It is Better to Die Than to Skip Church
It is Better to Die Than to Skip Church
by Jordan Standridge (copied article)
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING WITH DISCERNMENT, INCLUSION OF THE FOLLOWING DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN ENDORSEMENT OF THEIR WEB SITE, OTHER WRITINGS, AND THEIR ASSOCIATIONS. I HAVE INCLUDED THIS, BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT THEY MIGHT BE USEFUL OR ENCOURAGING TO YOU.
I can’t remember the last time I missed church. In fact, I don’t know if there ever has been a Sunday that I missed church unless I can’t remember a time that I was traveling or sick. I’m not patting myself on the back as I say this, I’m just telling you that I can’t remember ever missing church, that is until this coronavirus pandemic.
I didn’t go to church for a few weeks in a row. During this time my grandfather died. I went to the hospital with kidney stones. I had a difficult bout with asthma. I was raising support to leave as a missionary. I had some other difficult issues. All in all, it was probably one of the most intense few months of my life. And I didn’t have the Sunday gathering. Thankfully, I was prepared for this, the Lord was kind to give me an incredible wife and great friends that were a huge encouragement, but I will tell you that it was not easy. I’m sure that many of you felt the same.
If there’s anything that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, it is that gathering with believers is essential. It’s essential for society. It’s essential for the church’s health. It is essential for my soul’s health.
Hebrews 10 has always been the go-to passage when it comes to church attendance. And while we love to tell the guy who skips churching in order to watch football not to neglect the gathering, I wonder if we ever considered this question: why were the early saints tempted to skip church? I mean some of them had seen the resurrected Jesus. If they hadn’t, most had met someone who had!
While it is surprising to hear of their struggle, I think we can find the answer in the very context of the passage itself.
After declaring the priority of the gathering and admonishing the church to stop skipping, the writer of Hebrews goes on to explain his concern for those who sin willfully and, in this context, those who sin willfully by refusing to attend church. He is concerned for their souls. He says that those who make it a habit of sinning should be worried about the state of their soul. If you know something is sin and have no problem doing it, then the writer of Hebrews says you should be concerned.
But then he says something pretty fascinating. He reminds them about what they faced when they gathered together at church. The persecution they endured is far greater than missing out on a football game or a day at the lake house. Their troubles were serious. Look at Hebrew 10:32-36,
“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
What an incredible paragraph!
It’s a whole different ballgame when going to church might result in losing your home, being beaten or even killed. And yet, astonishingly, Paul looks them straight in the eye, so as to speak, and tells them that if they have to choose between their life and going to church, that they choose going to church every single time!
I think that this forced church closure has been an opportunity for us to consider just how essential the church is. I’m not talking about essential in a political kind of way, or even a societal one. I’m talking about how essential it is for my soul and yours.
The world is an absolute mess. I pray you see that. All week most Christians spend time in this world, and by necessity, must contribute to society by working and spending time in the world, but what we see all around us is tragic. This pandemic has shown us that many in the world, despite the clear signs as to how foolish it is, seek refuge in money, politics, and so many other feeble powers, neglecting the Creator of all things.
Christians need to see Sunday as the greatest moment of their week. The church is an oasis for the soul in which the believers around the world long to gather together to be refreshed by serving one another and by sitting under the preaching of His word.
It is imperative that the believer understands and longs for Sunday in such a way that they declare that they would rather die than skip church.
Do you feel that way?
I know that there’s a lot of debates right now about churches and their submission to government orders and regarding whether meeting is essential or not, but can we simply put those arguments aside and agree with this simple point, that it is better to die than to skip church?
Obviously, it is better to skip church if by going you will threaten the health of others around you; in other words, stay home if you’re sick. But I think that all Christians can, or better yet should, agree with the sentiment expressed by D.L. Moody when he said,
“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”
I’m not trying to fix any problems with this post, or win any debate, I am simply reminding all of us, that as the Lord tarries that we are called to do two things: to evangelize the unsaved and to encourage the saved. And if either of those things are taken away from us, then we might as well go to Heaven, for it is far better to be with Christ.
More in Pastor's Blog
August 19, 2020It is Better to Die Than to Skip Church
July 14, 2020What Don Lemon’s Declaration about Jesus’ Sinfulness Actually Reveals (copied)
July 14, 2020July 12th, 2020, MRBC Morning Worship Service