For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:23-30)
Excuses For Not Going To Church
The art of making excuses is as old as the first sin. When the Lord came to Adam seeking answers why they were afraid the man tried to blame the woman. Nothing has changed since then as we make excuses for everything under the sun. Sin came about because man would not obey a simple law of God. There were many trees in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could eat to their hearts content of every tree including the tree of Life. No prohibition. No boundaries. The only exception was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One tree. Easy choice. Clear decision. Eat of every tree in the garden but one tree.
The commands of God are not hard to understand. Living under the grace of the law of Christ man is expected to keep the commands of God. The Lord has never asked us to do anything that we cannot do. Everything expected of us is within our power to do if we wish. Our hindrances come from our own failings and excuses. We are saved by grace and mercy but we are also saved by keeping the law of God. Jesus told His disciples in the sermon on the mountain that saying “Lord, Lord” will not save but doing the will of the Father.
The New Testament disciples understood clearly the need to gather on the first day of every week to worship God. This was not an option or a choice they could make or not make. The imperative to assemble with saints was embedded into the hearts and minds of the early teachings of the church. They wrote about it, they discussed it and they were challenged by keeping the law. Satan has done well in convincing many in the church today that Sunday is a day of options, not worship. Assembling with the saints is a convenience not a command. Failing to attend Sunday services is one of the most common sins among God’s children. We have decided that God is not interested in whether or not we can excuse ourselves from the assembly.
Jesus died a miserable death on a piece of wood. They spit in His face, beat Him, mocked Him, lacerated His back in scourging and nailed Him to a cross. He writhed in so much pain nothing we have can bring the horror of crucifixion to bear on our hearts today. He struggled for six hours for my sin. And then He died. Before His death (that He knew was coming) He commanded His disciples to remember His death. The institution of the Lord’s Supper is a holy convocation of the love of God expressed in the partaking of the meal of our sins being passed over. The early church practiced this feast each first day of the week.
To those who think you can miss the assembly for any reason: you have denied the Lord Jesus Christ. When you decide that ‘going to church’ is an option you have spit in the face of Jesus. He asked for you to remember Him and you said, “NO.” Paul’s letter to Corinth was to correct the misguided ideals of their view of the Lord’s Supper. It is one thing for those who gather on the first day of the week to take of the supper in a unworthy manner; when you miss the services because you do not want too you deny Christ. Many people take jobs that give them the ‘right’ to miss services. Vacations will be planned where services are missed. Laziness or disregard for the assembly keep many folk home. A lot of people who are ‘providentially hindered’ are hindered because they did not provide the heart to worship God.
It is time we face the reality of our assembly on Sunday. Can you stand before the Father and make excuses for treating His Son in an unworthy manner? Paul writes those who eat and drink in an unworthy manner eat and drink judgment to themselves, not discerning the Lord’s body because YOU ARE NOT THERE! Elders need to have the courage to admonish those who fail to come to the supper of the Lord. Congregations must have the faith to correct those who deny the Lord. The Hebrew writer expressed it this way: “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:29-31)
What else, indeed, is the judgment, as far as we can grasp it, but the naked setting of our soul as it is now at this moment in the sight of God? (Bede Jarrett, Meditations for Layfold, 1915)