In our last article, we saw in Heb 10:25 that the most basic way that we can develop love in the Christian community is by “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” that is, we have to be together in order to love and encourage one another. We cannot neglect Sunday gatherings. Church attendance has to be one of the highest priorities in the Christian’s life.
The preacher even puts some on the spot with, “as is the manner of some.” He is saying, You! Yea, you! Those of you who have sporadic attendance, you are not only hurting your own spiritual life, but you are actually sabotaging the health of the whole church.
It had become commonplace for some of those believers to seldom attend church times, and we are experiencing the same predicament in many American congregations. While we may think that things have changed, that our culture is too fast-paced, and that these demands are too strenuous for modern believers, we should be aware that this is nothing new. In the early days of the church, Christians were expected to gather together regularly, and when many abandoned the assembly, they were called out. Christians are to be holy, that is, different. It is not too much to ask that believers gather consistently. We go to work and school every day. We have our own hobbies that we do not desert. We take our kids to their extracurricular activities each week without fail. Why would we not give, at the very least, the same kind of commitment to the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ?
The Hebrews audience may have been discouraged from attending church gatherings due to persecution, the delay of the second coming, divided loyalties to church and synagogue, a sense of superiority, short-sightedness, laziness, simple dulling over time, or by outright indifference. Whatever the reason, the preacher makes clear that their neglect is not good. There are many excuses today for lack of church attendance. Some are more legitimate than others. For example, one author has said, “[S]ome people have not found within our churches the warmth, care and concern for which they hoped [so] they have turned away” (Brown, 187). That may be a legitimate excuse but should be carefully considered. Have we prayed for unity? Have we, ourselves, worked toward the type of community that we would like to experience in our church? In my humble opinion, very few excuses actually hold up under honest scrutiny. Let’s not allow lack of attendance to be our habit.