I heard a man make a comment one time that he did not understand why some people felt that they had to attend church more than once a week on Sunday morning. I believe he saw Sunday evening services as an alternate for Sunday morning worship for those that were not able to attend the morning service. This man made the comment on Easter Sunday during the holiday dinner in response to his wife expressing that she wanted to return to church that evening for the night service. She had already been to the morning service. It’s probably no great surprise that this man was not a Christian. I was troubled by his comments and so I decided to write an article that attempts to answer this man’s question about why attending church once per week is not enough.
First of all I feel it is necessary to state that as hard as I may try to explain this, many of the people who feel the way this man does and are lost, will still not completely understand it even after they read this. This not because they are not intelligent enough to grasp it, but is because it is largely a case of spiritual discernment and a matter of the heart more than a matter of reason or logic. In other words in plain East Tennessee language, you can not completely understand how I feel until you get what I got. This is why no amount of explaining can make a lost person with a carnal understand spiritual things, yet I will try to at least provide an explanation here that will hopefully give some at least a better understanding than they may have had before.
I believe the first thing to be clarified is that to the committed and dedicated Christian, attending church is not a chore, but it is a joyful privilege. We actually enjoy attending church. More significantly however, is that we NEED to attend church as much as possible. I imagine this is the part that this man does not understand. He may say, “O.K. I get that you enjoy church, but why exactly do you NEED to attend church more than once per week?” This is also the most difficult part to explain to someone who has not experienced salvation. I will try.
When a Christian is first saved, he/she is an infant, spiritually speaking, just as someone born into this world is an infant at birth. Just has a person born into this world needs to grow and to learn in order to function and eventually become a productive and contributing member of the human race, the Christian needs to grow spiritually in order to become the servant that God wants us to be. There are several ways in which a Christian grows such as bible study, being witnessed and taught by older, more experienced Christians, life experiences, and church attendance.
The person may then ask, “But why can’t you get all the church you need in one attendance per week?” Well, we need to grow fast! No matter in which way we serve the Lord, at the very core of our service is the common objective of seeing lost souls saved. Every day, people are dying lost and because they had not accepted Jesus as their savior, they are going to Hell. So you see, there is a sense of urgency in beginning to serve our Lord as soon as possible after we are saved and to serve Him well. We can not do this until we have reached a level of spiritual growth that enables us to serve him. As Christians we are all called to be a witness for our Lord. We are commissioned to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ for the purpose of winning souls to Christ. However, we can not teach what we do not know; we can not give what we do not have.
The question may then be asked, “But after you learn it all, why, then is it necessary to attend church so often? Don’t you reach a point where you’re just being exposed to the same lessons over and over and therefore you are not really benefiting from it?” No. We never stop learning or growing. The depths of God’s word is such that we can study the same passages and hear the same sermons over and over and yet each time gain something from it that we hat not received before.
So far all of the points made for attending church as much as possible has been focused on gaining knowledge so that we can serve God effectively and faithfully fulfill our commission to be a witnessed to lost. Another reason we need all the church we can get is for the strength and comfort we find in coming together with our Christian brothers and sisters in worship. Life is not always a bed of roses for the Christian. Sure, it’s true that life is not always a bed of roses for anyone, but the Christian does face some trials and tribulations that others do not face. Don’t misunderstand, we wouldn’t trade places with a non Christian for all the treasures in the world, and we are a happy people. Still, the Christian is often persecuted in this day. Here in America our persecution is mild compared to how Christians are treated in other parts of the world. However Christians in this country are often ridiculed, mocked, discriminated against, insulted, and scoffed. Through attending church we find the strength to endure all things and continue to faithfully serve our Lord. I can not explain how we find comfort, strength, and encouragement from worship, we just do. You’ll have to experience it for your self because it is a “Holy Spirit” thing and only the born again Christian has the Holy spirit dwelling inside him. That may sound like a bunch of nonsense to a lost man, but it is one of the bible’s most prominent teachings.
Another reason the dedicated Christian desires to attend church all that he can is that he loves the Lord with all his heart. We express this love partially and very significantly by attending church and worshiping Him. Our greatest desire is that God will find favor in us. God is the most important thing in our lives. He is more important to us than money, worldly possessions, and even our families. Why do we love him so much? Because He first loved us. He loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us so that we would not have to go to that place of torment called Hell and ultimately be cast into the lake of fire to burn and suffer for all eternity. More than being delivered from Hell, we have gained a place in His kingdom (Heaven) where we will know joy, peace and happiness to a degree that we can not comprehend this side eof eternity. Our salvation did not cost us one penny, but it cost Heaven the best it had to offer. It cost Jesus his life.
Imagine being in a burning building with no escape. Death seems inevitable. As the heat grows more intense your mind is filled with horror not only of dying, but by dying such an agonizing death. Then a man shows up with a rope and throws one end out the window. Only one can be saved. The other must remain in the building to hold the rope while the other man climbs down. One man must sacrifice himself for the other. This man ties the rope around his waist and you climb down the side of the building to safety. The man holding the rope for you dies in the fire. To drive the point even deeper consider that you were purposely thrown into this burning building as a punishment for crimes for which you were guilty and the man who saved you was completely innocent, having never committed even the smallest crime. He saved you because he loved you.
Jesus did no less for us. Those who accept Him as their savior have been delivered from the fire at the expense of our Lord His life. This analogy may get the attention of a lost person and yield a certain level of appreciation for what Jesus did for us, but until a person takes the end of that rope, until that person is delivered from the fire, until that person has been saved, he will not appreciate it to it’s fullest. Thee is a difference in simply hearing or reading a story and being a part of it.
I’ll end this piece the same way I started it…
Attending church is not a chore, it is a cherished privilege.
I hope this article sheds some light on why the dedicated Christian desires and needs to attend church more than once per week for those who wonder why.