What do we miss when we miss church?
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” Heb. 10:25, is clearly a warning against apostasy, as is 1John 2:19, ( They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.) No child of God will be able to remain detached from the body of Christ. Their estrangement from the world, their genuine love for the brethren, and their hunger for the gospel, causes them to long for the fellowship of God’s people. However, a believer can become slovenly in their attitude toward the assembly of the saints in public worship. A warning against this carelessness is in order.
First, each of us needs to remember our responsibility to the rest of the body. What a discouragement it is to pray, plan, and prepare for public worship only to have members of the body conspicuously absent. Each member of the body feels less than whole when the body is not complete. Let us take seriously our responsibility to one another to be an example, “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1Tim.4:12)
Second, and perhaps the most devastating result of missing public worship is, Who me miss and the unbelief that it causes. The Bible does not tell us what Thomas was doing or where he was when The Lord appeared to the other disciples. All we know is that he was not there. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” Because he was not there when Jesus came to them, Thomas demanded proof and declared his unbelief. But he said unto them, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25) Oh, don’t you know how Thomas regretted not being there. Being GOd, the Lord Jesus is omnipresent. However, He is very particular about where He has promised to manifest His glory and His grace. Public worship is one of those places he has promised to come and be known in a special way. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” We are sad to say that under the best of circumstances we are all plagued with the temptation of unbelief. To miss public worship when we could have been there, is to aggravate that which needs to be mortified. Next time you are tempted to be careless about public worship, remember Who has promised to be there. The Lord gave us Thomas as an example NOT to follow.