What Happens When You Forsake the Assembly
There are acceptable reasons a person might miss their local worship service, such as illness, emergency, or vacation. But, many are absent from worship intentionally. They choose to not go. Lest any of you fall into that habit, consider what happens when you deliberately forsake the assembly.
1) Your seat is empty. No voice comes from it in songs of praise, no head is lowered in prayer, and no encouraging smile graces those near it.
2) Your contribution is missed. The church will have to meet its obligations without your help. Most who "make up" their contributions are ones who are not gone by choice.
3) Your good example is lost on those who may be visiting because of your invitation. They wonder if you were insincere, or if God is unimportant to you.
4) Members will worry that you are sick (until your absences become a habit). They will take time that could be spent doing important things checking on you. Your answer for your absence will discourage them. Eventually they will stop checking on you, even if you become ill or have other trouble.
5) You will know nothing of what is happening. Members have been hospitalized, in financial need, or have even passed away while the forsakers went about their daily routines utterly unaware. (I've known some who found out about a death in the church FOUR MONTHS after the funeral.)
6) You cannot be counted on to participate in church programs or worship services. Once you've "been replaced" at the last minute for the umpteenth time we will stop asking you.
7) You lose track of time. Absences multiply while you think, "It hasn't been that long since I was there." One person told me it hadn't been very long since he attended his church's worship, while in fact the preacher he thought was there had been replaced and that preacher had left and a 3rd one had been hired!
8) Your children will decide that church is not necessary and will resent and resist it when you suggest that "we get back to going to church." They will have already replaced it in their schedules as well as their hearts.
9) Elders, preachers, deacons, and others will spend their time trying to convince you to return while neglecting other important tasks.
10) You will grow farther and farther from the Lord as well as your brethren in Christ.
11) You will not be a soul winner. I have never found anyone who stays at home from worship who is doing the Lord's work!
One man saw a preacher in town the day after he had skipped services for the 5th straight week. He said, "Well, preacher, I guess my pew was empty again yesterday!" The preacher said, "No, it wasn't empty. The devil was in it and he was smiling up at me saying, 'I got him again this week.'"
μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)