I have not been in college ministry a very long time (almost 3 years), but I have been in it long enough to know that church attendance begins to dissipate as students begin to inch closer and closer towards the end of the spring semester. (Just as a side note….I do not think this is a problem just for college students. We, by nature, start strong and finish poorly).
My desire in this blog post is to convince you of five reasons why you should maintain faithfully attending church as you see summer on the horizon.
To Behold the Glory of Christ
Christ says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14). Now, it is apparent that Christ is speaking about his crucifixion within this verse. However, what is important to understand is that he is not merely talking about the actual event of his crucifixion. Not many people were looking at Christ’s actual crucifixion and receiving eternal life. Thus, Christ’s statement must go beyond that! It must go beyond the event of his actual crucifixion to something that is happening even today, for today, people are still looking to Christ crucified and receiving eternal life.
And I would argue that Christ is speaking about the ministry of the word of God. It is the preaching and teaching ministry of the word that is revealing Christ crucified. Paul tells the Galatians, who did not see the actual crucifixion of Christ, “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? It was before your very eyes that Jesus was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1). Also, he tells Titus that the eternal life that is in Christ Jesus was manifested through the preaching of the word (Titus 1:2-3).
There is a revealing of Christ crucified through the faithful teaching and preaching of the word. This is one reason why faithfully and consistently sitting under the word of God is so important. Week in and week out, you are beholding Christ. This serves to strengthen your faith. And, if you want to prove this through a litmus test, simply go ask somebody that has neglected attending church for a while how their faith is holding up. And if they say it is good, then stay around them long enough to see the falsity of their statement be manifested.
To Hear the Word of the Lord
Preaching, if it is done faithfully and in accordance with the biblical text, carries great authority. As the preacher draws out the meaning of the text, he is drawing out the very word of God (1 Thess. 2:13). Thus, to sit under faithful preaching is to sit under the word of the Lord. This is something that every Christian needs to consistently hear. This is the Christian’s food and drink. This is what is going to nourish and strengthen them in their walk with Christ. So, to consistently attend church presents you with the opportunity to consistently hear what the God of heaven and earth has said and is saying through His written Word. However, to neglect church is to willingly separate yourself from hearing the word of the Lord.
To Bear Other’s Burdens
Much of the Christian life is lived out glorifying God by sacrificially bearing the burdens of others. We do this out of love for God and love for neighbor. This is how we actually fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). We are to be a people that see other brothers and sisters in Christ bearing burdens that are so heavy that they cannot bear themselves-such as financial burdens, health burdens, burdens brought about by other’s sins, burdens brought about by our own sin-and then gladly die to ourselves, and place some of their burdens upon our own shoulders for the glory of God and the sake of Christ. This type of burden bearing is nearly impossible when you forsake the local church.
Satan’s Assault is Continuous
Satan is a thief that comes to steal, kill, deceive, accuse, and destroy. He is relentless in his opposition to both God and man. As soon as Adam and Eve were in the garden, Satan is on the scene with his wicked weapons in hand. As soon as Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain, he rears his ugly head. As soon as Israel began to multiply in Egypt, he was present in the wicked Pharaoh. As soon as Christ Jesus was born of a virgin, he was there as a dragon ready to devour Him! He is driven by pride, greed, envy, jealousy, selfish ambition, and hatred. His desire is to utterly destroy you. He wants your physical life and your spiritual life, and he will not rest until he has them!
Church is like an embassy in a foreign land for a citizen of the kingdom of God. When we are faithfully engaging in the life of the church, we are safe from the ancient enemy of our souls! To put it in a little perspective, when Paul tells the Corinthians to exercise church discipline on a brother who has lapsed into heinous sin, he tells them to expel the brother from the church, and to hand him over to Satan! So, to be separated from the local church is to be handed over to Satan. Thus, when you willfully neglect church, you are, in a since, allowing yourself to roam in Satan’s evil lair. Why in the world would anybody want to do that?
You Reap What You Sow
The Bible consistently teaches that you will reap what you sow. So, in an agricultural since, if you sow wheat then you will reap wheat. But the Scripture takes this beyond the simple agricultural meaning to a spiritual meaning. Paul says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8). Proverbs says, “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity” (Proverbs 22:8). This is a general principle that rears its head constantly throughout the Bible and we can be certain that it rears its head today as well.
To sow to the Spirit will lead to eternal life, but to sow to the flesh will lead to eternal death. To sow to the Spirit will lead to a harvest of righteousness, but to sow to the flesh will lead to a harvest of unrighteousness. When you willfully forsake assembling with other Christians due to idleness, sluggishness, laziness, unrepentant sin, etc., then you are sowing to the flesh. And before long, if the general principle proves true, you will reap unrighteousness and ungodliness.
So those are five brief reasons why you should persevere in attending church as your spring semester begins to get hectic, you see summer on the horizon, and you are absolutely worn out. With that said, persevere!