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Attendance (2 of 5)
Series: Church Membership 101
Introduction: Jamestown, VA. was one of the earliest English-speaking settlements in the new world. It has been carefully restored so that we can see what life was like 350 years ago. When this settlement was first established, most of the people built humble huts for their families. But right in the middle of Jamestown they erected an imposing church building as a testimony to all who came, that the people of Jamestown put God first. They had 2-hour worship services every day of the week, and attendance was mandatory. If you didn't show up for the daily service, your day's ration of food would not be given you. Their reasoning was if you were too sick to go to church, you were too sick to eat. They had a 5-hour service on Sunday, and you were expected to be there all 5 hours. If you missed church for 3 weeks, they would put you in stocks for 6 weeks out on the church lawn. The stocks are still there for all to see. Maybe they went a bit too far…maybe. We'd probably all agree that seems just a LITTLE bit harsh but one lesson which comes through loud and clear is that in this original settlement, the people wanted to communicate clearly that God came first.
Today I'm going to talk about church attendance. I haven't noticed any STOCKS in the blueprints for phase II or III or our building plan but we do want to get a handle on the importance of this contribution of members to the church.
My current sermon series is entitled CHURCH MEMBERSHIP 101 and we're exploring what it means to be a member of the local church. In last week's message we defined the church as the called out, the kingdom and you. That's what makes church membership important. But what is ''membership?'' What are the commitments and responsibilities of a church member? The first and most basic responsibility weekly corporate worship, i.e., to assemble for worship on Sunday with the rest of the church. We call this ''Going to church.'' Now, you can't go to church 'cause the church is you. I get that. But in this sermon I'm going to say ''go to church.'' Just like we know that the sun doesn't rise in the east it's the earth that rotates on its axis and revolving around the sun. Nevertheless we say, ''Look at the sunrise.''
Everyone can relax because this is the one message that you, by DEFINITION, have already mastered. You're HERE. You've GOT this. Your toes are NOT going to be stepped on today. I expect to see record numbers of sermon CD and DVD requests today because this is the sermon you want to give to all of those who WEREN'T here today. If you're a guest, you definitely lucked out and picked the RIGHT day to go to church!
I. THE BIBLICAL PRECEDENT FOR WEEKLY CORPORATE WORSHIP
Leviticus 23:3 ''There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly.''
Luke 4:16 ''On the Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue, as was his custom.'' ...
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