Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sunday morning only?

The Bermuda Triangle is well known as bring that triangular region of the sea between Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico where aircraft and ships have been reported to have mysteriously disappeared. Many reasons have been given in an effort to explain their disappearance, from human error, violent weather and the gulf stream, to the more outlandish claims of supernatural and extra-terrestrial activity. At the end of the day however the answer to many of the disappearances is that we do not know the reason. What is not in doubt however is the infamy that is associated with that particular region of the Atlantic Ocean. The name of the Bermuda Triangle is instantly connected with unexplained disappearances.

Within the church today there is also a 'Bermuda Triangle' to be found, where instead of planes and boats, people go mysteriously missing. Likewise little explanation can be found for their disappearance. What is this 'Bermuda Triangle' within the church that we are talking about? It is the Sunday evening service. Between the morning and evening services a mysterious disappearance takes place and great multitudes cannot be found at the latter meeting who were present in the morning. Even when considering legitimate reasons why some people cannot be present very often the mystery still remains. Where have they gone? Are they at another church, are they at home, perhaps they are visiting friends or family, or maybe they are asleep. Perhaps the weather is favourable and they are at the beach or spending the time in some pursuit of leisure. Yet really the answer is that we simply do not know.
This problem is not peculiar to any one church but is evident across denominational lines. Sunday evening services in most churches are considerably smaller than they are in the morning, and not through the absence of the unconverted, but through the absence of believers. There are too many 'Sunday morning only' Christians in the church today who display little desire to be at more than one service on the Lord's Day. Attendance at the prayer meeting or involvement in the work is with such people even less likely. Yet our desire for the Word of God ought to be such that we will be at every meeting possible where God's Word is preached, save where unavoidable circumstances prevent us from doing so. For those who themselves may preach or sing or testify it is understandable that they will be absent on a more regular basis than most. For parents with young children it will likely not be possible for them both to be out in the evening, yet generally it should be possible for one of them to be present. For those whose employment involves a work of necessity or mercy such as working for the emergency services, it is understandable that they will be absent at times. Yet for the majority of people their excuses for not attending the evening service are only that, excuses. Sunday evenings should not be used as a time for relaxation, or for visiting family, but for worshiping God. It is after all his day, not simply his hour in the morning. Hebrews 10:25 says that we should not forsake 'the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.' Where is our love and desire for God's house?

An important point that we must mention, but will not dwell on here, is that we should be at our OWN Sunday evening service. Whilst it is permissible on occasions to be at other meetings it should not be the habit of a Christian to regularly forsake their own church simply for the purpose of hearing another preacher. Some thoughts on church hopping, of which this is a form, can be found on a previous post.

Attending our church's Sunday evening service will bring many blessings. Sunday evening services are generally more focused on the gospel than the morning service, and to hear the gospel message preached again will fill the believer with joy, with thankfulness, and with a greater love for what the Saviour has done for them. It will be a blessing to the preacher and an encouragement to him to see the congregation return, and it will be an evidence to him of their love and desire for the Word of God. It will also be an example to the unsaved. How can we invite people in to a gospel service if we ourselves will not make the effort to attend? How can we expect them to do more than we are willing to do ourselves? What example will it be to an unconverted soul who sees such a dramatic drop in attendance between the two services. Let the words of Psalm 122:1 be the desire of our heart; 'I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD'. Let us make sure that we are in regular attendance at our Sunday evening services, and let us start tonight.

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