Why should we go to church twice on Sunday? It takes more time out of our weekend, requires us to endure the process of getting the family dressed, ready, and there on time; and even from the pastor’s perspective, it doubles the work load not only on Sunday but even for the rest of the week. Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if we only had church once on Sunday?
The answer is apparent—it would be easier. But just because something is easier does not make it better. In fact, so many aspects of our lives prove the point that the path of least resistance does not always yield the greatest gain. Dietary discipline is hard, but the fruit of it is quite worth-while; physical exercise is hard, but who can really say that we are better off without it. Such is the case with spiritual discipline. Many of things that yield the greatest spiritual benefit in our lives are those which come with a price. There is a sense in which the old adage is true: “you get what you pay for.”
The joy of the Christian’s life however, is that Christ has secured our spiritual health upon the cross and in his resurrection. Ours is the great privilege of glorifying and enjoying God both now and forevermore in heaven because Christ has paid the price for us to do so. Of course, the chief way in which God enables us to enjoy that blessed life of heaven now is as we gather together on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the person and work of our savior and bring glory to our triune God. It is a day of rest and gladness; a day of spiritual renewal and motivation; a day in which the thorns and thistles of the present evil age seem to lose their sting as Christ and his benefits are displayed before us, and by faith we ascend the hill of the lord with cleansed consciences to worship the savior-king! What a privilege!
In the Old Testament, the whole day was to be set aside as a day of rest and refreshment. So concerned was God that the Sabbath day be kept holy, that he set laws and boundaries around the day to govern and guide his people. The penalty for breaking the Sabbath (fourth commandment) was harsh. God was not playing games.
Many Christians believe that in the New Testament, God has abrogated the Sabbath. This is certainly true to the extent that Christ has obeyed the law for us and endured its penalty once and for all. But in his resurrection, he inaugurates a new day of rest and worship, a new day of spiritual renewal, a new day of Sabbath rest. It is a day enveloped not by threats and curses but by promises and assurance that God will meet us in worship and bless us. This is what Christians refer to as the “Lord’s Day” as John puts it in Rev. 1:10. Sadly, however, for many Christians this is no longer the Lord’s day, but the Lord’s few hours. Most Christians have basically abandoned the time-honored practice of the church to set aside a whole day unto the Lord for the purposes of corporate, family and individual worship. Spiritual rest has become simply a part of the day, while much of the day is spent doing things that probably should be done on other days. To even suggest that the whole day should be given to the Lord makes the church seem invasive or legalistic. We’ve fallen a long way.
Our reasons for having corporate worship twice on Sunday are rather simple: we believe it benefits us tremendously to worship God, hear his word preached, and partake of the Lord’s Supper. This is what we do every Sunday evening. Where else would we want to be than with God’s people in worship? What else can truly benefit our souls and family’s spiritual health more than meeting with God in that place and way which he most clearly promises to bless? What else has God put in place to give us a foretaste of heaven and a sense of belonging to a community that has more in common than the passing things of the world?
Evening worship should be seen as a privilege and not merely a rule, as God has promised so many good things as we gather once again for worship and the means of grace. The elders would like to encourage you and your family to honor the Lord’s day and provide for your family’s spiritual interests by striving to recover the lost art of morning and evening worship. Though it may take a bit of effort, the benefit will far exceed the cost.
“I was glad when they said, let us go up to the house of the Lord” Psalm 122:1