Why has church attendance become considered an option.
Our Christian culture reflects our society’s culture to “do what’s right for me.” Our sinful nature has a way of rationalizing, justifying, and excusing our selfish choices so we can please ourselves. We like what we consider loopholes.
We know that our faith and our salvation are not a legalistic rules-keeping relationship with our God. But belief and behavior are tied together and are central to our salvation. There are commands, so there are expectations of obedience.
Do we remember that the Ten Commandments did not begin with a command? The opening line was: “And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 20:1-2). God defines his relationship with the nation of Israel before telling the nation what he required. His command based on that relationship was “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). God asked the nation to look to him as their ultimate authority.
From the very beginning, God adopted the family model. The people of Israel were his children. God had expectations of his children because they belonged to him. He was their Father.
Expectations always assume a relationship, and relationship precedes the expectations in a family model. The church is the family of God. So rather than talk about obeying the expectations, shouldn’t we talk about respect and loving submission to the will of the Head of the family?
“Submission is not about authority . . . it is all about relationships of love and respect.” William Paul Young
If the church were a club, it would have rules about the importance and necessity of attending the meetings. But the church is much more important than a club. It is the family of God. Nevertheless, we may be thinking, “We’re family, so even if we miss a “meeting,” we’re still family, so we won’t get kicked out because we miss a meeting every now and then.”
No, you won’t. This is true. But we do need to consider whether our reasons for not attending “the family gathering” are justifiable in the Father’s eyes. Granted that there are justifiable reasons for not attending now and then, and there is probably nothing inherently wrong in where we choose to go or what we choose to do. But if we are honest, we often let involvement in and attendance at worldly events, sports, entertainment, and many other things take precedence over our involvement and attendance in church related functions and services.
The reasons for the choices we make as to where we go and what we choose to do instead of attending church may reveal:
· the weakness of our commitment to our Father, the church, and the mission of the church.
· whether what we have chosen to do rather than attending church is really more important or of greater eternal value
· whether our heart finds what we have chosen to do more enjoyable or more profitable than worship, learning more of God’s Word, the spiritual blessing of partaking of the Lord’s Supper
· what i