“Because I said so.” “Really?!”

Mmm…good

Yesterday we had our monthly men’s breakfast and meeting…and…thanks to Rick…the food was especially yummy. One of the advantages to my low-carb diet is that it is an excuse to be carnivorous, and within his multiple options were breakfast sausage patties and an omelet-like concoction that included spicy italian sausage.

Have I ever mentioned that sausage is one of my favorite foods when I’m not maintaining my vegetarian vows? 🙂

Breakfast wrapped up and Rick, Scott, Jim, Gerry, Warren, Winslow, and I got around to the “business of the church” and…near the end…Winslow asked if we should be having more sermons about fellowship and family…a theme we had decided to focus on this year.

This sermon is a yes. 🙂

Top Ten Reasons to Attend Church

Having grown up with David Letterman (does anyone remember when he had a short-lived daytime show?)…a top ten list seems a viable approach for an approach…so today’s talk is:

“Top Ten Reasons to Attend Church”

You may have noted that’s not the title in the bulletin, but I think you’ll understand its connection shortly.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Also…if you like sermons in the 20 minute range it’ll mean we have to go quickly since that would only be 2 minutes per list entry…and we’ve already burned ____ minutes with this short introduction. [ Check watch again to figure out how many minutes. ]

With no further delay:

#10 — Because I said so

We’ll find #10 in Hebrews 10:24-25:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.

#10 in our “Top Ten Reasons to Attend Church” is “Because I said so”…with the “I” being God. Through the writer of Hebrews God commands us to not neglect meeting together. You can’t claim to be a Christian and ignore what your Lord has instructed.

I’ve listed “Because I said so” as #10 because ultimately it isn’t terribly satisfying to do something just because you are told to. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important (far from it), but I think even Jesus Himself indicated he preferred people who did what was right for the right reasons…not just because they were told to…when He told His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Having said that, you should attend church because God said so…

#9 — Because church potluck food has no calories

#9 in the top ten reasons to attend church is that that church potluck food has no calories.

None. Zero. Zip.

And if you climb on the scale the next day and it reports otherwise…clearly it is a demonic deception and not an accurate representation of the result of you trying a little bit of every dish so as to show support to everyone who went through culinary efforts to provide something. 🙂

#8 — Maybelle

#8 in the top ten reasons to attend church is Maybelle.

And Trudy.

And Kathleen.

And Rick.

And Augie.

And…well…you get the point…

Yes, we probably can all get on each others’ nerves now-and-then, but a big reason to come to church is the wonderful people who are here when you arrive…or shortly after…depending on how far behind you or they are a given day. 🙂

Even when you most feel like being a hermit (and want to avoid the world) there is someone here whose smile and love can cast off the darkness of this world.

You all do that for me…and we can do it for you.

#7 — The day is drawing near

Looking back at Hebrews 10:24-25 we can find #7 in our top ten list of reasons to attend church:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.

“All the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

I don’t know about you, but during my 47 years I have never felt like the world has been more on a precipice more than I do now. Whether it be the sense that there is no safety net anymore for me if I continue to be unable to find a job, or the “religion of peace” gaining great strength and with only one completely common goal (the destruction of Israel)…doesn’t it seem that there can’t be too much time left on the Doomsday Clock?

And even if the Lord chooses to tarry centuries (or millennia) more…as we’ve discussed before, our fragile mortal bodies mean the Day is always drawing near for us individually…perhaps even before we walk out those doors behind you today.

#7 in our top ten list of reasons to attend church is “The day is drawing near.”

#6 — It’s good for your back

We can derive entry #6 by you answering a simple question. Have you ever tried to slump in a pew?

It’s impossible! 🙂

#6 in our top ten list of reasons to attend church is “It’s good for your back!”

Church pews force good posture. 🙂

#5 — We need you…you “complete” us

We are half way through the list…and to discover #5 we’ll need to read through the longest biblical selection in today’s sermon. Let’s turn together to 1 Corinthians 12:12-27:

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

#5 in our top ten reasons to attend church is “We need you…you ‘complete’ us.”

