OceanSide church of Christ
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WHEN I MISS SUNDAY NIGHT SERVICES
Victor M. Eskew
In most congregations in the United States, the Sunday night crowd is usually much smaller than the crowds on Sunday morning. Many reasons account for this drop in attendance. Those who were visiting with family and friends have returned to their homes. The elderly who struggle with failing health have returned to their beds of rest. Some are called out for an emergency that demands their immediate attention. Many, however, make a conscious decision to stay at home and tend to the affairs of this world. As strict adherents to the law, they see nothing wrong in failing to attend on Sunday evenings. The Bible, they say, nowhere commands one to meet on Sunday evening.
These individuals might be right in a Pharisaical way. They, however, have not really considered the entire story. When one misses the assembly on Sunday evening, he misses a host of blessings that could be his to enjoy. First, Sunday evening presents the child of God with another opportunity to worship his Creator and Redeemer. One is able to bow before the throne of the Majestic Father and pay homage and make obeisance before Him. When one carries out his worship according to truth and with sincerity of heart, he pleases God. Jesus said: “…the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23-24).
Another blessing one fails to receive when he misses the Sunday evening assembly is the exhortation of brethren to love and good works. The Hebrew penman stated it with these words: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25). Some argue that these words apply to the Sunday morning assembly only. There is no way in the context to prove this conclusively. However, if one can exhort and be exhorted during the morning assembly, can’t the same blessing be enjoyed during another worship assembly? The person who misses may be the very one who needs exhortation. His faith may be wavering. His burdens could be great. He could be facing great temptations of the flesh. The exhortations he receives during that one evening hour could provide him with the strength to remain steadfast in his service to the Master.
Third, those who miss the Sunday evening assembly miss an opportunity to partake of the bread of life. Jesus taught: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). In John 6:63, He also taught: “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Word of God is the Christian’s spiritual food. It gives life. It brings us to maturity. Most of those who stay home on Sunday evenings do not engage in a profitable study of God’s Word during that hour. They watch television. They do chores. They engage in recreation. They feed their physical body. They miss an opportunity to have their inner man nourished. Over time, many of these individuals grow weak. Some become very sick. Some even reach the point of spiritual death. Their demise began with the malnutrition of their soul.
Fourth, those who miss on Sunday evenings often miss important decisions that others make. Sunday evenings have been the time when an alien sinner walks the aisle and desires to be forgiven of sins by putting on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27). Sunday evenings have also been the time when an erring brother steps forward asking to be forgiven of his sins (James 5:16). At other times, a good sister has made her journey to the front on Sunday night to ask for prayers of strength and courage to endure the struggles of life through which she is passing. Those who stay at home on Sunday evenings miss many of these touching, personal moments in the lives of others. While they are at home, the saints, the angels of heaven, and God the Father are rejoicing over souls that have been saved from death (Luke 15:7).
In John the twentieth chapter, we find the disciples of Jesus assembled upon the first day of the week during the evening hours. A wonderful event happened that night. Jesus appeared to His disciples. The message he presented was both power and comforting.
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose so-ever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:19-23).
Sadly, Thomas missed that soul-stirring encounter. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came” (John 20:24). The disciples told him of their blessing. Thomas, however, remained in denial and disbelief for an entire week. This was due to his failure to be present on that notable Sunday evening.
Isn’t it interesting that this event is recorded for us? It reveals the thrust of the message we have been attempting to get across in this article. Those who choose to miss on Sunday evenings, miss a host of spiritual blessings. They fail to worship the Father. They miss the mutual edification of the saints. They skip an opportunity to feed upon God’s Word. They miss many wonderful events in the lives of others.
Knowing these things, why would anyone make a deliberate decision to miss the assembly on Sunday evening? Only those who make such a choice can answer this question. Do the carnal affairs of this life really bring more joy than the spiritual blessings that are closely connected to the assembly? Do not be deceived. Make your plans to assemble with the saints every time the opportunity presents itself. You will be the beneficiary. You will walk away with many spiritual blessings.