Our family friend, David Price, commented on a recent post I wrote concerning those who dismiss the importance of being a part of a local church. David is a source of encouragement and edification in my own life and I so appreciated his response that I asked his permission to post it as this weekend’s post on church involvement. Those of you who know me understand that this is not a legalistic issue in my mind. Being a part of a local church and attending on appointed days of gathering has more to do with love than judicial expectation. David shares his thoughts on how the forsaking of participation might also be considered as a form of robbery. Great thoughts from across the pond from David Price, elder at Cheltenham Evangelical Free Church in England! – Jeff
I think staying away from church could also be considered as robbery …
Yes of course there can be times & seasons & emergencies when we just can’t get there; and yes of course we can treat the whole “must be there” attitude as legalism (pleasing men & hoping to please God along the way).
But when we COULD be there – and deliberately choose NOT to – then we should at least try and be honest in our actions, and confront ourselves with what the action implies. “I have other priorities, other desires; worshiping God, meeting with the people of God & being taught from the word of God just isn’t that important to me”.
As a result :
- We rob God of His moral uprightness, by showing by our actions that we think His commandments are wrong (or at least questionable, or due for an update for the 21st century)
- We rob God of His rule in our lives by saying we will not obey what He says
- We rob God of the delight He should enjoy in seeing all the “One anothers” of the New Testament being worked out in practice
- We rob God of the honor due to Him by putting other things first – which dethrones Him from first place in our lives
- We rob God of our contribution to the worship of the gathered flock
- We rob the church of our contribution to the worship of God
- We rob the church of our contribution to the life of the church, where each individually-gifted and individually-fashioned and each individually-placed member of the church has a part to play (see I Cor 12)
- We rob the church of our contribution to the mutual edification and exhortation and comfort that we need to be there to offer
- We rob ourselves of the opportunity to worship and be uplifted by the worship of the gathered church
- We rob ourselves of the opportunity to share in COMMUNION (i.e. sharing with others) around the Lord’s table
- We rob ourselves of the opportunity to love, and be loved by, those who would be our brothers & sisters, and to develop bonds of fellowship with them so we can help them and they can help us
- We rob ourselves of the opportunity to turn aside from all the pressures and problems and distractions of everyday, and to be reminded that we are just passing through this world on the way to glory
- We rob ourselves of the opportunity to be fed and encouraged and exhorted from the word of God by men whom God has gifted and provided for our help
- And yes I will mention Malachi 3:8 in passing!
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