Oct 18, 2005

When It's Right To "Forsake The Assembly"

When Sunday morning rolls around many Christians do all the necessary chores associated with making the "church assembly" on time. Some will be disappointed because they are missing their favorite NFL team, others a company picnic, etc., but how often do we attend services when we really shouldn't?
"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." (Heb. 10:25, ESV)
When "forsaking the assembly" just might be appropriate:

When my neighbor is on the side of the road in the ditch (whether proverbial, or actually) and needing help; to ignore him and drive past in a mad rush to the "church building" would be wrong.

When my friend/neighbor is sick and needs my immediate attention. Leaving a person who is sick to fend for himself when he really needs my help is wrong, and does not reflect a Christ-like attitude.

When I have a contagious disease that might put my brothers and sisters (especially little children and the elderly) at risk.

If I only attend the Sunday morning assembly in order to improve my social, or business status among the members.

When I attend to show off my new duds, or to impress you with my new automobile. Pretty much in line with the previous reason.

When I attend with a divisive attitude, not caring about the unity of the church, but rather my own agenda, I harm the church and should stay home.

If I attend just to get a hand-out, or other financial support.

While a few of these reasons may not seem reasonable to some Christians, I have a hard time picturing Jesus on his way to the "church services" and ignoring a person in dire need stranded in a ditch. I'm even having a hard time picturing Jesus with the flu assembling with all the little children and elderly who may become infected because of His attendance.

Perhaps you can come up with other reasons that are scriptural, or just make good common sense why we should forsake the assembly. I'm not trying to finagle ways to get out of attending the Sunday morning services, but I know of people who have actually felt compelled to "go to church" when the Christian response should have been to help their neighbor at that exact time.

Personally I had rather face God for missing a "church assembly" than for missing an opportunity to serve my neighbor when they are in need; even if it happens to be on a Sunday morning!


LEM'S Politics said...

you are right you can worship the Lord while taking care of a sick friend, but you can't take care of a sick friend while at church.

Larry said...

Unfortunately I know of occasions where members ignored the needs of a neighbor so they would not miss the "assembly of the Saints."

While I think the Sunday morning assembly is what the Lord requires of us, it seems to me that just a little common sense needs to be mixed in the equation.

iggy said...

I know a guy who beleived it was wrong wrong wrong to miss church at any time...
Then God told him to go to a professional ball game with an unsaved friend. He finally agreed to go with his friend and had a lot of guilt... After the game his friend began to talk about that he was thinking about God. Soon the converstion moved to my friend leading this person to Christ.

When my friend tells this story he now says that no matter were we are and who we are with we are representing God. Not a Church. He is convinced that if he had not gone to the ball game that day, he would not have had a chance to talk to his friend about Jesus.

My friend is not anti-Church... he is a pastor, who has a radio show that teaches grace.

He now teaches that we should not be so strick on our rules, but rather be sensitive to the Spirit as to where se should go.

This is not forsaking the assembly. The saddest thing to me is that I have been to many church services that the congrgation have forsaken the assembly in exchange for as psuedo assembly if religous selfishness. They go to church and know no one.

We are called to do what is "good" not be religious.


Larry said...

Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate your insight and attitude.

One can assemble at every appointed time for his entire life, yet if he has no love in his heart he is just wasting time.

Too many feel that as long as they "go to church" on Sunday morning they are fulfilling their roles as a Christian. If I possess an unloving and uncaring attitude towards others during the rest of the week, I doubt my time spent on Sunday morning with the Saints is acceptable worship.

We don't have to be in the "church building" to worship God; worshipping God is something we should be doing every day.

jettybetty said...

You have some excellent points here--

At our house we love to *go to church*, but occasionally we decide God's plan is for us to BE church, not go to church!

Larry said...

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matt. 18:20 ESV)

It's really hard NOT to be "in church" according to the above verse. I have the sneaking suspicion that many Christians don't feel like they have worshipped God on Sunday unless they enter into a "church building."

Hoots Musings said...

If I am tired or stressed out, I will bow out of Wednesday nights because I am spent.

I believe rest and recovery of mind, body and spirit are important to God and I do not think He is keeping score.

This post reminds me of a joke. There is a long line in Heaven of souls waiting to stand before God. A loud cheer is heard at the front of the line. Quickly the news spread down the line, it was: Wednesday nights don't count!"

Larry said...

A COC preacher I know teaches that if the doors of the building are open it is your Christian duty to be there. No excuses for missing any gathering, whether a worship service, or a monthly singing extravaganza.

I asked him if it was a Christians responsibility to attend both worship services on Sunday morning if the church had two services; never got an answer!

This church was very "clicky," if you attended all the services you associated with the elders and the preacher; if you only attended once a week you was a weak Christian, and did not fit in with the group.

Hoots Musings said...

Why are churches so clicky?
We are fairly new at our church.
We went to eat at a local fast food place Wed. night. We saw 2 couples already there in line ahead of us. We spoke politely.
The worship leader came in with his wife, and he thanked us for running the board and the worship program. We got our food and sat down.

The other two couples were seated and never invited us to sit with them. They got up and moved to a place where all three couples could sit and never invited us.

It bugs me, we are all part of the body, why do we treat one another this way? I decided to shrug it off and be nicer to people, more so than I already am.