WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO GET US BACK ON SUNDAY NIGHT?
Statistics don’t lie: more people love God on Sunday morning than on Sunday night. There will be, generally, one third fewer Christians lifting voices in praise at 6:00 p.m. than at 11:00 a.m. Shepherds pray about it; preachers preach about it; Christians are concerned about it; and children wonder about it, but it happens anyway.
The question is often posed in elders’ meetings, “What would it take to get everybody back Sunday nights?” Some churches try the “entertainment route.” They “jazz” up services by appealing to fleshly lusts with skits, giveaways, Super Bowl parties, food, music, and singing group. This is the wrong approach. But what is the right approach? What would it take to get “Sunday morning Christians” back to worship in the evening?
MORE LOVE FROM GOD? If only God was more generous toward His children, then they would feel more like expressing love for Him. Certainly this is it. Or is it? We find in the Scriptures some thought-provoking contrary material: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17); “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16); “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No, we do not need more love FROM God, but more love FOR God (Matthew 22:37-38).
MORE SACRIFICE FROM CHRIST? If Christ had given more, Christians would surely feel a debt to worship, Matthew records, “…and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified… and they stripped him…and when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head…and mocked him…and they spit upon him and took the reed, and smote him on the head…and they crucified him” (27:2635; 20:28; cf. Romans 5:6; 2 Corinthians 8:9). No, we do not need more sacrifice FROM Christ but more sacrifice FOR Christ (Matthew 6:33; Romans 1:14).
A BETTER GOD TO WORSHIP? If only Christians had an object worthy of their worship, they would “get more out of Sunday nights.” Yet, we read: “Among the gods there is none like thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works” (Psalm 86:8); “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? Saith the Holy One …Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding” (Isaiah 40:25,28); “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). No, we do not need a better GOD; He needs better CHILDREN.
A BETTER BOOK TO STUDY? Surely people would come back if they had something worthwhile to study . “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver…Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day…How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! … Thy word is a light unto my path … The entrance of they words given light; it giveth understanding unto the simple…my heart standeth in awe of they word” (Psalm 19:7; 119:72, 97, 103, 105, 130, 161). No, we do not need a better BOOK to study; we need better STUDENTS to study the book.
A BETTER GROUP WITH WHICH TO FELLOWSHIP? Since Christians are washed in the Lamb’s blood (Revelation 7:14), called out of the world (2 Corinthians 6:17), and forgiven of sins (Acts 2:38), they are the best people in the world. They are not perfect, but they are better as a group than whoever one would spend time with we do not need a better group but more desire to encourage the group
God’s Word says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25).
Voluntarily absenting oneself from worship is doing the very thing that God said not to do. It is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). James says that knowing that something is good, and choosing not to do it, is sinful (4:17). No one would deny that it would be good for one to attend all the services of the church. Would we agree that one who chooses to assemble with the saints for worship makes a good choice? Would we criticize him for that decision? No. Therefore, if we know that we should go, but have not been going, then we should repent and reform (James 5:16).
Some may assert that this applies only to he Sunday morning services. First, where does it say “Sunday morning service?” Literally, the original language says, “assemblies.” The whole day belongs to Christ (Revelation 1:10). The early church had Sunday night services (Acts 20:7, 8). They had a weeknight service, at least at times (Acts 12:12). Second, when we try to get away with the least amount we can do and still go to heaven, we have missed all of what Christianity is (Luke 17:10).
Someone else may say, “It would not be a sin just to miss one service, as long as I don’t forsake the Lord altogether.” Why would it be wrong to quit assembling altogether? Why would it be wrong to miss every service of the church? The only reason is because it is wrong to miss services period is because it is wrong to miss one service, then it’s not wrong to miss two. And if it’s not wrong to miss two, then it’s not wrong to miss ten. If it’s wrongs to miss a thousand services in succession, it’s only because it is wrong to miss one.
We sometimes treat this command differently than any other in the Bible. Which other command do we think that we can break sometimes and God will not mind? Can we break the command not to commit adultery a few times, so long as we don’t make it a habit? What about the sins of murder, lying, and stealing? God treats all sins the same. Some have greater consequences, but all unforgiven sins will be punished.
Some sins are committed unintentionally, through the weakness of the flesh, or through ignorance. As we walk in the light, God forgives us (1 John 1:8-10). but those who choose not to worship with the saints usually know they should, and they could if they would, but they plan not to do so. This is a presumptuous or “willful” sin. A person who sins presumptuously is lost if he does not change, for the Bible continues, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have receive the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).
Once a traveler came to a little French village. Night was approaching, and the people were hurrying through the streets. The traveler noticed that each person carried a lamp. To his inquiry, one passerby replied: “We’re going to the village house of worship. When the church building was built it was decided that each of the members would bring his own light to the night services. There is no other way to light the building, and everyone realizes if he is absent the building will be dark.” The traveler went to the village church building, and there he found that every seat had a place to hang the lighted lamp. As more and more members came, the building grew brighter and brighter.
The church is darker when we are absent from our regular place at night. Your light is needed not only on Sunday morning, but also, and especially, in the night services. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We must again take worshipping God seriously. We do not want to go to the Judgment in the group that deliberately skipped any worship services