WE WISH to consider the following two Scriptural statements in conjunction with one another. The Lord Jesus Christ declared in the Sermon on the Mount, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The writer of the book of Hebrews admonished, “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” (Hebrews 10:25).

      The word “church” means assembly, and the church is the kingdom of God. Therefore, a Christian’s faithfulness in church attendance is a good indicator as to whether he or she is really seeking first the kingdom of God. One’s priorities and values are made evident here. If Christ is first in our lives, we will meet on the first day of every week to remember the Lord’s death in the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19,20; Acts 20:7). If we are indeed disciples of Christ, disciples meaning learners, we will meet with other disciples (learners) of Christ to learn all that we can about Christ and his teachings (about God’s Word, the Bible). Remember Acts 2:42. Recall that “the disciples [learners] were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26) in connection with being assembled for that very purpose, learning. We are not to forsake the assembly. It is the church of Christ. To forsake the assembly is to forsake Christ. And if we find ourselves in a situation locally where there is no faithful New Testament church, we therewith are that church and should begin assembling as such.

      Let us further scrutinize ourselves in reference to the assembly and its teaching program (and it indeed should involve real teaching, and not just some little “devotionals” and meaningless sweet nothings). Recognition of God and religion has been pushed out of our public schools by the secular humanists. Consequently, young people, as they study and prepare themselves for life day after day, get the impression that God and religion are unimportant and have nothing to do with life. It is sad to say, but many professing Christians subconsciously have absorbed this godless (and ungodly) way of thinking. They would not think of their children being absent from public school, nor tolerate it, but when it comes to Bible study at church, any truancy is allowable (whether it be staying home to study for public school, sports, scouts, going to the beach, or whatever comes up). Studying the Bible and Christianity are irrelevant to real life (that is what they in essence are saying, in spite of what the Lord said in Matthew 6:33). God is not first, if at all, in their lives. At other times visitors may come. The assembly is missed. Who comes first? The assembly is missed again (especially on Sunday evenings and the midweek). “Members” are seen absorbed in their watching of television or have gone to “take in” some worldly entertainment (or to be with their worldly friends). What has taken first place in their lives? In those “perilous times” of the last days that the apostle Paul said were coming, he states that people would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1,4). And he is talking about religious people, too,  for he said that they would be “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (3:5).

      We could go on with this little dissertation and even enlarge upon our thoughts derived from Matthew 6:33 and Hebrews 10:25. But church attendance is only the edge of the iceberg. Faithfulness in this respect would lead us to believe that a person is likewise conscientiously trying to be faithful in other areas of his life. Absence in church attendance indicates there are problems in a person’s life greater than missing church. Considering everything, is God really first in our lives?

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