Yes, just like a disabled or blind or deaf person we will learn to compensate…the Body of Christ “does not consist of one member but of many” and “if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

And…if one member stops attending…we all feel the vacuum…we are incomplete.

But so is the person who stays away…

#4 — Because it decreases the chance you’ll have to go to the emergency room

#4 in our top ten list of reasons to attend church is “Because it decreases the chance you’ll have to go to the emergency room.”

Now, I’m not saying there is especially one family with a bazillion kids who brings this entry to mind…or that I never see our youngins doing anything life threatening as they run around the church grounds…but you have to admit, there is much less chance one of our kids will end up in ER if they are here than if they are out…especially unsupervised…in the world.

And…you know what…if you spiritualize this thought a bit…the more time any of us…adults included…spend here at church the less likely we’ll end up metaphorical emergency room.

No, our lives won’t be without wrinkles…some of them will come directly from fellow church members…but the most important health…our spiritual health…is less likely going to go awry when we spend as much time as possible within these doors. Outside them “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

#3 — If you go it alone, you will fail

A couple of verses in Proverbs provide us with #3 in our top ten lists of reasons to attend church:

Without counsel plans fail,

but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls,

but in an abundance of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).

#3 in our top ten lists of reasons to attend church is “If you go it alone, you will fail.” Everyone you see sitting around you has been given you by God to be a counselor…and we can only succeed by trusting each other to help us understand the words of Scripture and properly apply them to our lives.

When we are alone we will rationalize our way right out of God’s will…and into a big mess…

#2 — It is fire insurance

Something we recently added to our church was insurance. I know, it seems crazy that we went years without anything to cover us if the church burnt down (or someone was injured here).

It seems crazy because we are all aware of how easily something like a shorted wire can cause a fire that will quickly turn our building into charcoal.

With that in mind, let’s look at our second-to-last verse…it’s nice and short:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

#2 in our list of top ten reasons to attend church is “It is fire insurance.”

Now…obviously…salvation is an individual state…not a corporate one…but I don’t know about you…I would rather be inside the church that hell cannot prevail against than out in a world that is the equivalent of kindling for hell’s fires.

And…obviously…Jesus was not speaking of a material edifice like the one we are sitting in…but to be part of the universal church you cannot skip attending the physical church if God has blessed you with the opportunities to do so.

#1 — Because, ultimately, all you have is Jesus and He is here

How many here have seen the film “An Officer and a Gentleman”? Richard Gere (as aspiring pilot Zach Mayo) and Louis Gossett Jr. (as Sergeant Foley) didn’t get along very well…and that friction finally comes to a head. Foley wants to get Mayo to “Drop on Request”…that is, quit.

Mayo refuses and Foley says, “You can forget it! You’re out!”1

Finally we see tough guy Mayo reveal that his hard, cocky exterior was only a front…that inside something else was driving him.

His response to the Sergeant who wanted to kick him out of the Navy flight program?

“Don’t you do it! Don’t! You… I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g… I got nothin’ else.”2

Mayo realized that his self-reliant life was nothing…that all he had dependent on staying in (and completing that program)…

#1 in our top ten reasons for attending church?

First…let’s look at another quick reference…once again the words of Jesus. This time two chapters later in Matthew 18:20:

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

#1 in our top ten reasons for attending church is “Because, ultimately, all you have is Jesus and He is here.”

Right here.

Among you.

Everything else you have…everyone you know…every place you’ve been…

It will all be destroyed…and even before God creates a new heavens and a new Earth…you can’t take any of it with you. You’ve got nothin’ else.

All you have is Jesus.

And Jesus is here.

Tongue in Cheek

Some of this list has been tongue in cheek…other items really haven’t gotten the proper treatment…and even other ones have been completely left off the list.

However…if you only remember one thing from today’s talk…remember Jesus.

The Jesus who inspired the writer of Hebrews to command you to be here.

The Jesus who also personally said He is where we gather.

He is all there is.

He is all we need.

He is the #1 reason you should attend church.

And He is here.

Footnotes

1An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) – Memorable quotes. (n.d.). IMDb. Retrieved June 25, 2011, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084434/quotes?qt=qt0306711

2Ibid.


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