OceanSide church of Christ
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THE SUNDAY EVENING SERVICE
Victor M. Eskew
On Sunday evenings, a worship service is scheduled by most elderships of the churches of Christ. This is certainly true at the OceanSide church of Christ. Worship is scheduled for 5:30 every Sunday night. Sadly, it is a service that sees a sharp decline in those who attend it. Part of this is because there are not as many visitors on Sunday night. Another element of the decline is that members do not return to worship God at the evening service. This is true, not only at OceanSide, but at many other churches throughout the brotherhood. Those who do not attend the evening worship services need to be reminded of some things.
First, they need to be reminded that assembling on Sunday evening is a privilege. The word privilege is defined as “a benefit enjoyed by a person beyond the advantages of most.” There are many people in our world who are not able to worship God on a regular basis. Their governments hinder them. Their situations in life disable them. Time, distance, and money will not allow them to worship as much as they desire. For those of us who live in this wonderful nation, we have the privilege of assembling with the saints as many times as we desire. There are no hindrances placed in our way. There are no laws forbidding our assemblies. There are no enemies keeping us away from the building. We have the time, means, and money to be at the worship services. As we contemplate this blessing, we need to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48). We have been given a privilege. How will you give account of this privilege before God?
Second, they need to be reminded that the assembly on Sunday evening is worship. Worship is an action on the part of the creature toward the Creator. It is a response on the part of the redeemed toward the Redeemer. It is the thanksgiving that is offered up by the recipient of blessings to the One who has poured out those benefits to him. Worship is the bowing down of the child to his loving Father in heaven. Worship is homage and adoration given to a Being who is high and holy. Worship is the recognition that God is worthy of praise, worthy of glory, and worthy of honor because of who He is and what He has done. Worship is the humble servant falling down in the presence of his powerful Master. Some seem to have forgotten the meaning of worship. They see it simply as an act that is to be offered to God at the human’s discretion. The psalmist was not ignorant of worship. In Psalm 95:6, he cries out, saying: “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” My friend, all who assemble on Sunday evenings are there to worship a Being who is wonderful, matchless, and beyond our comprehension.
Third, they need to be reminded that the assembly on Sunday evening it a time to be fed spiritual food. Those who miss the Sunday night worship service do not miss their physical meals. They know that food is essential to their outer man. Without sustenance, they will perish. The same is true of the spiritual man. He needs to be fed. The elders of the church are responsible for those feeding times. They have been exhorted to “feed the flock of God which is among you” (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:1-3). Every time we assemble on Sunday evening, the Word of God is proclaimed. It is bread for our souls. We NEED to partake of it. If we do not, we will perish. Those who fail to assemble are not the spiritually strong of the congregation. Oh no! They are extremely weak. They are suffering from malnutrition. Dear read, we exhort you to come and eat. Come and feed upon the bread of life.
Fourth, they need to be reminded that when we engage in worship on Sunday evenings we are involved in a good work. Good works are supposed to be part of the life of every child of God. Jesus died so that we would be zealous of good works. Paul writes: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14). To the Ephesians, this same apostle said: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). These good works are to be bountiful in our lives. Every time we participate in a Sunday evening service, we are involved in a good work. Remember, we will be judged in the Last Day by our works. “…and they were judged every man according to his works (Rev. 20:11-15).
Fifth, they need to be reminded that attending the worship service on Sunday evening involves setting a good example before others. Paul exhorted Timothy to be an example in I Timothy 4:12. One of the areas wherein Timothy was to be an example of the believers was in his conversation, that is, his manner of life. Worship needs to be part of the Christian’s life. If not, why not? Worship should be something the Christian does naturally, not just out of a sense of duty and obligation. When we worship, we set an example before the world, before other believers, before new converts, and before the erring. We are telling them to follow our example because worship is extremely important. We are exhorting them to walk the way we walk. Isn’t this what Paul said to the church at Corinth. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”(I Cor. 11:1).
Sixth, they need to be reminded that attending the Sunday evening service is a choice. Remember, there are right choices and wrong choices. There are godly choices and ungodly choices. There are choices that bring life and choices that bring death. Moses set choices before the congregation of Israel prior to his death. He said: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:9). To worship on Sunday evening, or, not to worship on Sunday evening, this is one of our choices. How would Moses advise you? How would the apostles of Christ advise you? How would the Lord Jesus advise you? Each would say: “Choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
It is difficult for the faithful to envision anyone refraining from the Sunday evening assembly. It is a privilege. It is worship. It is a time to be fed. It is a good work. It is a time to manifest a positive example before others. And, yes, it is a choice. It is a choice each individual must make for himself. My friends, we pray that you will choose wisely, righteously, and with a view to that day when you will give an account of all your deeds to God (II Cor. 5:10). Please, choose life!