open day of leisure and languor is what may be causing the anxiety attacks." 

Duffy then quotes Professor Jack Nachbar of Ohio's Bowling Green State University:  "It used to be that Sunday was devoted, in a religious sense, to a day of rest.  Family units were a lot closer. You'd go to church, visit relatives, have a big Sunday dinner, go on outings, and then go back to church." ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Love of God

Why do you go to church?  To meet your friends, to hear the preacher, to fulfill an obligation?  These reasons are not wrong, but they do not represent our highest motivation.  Our primary reason must be to worship Christ. Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century.  One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher.  King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?"  Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that Your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the King." ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Home Bible Studies

It is most significant that whenever spiritual awakenings have occurred throughout the Christian centuries, they have always been accompanied by a restoration of koinonia, of the confession of faults, and the bearing of one another’s burdens. During the Wesleyan awakening in eighteenth-century England, the great evangelist George Whitefield wrote to his converts:

“My brethren, let us plainly and freely tell one another what God has done for our souls. To this end, you would do well, as others have done, to form yourselves into little companies of four or five each, and meet once a week to tell each other what is in your heart; that you may then also pray for and comfort each other as need shall require. None but those who have experienced it can tell the unspeakable advantages of such a union and communion of souls. None, I think, that truly loves his own soul and his brethren as him self, will be shy of opening his heart, in order to have their advice, reproof, admonition and prayers, as occasions require. A sincere person will esteem it one of the greatest blessings. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

MEETINGS

A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done. 

Fred Allen.


A committee is a cul de sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled. 

Barnetta Cocks.

 

GATHERED TOGETHER.

The “ Gathered togethers” of Scripture are associated with the fellowship of God’s saints.

. Gathered together in sorrow (Luke 24:33).

. Gathered together for worship (Matt.18:20).

. Gathered together for discipline (1. Col.5:4).

. Gathered together for testimony (Acts 14:27).

. Gathered together in service (Ezra.3:1; Neh.8:1).

. Gathered together for prayer (11. Chron.20:4; Acts 12:12).

. Gathered together in glory (Psalm 50:5; 11. Thess.2:1).

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings

 
Our Public Assemblies
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. In our last study, we noted that being a Christian involves both
   BLESSINGS and RESPONSIBILITIES
 
2. One of the blessings as well as an important responsibility for the
   Christian is the practice of ASSEMBLING regularly with other
   Christians
   a. We have an example of Christians assembling in Ac 20:7
   b. We have an explicit command not to forsake our assembling
      together - He 10:25
 
3. The PURPOSE of our assembling is THREE-FOLD:
   a. To express praise and devotion to God and Christ
   b. To exhort and encourage our brethren to greater service
      - He 10:24-25
   c. To receive such encouragement ourselves
 
4. In this study, we shall:
   a. Briefly remark concerning the ACTIVITIES that we engage in during
      our assemblies
   b. See how every activity is designed to accomplish the three-fold
      purpose described above
   c. Suggest how we can get the most out of our public assemblies
 
I. THE ACTIVITIES OF OUR ASSEMBLIES
 
   A. PRAYER...
      1. We have several examples of group prayer in the early church
         - Ac 4:23-24; 12:5,12
      2. The value of such prayer is implied in Ja 5:16 (if such is
         true concerning the prayer of ONE righteous man, how much
         more the prayers of MANY righteous!)
      3. The value of all prayer is seen further in Ph 4:6-7
         a. Thus prayer not only blesses (praises) God
         b. But also blesses (benefits) those who pray!
      4. HINT:  To get the most out of public prayers, make them your 
         own!
         a. In your heart, tell the Lord you agree with what is being
            said by the one leading the prayer
         b. Don't hesitate to offer a hearty "AMEN" if you agree
 
