Friday, February 28, 2014

As His Custom Was

  Life of Christ 34

Lighthouse Baptist Church, Bessemer, Pennsylvania
          Jesus had a habit of regular attendance at God's house. In other words, basically Jesus went to church, by force of habit, every single Lord's Day. 'And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read' (Luke 4.16). Yes, I realize that the synagogue is not the church, yet the scriptures clearly say that the house of God in our dispensation is the church (I Timothy 3.15). Yes, I realize the Sabbath is also not applicable in our dispensation, but the idea of assembling with God's people at least once a week was not birthed in the Church; it was birthed in the synagogue.
          Is it your custom to attend God's house every week? For far too many of God's people the answer is 'no'. Oh, they attend occasionally, but not habitually. They attend when they have nothing better to do. They attend when they feel moved to do so. They attend when something special is going on. They attend when the weather is good. They attend when they don't have any reasonable excuse to offer themselves for not attending. They attend so long as no one at church offends them. They attend so long as they find it interesting and compelling. They attend so long as the stars align perfectly, and the birds sing, and the sky is blue, and they feel happy to be there.
          That isn't habit driven; it is circumstance driven. What if you brushed your teeth that way? Now, of course, you brush them no matter what you ate, no matter where you ate it at, or no matter what else you have going on. In fact, the habit is so deeply ingrained in you that you probably don't even consciously think about the fact you need to do it; you just do it. But what if you brushed your teeth with the same casual carelessness with which so many Christians view church attendance? The result would not be pretty to see, and the same is true with a Christian who only attends church occasionally as well.
          You cannot be right with God, and wrong with church. I do not believe everybody has to go to my church, by any means, or even a church like mine. But I am absolutely convinced, barring health concerns or not having a church within 100 miles, give or take, that if you are not in the habit of attending church on a regular basis you are not right with God. Jesus Christ died to purchase the church. The church is His body on earth. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. The church is where God's people sing about Him, pray to Him, fellowship with one another, edify one another, and hear the preaching of the Word of God. The church is God's ordained choice of an institution to perpetuate the Gospel in our dispensation. The church is Jesus in your neighborhood. The church is the local, visible assembly of God's people. Jesus loves the church. If you don't purposely have one that is yours, that you attend regularly, then you are a lousy Christian.

          …after all, to be a Christian is to be like Jesus. If you want to be like Jesus then you must have the habit of weekly attendance at God's house.

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