Forsake Not the Assembling of Ourselves Together

By: Dr. Phil Stringer

“For the first 150 years in our nation, almost everything was closed on Sundays.  About the time our nation was founded, church attendance was about 80% in spite of the fact that they did not have automobiles, there were limited roads, etc.

For a long time, the National Football League played all of their football games on Saturday.  Saturday was recreation day, and Sunday was church day.  They first moved games to Sunday as an experiment, but finally they moved their games to Sundays because they said people did not have anything to do.

For years and years and years the Indianapolis 500 auto race was run on Saturdays.  If it happened to rain on Saturday, they moved the race to Monday.  Just in the last 20 years, they have moved it to Sunday, because people did not have anything to do but stay home on Sunday.

In Boone County, Indiana, back in the early 1900s there were three Baptist churches.  Every summer the three of them would get together and hold a joint meeting one week during the summer.  The Boone County Fair was also held during the summer time.  In 1904, these three Baptist churches had gotten mad at the Fair because they had let gypsies come in and set up some gambling booths.  So, in 1905 the churches said to the Fair Board, ‘We are not going to tell you when our meeting is.  Whatever date you set for the Fair will be when we are going to have our meeting.’

The Fair Board begged them to reconsider, saying, ‘We will not have any gypsies.  We will not have any gambling.  We will not have anything you disapprove of, if you will just let us know what the date is so we can have the fair on a different date.’

That is the hold church attendance used to have on this country.  It sure does not have it anymore.

Even in the United States Constitution, the President of the United States has so many days to decide whether to veto a bill from Congress, they do not count Sundays.  Do you know why they do not count Sundays?  They did not expect the President to be thinking about legislation on Sundays; they expected him to be in church on Sundays.”

“We desperately need to get it in our thinking that attendance at a good, faithful, Bible-preaching fundamental Baptist church is not optional.  It just has to be part of our thinking and part of our schedule.  You are not going to get any help from the culture in which you live.  A big movement in colleges is spreading all across the country now to move classes—college courses—to Sunday mornings.  It has become expected that young people who work at fast-food restaurants are going to work on Sundays.  We have this growing treatment of Sundays as just any other day of the week.  We are going to have to rebuild this foundation, and the Word of God has a good deal to say about it.

Often I have opportunity to inquire about individuals to whom I ministered when they were young people.  Many times I am blessed to hear that they are faithfully serving the Lord.  However, too often I hear about some mess they are in.  As I begin to hear about the situation, inevitably the story begins, ‘Well, they got out of church and sometime later…’  If you want to have a testimony to the world, you must be faithful in church.  You accomplish three things every time you attend a church service.  Whether the preacher is a great preacher or not, whether the conditions are the best or not, whether folks get along well at church or not, there are three things you accomplish every time you go to church.

1.       Every time you attend a service you are an encouragement to the pastor.

2.       Every time you go to the service, you will be around the Word of God.

      Whether it is the best message you will ever hear or not, you can be around the Word of God.

3.       You can always have a testimony to your neighbors by being in church.

Do you want to make a mark on your community?  You can have a testimony in front of them by being faithful to church.  You will be what the world calls a “church person.”

Do you understand?  The world cannot figure out how anybody has time for that.  They do not understand how you have time to be faithful to church three times per week, but still get in your national average of 39 hours of television a week.

You hold forth your profession.  Just as the Lord Jesus Christ was faithful to us, we are faithful to Him.  This is about Him!  This is not about us.  It is not about our pastor.  It is not about our parents.  It is not about our culture.  It is not about our society.  It is about Him and what the Lord has done for us.”

“We had a great fundamental Baptist church movement built in this country in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, but it has been coasting ever since.  A generation rose up, and said, ‘The old, mainline, denominational and conventional churches have crossed the line.  They have gone past the line of Biblical faithfulness.  We are going to have to come out and build a brand new church movement.  All across this country, people came out.  They built.  They worked and sacrificed.  They started new churches.  Some of them became absolutely incredible churches with incredible ministries.  The entire nation has been blessed.  You and I have benefits provided for us endlessly because of that generation of Fundamentalists.  Do you know what amazes me?  It amazes me that many Christians today in their twenties and thirties come along and say, ‘I sure am glad the church is here to take care of me.’

Let me tell you something.  If those folks had worked like the current generation is working, they would have built nothing.  Our churches are being carried by an older generation and they are doing a pretty good job carrying it now, but they are not going to be around forever.  It really scares me what is going to happen when the responsibility rests on the folks that are in their 20s and 30s now, because they are not pulling their weight.

They all want a church to be there to provide programs for their children, but they do not want to build one.  They all want a church so the pastor can visit them when they are in the hospital, but they do not want to build a church.  They all want a church so somebody can do the funeral when their aged parents pass away, but they do not want to build a church.

Today, Christian people want counseling centers so somebody will be there to pat them on the back when they have problems but they do not want to build a church strong enough to do that.  Very frankly, if they would just get in church, we would not have the burden of providing the counseling centers for them.”

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