   B. SINGING...
      1. Commands to sing can be found in Ep 5:19; Co 3:16; He 13:15
      2. Notice where the emphasis lies:
         a. On praising God
         b. On teaching one another
         c. On making melody "in your hearts"
      3. So the emphasis is not on how we sound, but on what we say and
         how we feel
         a. Therefore, pay more attention to the words rather than the
            melody
         b. Concentrate on engaging the mind and heart, and not just
            the mouth
      4. HINT:  To get more out singing in public, sing often in
         private! - Ja 5:13
 
   C. THE WORD OF GOD...
      1. Teaching or preaching of the Word of God was part of public
         worship in the early church - Ac 20:7
      2. For it is by the Word of God that we can grow spiritually 
         - 1 Pe 2:2
      3. How we listen to the proclamation of God's Word is an
         indication of our devotion to God
         a. We should be quick to hear what God's Word has to say 
            - Ja 1:18-19
         b. It is important to receive God's Word with a proper
            attitude of meekness and willingness to receive it 
            - Ja 1:21; Mk 4:23-25
      4. HINT:  As with singing, the more we study the Word in private,
         the more we get out of it in the public assemblies!
 
   D. THE LORD'S SUPPER...
      1. This is also called:
         a. The "breaking of bread" - Ac 2:42; 20:7
         b. "Communion" - 1 Co 10:16
      2. A memorial feast instituted by Jesus Himself - 1 Co 11:23-26
         a. In it we remember:
            1) The sinless body offered on the cross in our place
            2) The blood shed to provide forgiveness for our sins
         b. Done faithfully, we proclaim our faith in the efficacy of
            the Lord's death
      3. It should be done with all seriousness and appropriateness
         - 1 Co 11:27-29
         a. In a manner worthy of the One we are remembering
         b. A time also to reflect upon our relationship with Him who
            died for us
      4. Done properly...
         a. It honors Jesus ("This do, in remembrance of Me")
         b. It  renews us to greater faithfulness - 1 Co 11:28-32
         c. It strengthens our oneness in the body of Christ 
            - 1 Co 10:17
         d. We continually share in the "body and blood of the Lord"
            - 1 Co 10:16
            1) Not literally
            2) Perhaps referring to a continual communion with the
               benefits of that sacrifice (e.g., forgiveness)
      5. HINT:  Reading passages like Isaiah 53, Psalms 22, and the
         Gospel records of Christ's suffering and death while partaking
         of the Supper can help keep our minds focused on what we are
         doing
 
   E. THE COLLECTION...
      1. The early church is noteworthy for its love for one another
         - Ac 2:44,45; 4:32-35
      2. Such love went beyond those in the local congregation 
         - Ac 11:27-30
      3. In time, a systematic manner for providing for needy
         Christians was instituted - 1 Co 16:1-2
      4. The primary purpose of the collection, then, was to provide
         for needy Christians
         a. Locally and abroad
         b. Including those who devote their lives to preaching the
            gospel - 2 Co 11:8,9; Ph 4:10-18
      5. How much should one give?  The New Testament does not set a
         percentage (like the "tithe", or a tenth, found in the Old
         Testament), but rather instructs us to give according to the
         following principles:
         a. "As he may prosper" - 1 Co 16:2
         b. Whatever is given with "a willing mind" - 2 Co 8:12
         c. "According to what one has" - 2 Co 8:12-13
         d. "As he purposes (plans) in his heart" - 2 Co 9:7
         e. Whatever one can give "cheerfully", not "grudgingly" or
            "of necessity" - 2 Co 9:7
         f. Keeping in mind the principle of "sowing and reaping" 
            - 2 Co 9:6,8
      6. Even this activity fulfills the three-fold purpose mentioned
         at the beginning of our lesson:
         a. We are blessed in giving - Ac 20:35; 2 Co 9:11
         b. Brethren's needs are met - 2 Co 9:12a
         c. God is glorified - 2 Co 9:12-15
      7. HINT:  to help motivate us in giving, remember the examples
         of the churches in Macedonia and of the Lord Himself - 2 Co 8:
         1-9
 
II. HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF OUR ASSEMBLIES
 
   A. KEEP IN MIND WHO IS PRESENT...
      1. Our brethren in Christ
         a. People like you, who appreciate the presence and encourage-
            ment of other Christians
         b. So take the time to visit with them before and after the
            assembly
            1) Don't get into the habit of always coming in at the last
               minute
            2) Don't be in such a rush to leave after the service is 
               ended
      2. Frequently visitors
         a. Who naturally draw conclusions about the congregation
            during their visit
            1) Will they conclude we are really disciples of Jesus?
               - cf. Jn 13:35
            2) Will they say in their hearts "God is truly among you"?
               - cf. 1 Co 14:25
         b. So take the time to welcome them and visit with them 
            - He 13:2
      3. And especially our Lord
         a. As He promised in Mt 18:20
         b. Do we act as we would if He were bodily present?
 
   B. "YOU GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT"
      1. Preparation beforehand makes a big difference
         a. Such as praying and meditating upon what you are going to
            do
         b. Planning what you can do to make the assembly more edifying
            (such as welcoming and visiting)
         c. In other words, come to serve, not to be served (although
            you will blessed in return by doing it this way)
      2. The more you come, the more interest you show, the more (and
         faster) you will grow!
         a. This is true in any endeavor (e.g., physical exercise,
            hobbies)
         b. "How often do I have to come?" is an indication of grave
            spiritual immaturity!
            1) It displays a lack of true love for Christ and His
               brethren
            2) It shows that one is selfishly concerned with how little
               they can do to save themselves
            3) How does the love of God abide in such a person?
               - cf. 1 Jn 3:16-19
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Rather, our attitude ought to be like that expressed by David in 
   Ps 122:1
 
2. Neglecting the assemblies is detrimental to our spiritual growth as
   disciples of Christ
 
3. Do we express our love for God, our brethren, even our own selves as
   we should?
 
4. One of the greatest spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ in this
   life is the fellowship we share in our public assemblies... Let's all
   do our part to fully utilize that blessing!
 
SOME QUESTIONS TO STIMULATE YOUR THINKING...
 
1. Does one attend the assemblies to be entertained, or to serve?
 
2. Do you attend every assembly of the congregation where you are?
 
3. If not, are you praying to God to help you make it possible for you
   to do so?
 
4. What can you do before the assemblies to get more out of them?

 

--《Executable Outlines

 

"WHY ATTEND EVERY SERVICE?"
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. In my life as a Christian, I have noticed the following in every
   church...
   a. There are some Christians who attend every service of the church
      whenever possible
      1) They are present for Bible study on Sunday morning and 
         Wednesday evening
      2) They attend both Sunday morning and evening worship services
      3) When the church has a gospel meeting, they attend each service
      4) They frequently attend gospel meetings at other congregations
   b. There are other Christians whose attendance is infrequent
      1) They attend only once on Sunday, and that sporadically
      2) They do not participate in the Bible studies
      3) They are not present for most services during local gospel
         meetings
      4) As for attending a gospel meeting elsewhere...very unlikely
 
2. Why the difference?
   a. Why do some Christians attend every service, and others do not?
   b. Does it really make a difference?
 
3. I am of the conviction that it makes a very real difference!
   a. It makes a difference in the spiritual life of the Christian
   b. It makes a difference in the spiritual life of the congregation
 
[I wish to share with you some reasons why every Christian ought to
attend every service, unless hindered by illness or circumstances
beyond their control.  There are several reasons why many Christians
have chosen to attend as they do.  For example, we should attend every
service...]
 
I. TO FULFILL THE COMMANDS OF GOD
 
   A. THE COMMAND NOT TO FORSAKE OUR ASSEMBLING...
      1. This command is found in He 10:25
      2. It is warning against the complete abandonment of assembling
         with others
      3. While one may not have abandoned our assembling by attending
         only once a week...
         a. Forsaking that one assembly a week becomes a lot easier
            when you have been in the habit of forsaking many other
            assemblies!
         b. Those in the habit of attending every service are not
            likely to begin skipping services that can lead to stopping
            attending altogether!
 
