What are we interested in having taught from our pulpits and in our classes? Many of the churches of men have long since abandoned preaching a “thus saith the Lord” to their members. The “positive mental attitude” approach of the modern denominationalist has won the day among the preachers of men. Sadly, it is having its impact upon gospel preachers, too. We must ever realize that man must live by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4). And, we must continue to preach the living word today as it was by the apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus (I Peter 1: 22-25).
We need gospel preaching. It is the power of God to save the soul (Romans 1: 16). Through a knowledge of the gospel we have “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1: 3). Why should gospel preachers desire to preach anything else (II Tim. 4: 2-5) (I Corinthians 2: 2)? What makes a “good sermon” anyway? Is it cute illustrations or the entertaining manner of its presentation? Or, is it good because it contains a scriptural message anchored in sound Biblical support and reasoning (Acts 26:24-25)? Gospel preachers are not entertainers. We are not after dinner speakers (I Corinthians 2: 1-5) (I Thessalonians 2: 3-8). Preachers (and everyone else) need to remember the difference!
We need gospel learning. Unless the gospel is preached we cannot learn it. When the gospel is preached, we must be diligent to learn it and live it. Like Cornelius and his guests, we should long “to hear all the things commanded” by God -- not the quips and flattery of men (Acts 10: 33).
We should want to increase in our learning of God's word (II Peter 3: 18). Some want only the milk of the word. Milk is good and necessary, but a diet consisting only of milk (first principles of the gospel) will not help us mature. We also need the meat of the word that we may discern good and evil and thus press on unto perfection (Hebrews 5: 12-6: 3). We need gospel living. Learning the gospel will not help us unless we live it. Jesus taught us this (Matthew 7: 21) (Luke 8: 15). Early Christians were exhorted to “continue in the faith” (Acts 14: 22). We need the same exhortation. Without gospel preaching, gospel learning and gospel living will be impossible (Romans 10: 13-17).
All Christians should be very concerned about what pleases the Lord. With the prophet, Micah, we should ask, “... will Jehovah be pleased...?” (Micah 6:7) Like Paul, our highest priority should be to seek and obtain the Lord's favor. (Gal. 1:10) In the judgment, those who have found favor in the eyes of the Lord will be invited to dwell eternally with Him (Mt. 25:21,34). Surely, we want to be in that number!
I know of some “churches of Christ” that have decided to abolish Sunday evening worship service. I know that God has not commanded His children to assemble more than once on the first day of the week. However, I am deeply concerned about the thinking of God's children that would cause them to decide that the Sunday evening worship service should be abolished. What reason would justify such a decision? How could our choosing to worship our Creator less, be pleasing to Him? How could such a decision strengthen our faith and make us better servants of His? Are we really seeking “...first His kingdom, and His righteousness” when we choose not to assemble again on the Lord's day?
Would the fact that some brethren live some distance from the church building justify such a decision? Usually, some brethren live a few miles away, and some, many miles away; however, it is not uncommon for people to drive 25 miles, or more, to work and back home each working day. Is God pleased when we are willing to put forth a greater effort to earn money than to worship Him? “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…”. (I Tim. 6:9,10) The love of God is the root of all kinds of good! Do Christians love God with all their hearts when they choose to worship Him LESS? (Mt. 22:37)
Would the fact that it is an inconvenience to get dressed up again, travel to the church building, and worship for an hour, justify such a decision? King Jeroboam told the Jews, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem…” (I Kg. 12:28) He set up a golden calf for them to worship in Bethel and in Dan. (I Kg. 12:29) Among other things, Jeroboam's false system of worship was a worship of convenience. God's children, in the kingdom of Israel, foolishly embraced Jeroboam's unholy and destructive way of worship. Some of God's children today are deceiving themselves into believing that all is well with their souls, while only worshiping Him when it is CONVENIENT for them to do so. Was it convenient for Jesus to put on a body of flesh, incur the wrath of the Jews, and die on the old rugged cross? Are you willing to deny yourself? (Mt. 16:24)
Would the fact that the preacher is “long-winded” and boring justify such a decision? Perhaps the sermon would not seem so long and boring if the worshipers were worshiping “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24) The Father wants true worshipers. (Jn. 4:23) These are the ones who enjoy worshiping Him from the heart in accordance with what His Word teaches. (Ps. 122:1) True worshipers are the ones the Father will want to worship Him eternally. Can you imagine some saint in heaven seeking to find a way to cut back on the praise being offered to the Most High? Do you think that if you find the worship of the Redeemer to be a burdensome duty that you would truly enjoy eternal worship?
Would the fact that so many Christians choose to forsake the Sunday evening worship assembly justify such a decision? (emphasis jlc) It is true that the Sunday evening attendance is not as high as Sunday morning attendance in many local churches. Should the faithful few decide to join those who neglect the Sunday evening worship? Should the faithful few grow weary of contending with the spiritually weak? Will the spiritually weak brother, or sister, be strengthened in the faith if the Sunday evening service is discontinued?
Let us appreciate, and take advantage of, this wonderful freedom we have of assembling to worship our Lord. It is not inconceivable that this freedom could be taken away from us. I cannot think of one justifiable reason for the church to dispense with the Sunday evening assembly when the church could assemble if they choose. Is there one? Brethren, we are drifting!