And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Priorities are spiritual. What takes precedent in our lives indicates the true reality of our spiritual state and determines who we’re becoming.
This is particularly true of life in the local church.
Together, the churches that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention claim to have a grand total of 16 million members. And yet it’s likely that only 6 million of those members will worship with their congregations this Sunday. That’s a telling statistic. It reveals how 16 million people claim to follow Jesus, yet the actual priorities of the majority do not at all reflect such a claim.
However, according to Hebrews 10:24-25 (quoted above), Christ-followers are commanded to make the church and its gatherings a priority for our lives. Scripture warns against neglecting congregational worship, and for good reason! It is detrimental to our spiritual growth. Therefore, we who claim to follow Jesus must prioritize what His Word commands.
I recently listened to an interview with a man who served as the U.S. Attorney General in the Bush administration. During the course of the conversation, the interviewer, knowing this man was a Christian, asked him how his time in office affected his faith. In his reply, he stated that worshiping with his church each Sunday was a key contributor to his spiritual growth during that time, claiming that he and his family only missed church one time over the 8 years that he served alongside the President. He spoke glowingly of the difference congregational worship has made in his life.
This man held one of the most demanding jobs on the planet, yet he and his family prioritized gathered worship with their local church. As a result, he has grown as a disciple of Jesus even while serving in a high-pressure position. His priorities revealed his spiritual condition and determined the course of his life.
The same is true for us. The degree to which we prioritize the church in our week-to-week living will determine where we end up spiritually.
In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul admonishes Timothy to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.” The three words “along with those” are there to remind us that the pursuit of godliness is not a solitary endeavor, which is why Scripture commands us to make gathered worship a priority. It is a source of encouragement and growth for each of us as we “stir up one another to love and good works.”
To be sure, following Jesus involves more than going to church. But at the same time, it’s certainly not less than that. Of course, there are circumstances under which it is perfectly reasonable to miss church. But that ought to be the exception, not the rule since there’s so much at stake—the discipleship, unity, encouragement, and spiritual growth of God’s people.
So will you make it a priority to be there each Sunday to worship the Lord and encourage His saints? Will you allow gathered worship to take precedent over anything else you might do on a Sunday morning? I pray you will.
After all, priorities are spiritual.
Set List for Sunday, September 24, 2017:
How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin (E. Cash, J. Reeves, C. Tomlin)
Holy, Holy, Holy (Savior & King) by Gateway Worship (W. Beach, J.B. Dykes, R. Heber)
Doxology (traditional) (T. Ken)
Man Of Sorrows by Hillsong Worship (M. Crocker, B. Ligertwood)
Arms Open Wide by Hillsong United (S. Knock)
Savior King by Hillsong United (M. Fields, M. Sampson)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.