   B. THE COMMAND TO EDIFY ONE ANOTHER...
      1. We have a responsibility to build up one another - Ro 14:19;
         15:1-3; He 3:12-14
      2. Simply our presence alone encourages others in attendance
      3. Can we really say that we are edifying others...
         a. When we are absent most of the time?
         b. When we attend so infrequently, we hardly know the other
            members?
         c. When we are not present to notice that others have stopped
            attending?
 
   C. THE COMMAND TO SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD...
      1. Jesus commands us to put the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33
         a. We all have priorities, we must simply put them in the
            right order
            1) Many Christians will not accept a job if it means
               missing services, and yet they find that God provides
               for their needs
            2) Many Christians will not play sports, or other
               extracurricular activities that conflict with their
               service to God
            -- It is one thing to miss because one provides critical
               services to others (such as medical needs), but to miss
               just to make money?
         b. Some stay home on Sunday because of aches and pains, but on
            Monday go to work, the grocery store, or the mall with the
            same aches and pains (???)
      2. Putting Christ first even before family - Mt 10:37-38; Lk 
         14:26
         a. Some stay home because of family visiting - is that putting
            Christ first?
         b. Who is our true family? - cf. Mt 12:46-50
 
[Can anyone say that they can faithfully keep such commands when they
consistently miss most of the services of the church?  Consider also
that we should attend every service...]
 
II. TO GROW AND DEVELOP SPIRITUALLY
 
   A. THE SERVICES ARE DESIGNED FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH...
      1. Hearing the sermons and attending the Bible classes helps one
         to grow and develop into a mature Christian - cf. He 5:12-14
      2. Even the songs are designed to teach as well as praise - Co
         3:16
      3. Prayer, the Lord's Supper, even the collection, are designed
         to bring us closer to God as well as to one another
 
   B. OUR GROWTH IS DEPENDENT UPON OUR DIET...
      1. One cannot grow as God intended on a starvation diet
      2. Those who attend irregularly eventually suffer from "spiritual
         malnutrition"
         a. Leaving them susceptible to temptation
         b. Rather than living strong, joyful, peaceful spiritual lives
 
[I have never known a person who chose to attend only one service a
week to be a strong, faithful Christian.  They were more like the chaff
than the rooted tree described in Psa 1:1-6. Another reason to attend
every service is...]
 
III. TO HELP THE CHURCH FUNCTION PROPERLY
 
   A. THE LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS WORKERS...
      1. The church is like a body, needing every individual part to do
         its share - Ep 4:15-16
      2. No one can say they're not needed, nor that they do not need
         others - 1 Co 12:12-19
      3. To function properly, a church needs both spiritual and
         physical service
         a. Such as leading songs, prayers, reading scripture, and
            preaching
         b. Such as teaching children and adult classes
         c. Such as ushering, preparing communion, cleaning the
            building
         d. Such as many things which take place outside the assembly:
            visiting the sick, helping the needy, teaching the lost,
            strengthening the weak
 
   B. THE CHURCH IS DEPENDENT UPON ITS MEMBERS...
      1. Members who attend infrequently rarely do little else for the
         church
      2. Do you want the church to grow?
         a. Do you want to see souls saved?
         b. Do you want to see the weak encouraged?
         c. Do you want to see our (your) children have good teachers?
      3. A church is no stronger than the collective strength of its
         members
         a. The church is like the links in a chain
         b. If there is a missing link in the chain, it can affect the
            entire chain
 
[Churches where the attendance drops on Sunday and Wednesday nights,
where the members do not attend gospel meetings, will never live up to
their potential in service to the Lord.  Do we want to have to give an
answer to the Lord for why we hindered His church?]
 
