What The Bible Says
“What The Bible Says - Vol. 5 / No. 9”
What The Bible Says
Vol. V - No. 9 / September 25, 2022
ARE CHRISTIANS AUTHORIZED TO MISS CHURCH SERVICES TO WORK?
The question raised in this article is an important one we all must consider. Let's establish two points of truth before answering this question. First, assembling ("going to church") is undoubtedly required by God. The Hebrew writer exhorts, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Second, Christians are commanded to work. For example, Paul commands in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." Paul would also go on to describe one who refuses to work by saying, "If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). As we can see, both attending the church services and working in order to provide for our families are both of great importance and are commands we are bound to keep. But what if our employer expects us to work when the church is called together to assemble? The Bible provides us with the answer through multiple forms of binding Biblical authority.
DIRECT COMMAND (Matthew 6:19-21; 31-33)
During His sermon on the mount, Jesus expressly commands, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). If we choose to work instead of attending the assembly of the saints, then we are guilty of laying up "treasures on earth" as opposed to storing "treasures in heaven.”
Some will point out that we will likely lose our jobs if we do not work when our employer has told to us perform our duties. The person who makes this statement is probably right, which simply means we need to find another job. The other job might not pay as well and may not have great benefits (insurance, retirement package, etc.), but if we trust God to fulfill what He has promised, then a new job that fits our worship schedule but does not pay as well as our current job should not be an issue - "Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33). God promises to provide our necessities, but that promise is conditional on putting Him first. What are we putting first - the Kingdom of God or our secular jobs?
APPROVED EXAMPLE (Mark 1:16-18)
One of the key ways we establish Bible authority is through approved example. It is by approved example that we know the Lord's Supper is to be administered on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Likewise, we can also find an approved example in Mark 1:16-18 to help us determine if we have authority to miss church services due to our secular work duties.
As Jesus began His ministry, he called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to serve as His disciples. All four of these men were in the middle of working their secular jobs as fishermen when Jesus appeared to them, and their response serves as an example for us today. Mark records, "And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him." The text should speak for itself, friends. Let’s follow this approved example by casting our work “nets” aside when it is time to focus on spiritual matters.
CONDITIONAL STATEMENT (Hebrews 10:24-27)
Do you recall the full context of the command to assemble that we find in Hebrews 10:24-25? Remember, the Hebrew writer urges, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25). I think we sometimes stop reading at verse 25 without considering the next two verses which put forth a conditional statement directly connected with the command to assemble. After giving the command to assemble, the Hebrew writer explains, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27). When we choose to forsake "the assembling of ourselves together" due to our secular jobs, we are sinning willfully, meaning we are choosing to go directly against something God has commanded, and thus come under the condemnation given in Hebrews 10:26-27. We should never deliberately choose to sin, and we should never willfully put secular work ahead of the church services.
At minimum, we have three forms of binding Biblical authority which provide us the answer as to whether we have the right to miss church services in order to perform our secular work duties. Of course, the answer is no, we have no such authority. In John 6:27, Jesus makes it very clear what our selection should be when faced with the choice of going to our secular jobs or attending the church services. Jesus says, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." As an immature Christian, I was guilty of missing the church services for work. I was wrong and I sinned by putting work rather than God first. Please, learn from my mistakes and don't commit the same sins I committed. —Dylan Stewart
YOU ARE LOST UNLESS...
YOU HAVE OBEYED THE GOSPEL! “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” (Romans 6:17). The “form of doctrine” that’s needed to be obeyed is our being dead in sin, buried with Christ in baptism, and raised to walk in a newness of life which is the “form” of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. (Romans 6:1-6)
YOU ARE IN CHRIST! Salvation is IN Christ (2 Timothy 2:10; Acts 4:12). Redemption is IN Christ (Colossians 1:13-14). Eternal life in IN Christ (1 John 5:11). We are new creatures IN Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). How do we get IN Christ? Are we willing to let the Scriptures give us the answer to that important question? “For as many of you as were BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27). Remember, we do not have salvation, redemption, eternal life, nor are we new creatures until we have been baptized. Are we going to believe the Scriptures or someone else?
YOU ARE IN THE LORD’S CHURCH! Can we not see the importance of the church when Acts 20:28 tells us Christ died for it and Ephesians 5:25 tells us He gave Himself for it? For this reason, the Lord adds those who are saved to the church (Acts 2:47) and He is the Savior of it (Ephesians 5:23). How do we get into the Lord’s church? “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). We see from passages like Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18 that the “body” is the “church”.
YOU ARE A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN! As a Christian we must not be neglectful of our duties before God (Hebrews 2:1-4). We must be spiritually, no carnally, minded (Galatians 5:19-21). Our faithfulness must be “unto death” (Revelation 2:10). —E.R. Hall, Jr.
GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS
The Scriptures teach “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). This can be seen in that God hath concluded ALL under sin. Though some do not accept this, the Bible tells us clearly “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we die in our sins we cannot enter Heaven for nothing can enter Heaven “that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27).
The fact God is no respecter of persons can also be seen in that Christ died for ALL. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9). When Jesus gave the ‘great commission’ in Mark 16:15 he said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The invitation is extended to all. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
There is also ONE plan of salvation for ALL. Since God is no respecter of persons, He requires the same thing of everybody. All through the book of Acts we see EVERYONE doing the SAME thing. The gospel was preached, those who heard the Word had to believe it, repent of their sins, confess Christ to be the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of sins.
Upon their obedience to the gospel, the Lord continues to show He is no respecter of persons for He adds ALL the saved to ONE church (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). We are not at liberty to “join the church of our choice” for God has not given us a choice. The only reason there are so many churches is the result of creeds and doctrines of men and we must not have any part with them that render “vain worship” (Matthew 15:9).
In the Judgment Day, God will be no respecter of persons. ALL of us will be there (Romans 14:10) and He will “render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10). “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelations 20:12). —E.R. Hall, Jr.
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--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
Bible Classes …………..….…………… 9:30 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….……… 10:30 AM
Evening Worship …………………........ 5:00 PM
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:00 PM
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 8:30 AM
Monday - Saturday
WBSA 93.5 FM/1300 AM ………………………….. 11:15 AM
Website: www. EastAlbertville.org