IV. TO PROVIDE A GOOD EXAMPLE AND INFLUENCE
 
   A. CHRISTIANS ARE TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE...
      1. For one another - 1 Ti 4:12; Ti 2:7-8
      2. For those in the world - Mt 5:14-16; Ph 2:15
 
   B. FAITHFUL ATTENDANCE IS ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD INFLUENCE...
      1. It sets a good example for babes in Christ, the spiritually
         weak, visitors, and our own children!
         a. You may think you can survive on one service a week
         b. But what of those who need encouragement, and they notice
            you missing?
      2. It influences our friends, relatives, and neighbors - cf. 1 Pe
         2:12
         a. They admire your conviction and devotion to the Lord
         b. They may begin to wonder what it is that makes you so
            devoted to the church
      3. It is provides great support to the elders, preacher, and
         other Christians
         a. Your presence alone is a source of great encouragement
         b. Your absence creates anxiety for anyone concerned for your
            spiritual welfare
 
[We cannot escape being an influence to others.  Will our influence be
good or poor?  Here is yet another reason to attend every service when
possible...]
 
V. TO BE READY, WATCHING AND WAITING
 
   A. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ARE TO BE PREPARED...
      1. Jesus warned against getting caught off guard - Mt 24:44;
         25:13; Mk 13:33-37
      2. Paul taught the need to be prepared - 1 Th 5:1-11
      3. It is part of enduring to the end - Mt 10:22; 24:12-13
      4. It is part of making the best use of our time - Ep 5:16
 
   B. ATTENDING EVERY SERVICE CONTRIBUTES TO OUR PREPARATION...
      1. As we sing songs about the Lord's coming
      2. As we study the Scriptures that promise His return
      -- What if the Lord came Sunday or Wednesday night, and you were
         staying home out of convenience rather than assembled with the
         brethren?
 
[Can we say that we are ready, watching, and waiting for the Lord, when
we willfully miss many of the opportunities to be with His disciples?
Finally, consider another reason to attend every service...]
 
VI. TO HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE
 
   A. A GOOD CONSCIENCE IS IMPORTANT...
      1. Jesus died to purify our conscience - He 9:14
      2. We were baptized, as an appeal for a good conscience - 1 Pe 
         3:21
      3. We are to have faith and a good conscience - 1 Ti 1:19
      4. The goal of our teaching is to have a good conscience - 1 Ti
         1:5
      -- And so disciples like Paul sought to serve God with a good
         conscience - Ac 24:16
 
   B. MISSING SERVICES CONTRIBUTES TO A GUILTY CONSCIENCE...
      1. When you miss, not because of illness or some other 
         circumstance beyond your control, you feel guilty
         a. Because you know where you should be
         b. You really don't need a lesson like this...common sense
            tells you that you would be better off assembling with the
            Lord's people
      2. A guilty conscience soon leads to a hardened conscience
         a. A conscience that becomes "seared", so that it no longer
            functions properly - e.g., 1 Ti 4:2
         b. Once your conscience is hardened regarding attendance, it
            is more likely to become hardened against doing what is
            right in other areas
      3. Could you say what the writer of Hebrews did? - He 13:18
         a. "...for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in
            all things desiring to live honorably"
         b. If we make it a habit not to attend all the services of the
            church, can we really say "we have a good conscience, in
            all things desiring to live honorably"?
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Why attend every service?  The faithful and fruitful child of God
   attends...
   a. To fulfill the commands of God
   b. To grow and develop spiritually
   c. To help the church function properly
   d. To provide a good example and influence
   e. To be ready, watching and waiting
   f. To have a clear conscience
 
2. For such reasons (and many others), the faithful child of God will
   the same attitude expressed by the sweet singer of Israel:
 
      "I was glad when they said to me, `Let us go into the house
      of the LORD.'" (Psa 122:1)
 
Is that your attitude?  In redeeming what time you have left (Ep 5:16),
may you use as much of it as possible in service to the Lord and His
people!

 

--《Executable Outlines