Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why go to Church on Christmas Sunday?

Reasons why we should be careful to attend the Public Ordinances of God by Thomas Boston

1. Because God has commanded it, Heb. x. 25.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." The Lord calls his people to be present there, where- ever it is. Thus there was the tabernacle of the congregation in the wilderness, thither the people resorted to the public worship ; and afterwards the temple. And for ordinary the synagogues under the Old Testament were the places of public worship, the ruins of which the church complains of, Psal. lxxiv. 8. It was the practice of Christ himself to attend these places, as we find, Luke iv. 16. He sends ministers to preach, and therefore commands people to hear.

2. Because the public assemblies are for the honour of Christ in the world.

They are that place where his honour dwells, where his people meet together to profess their subjection to his laws, to receive his orders, to seek his help, to pay him the tribute of praise, the calves of their lips. And forasmuch as all are obliged to these things, all are obliged to be present and attend, and to cast in their mite into this treasury. And therefore the people of God look on Christ’s standard in the world as fallen, when these assemblies are gone, as Elijah did, 1 Kings xix. 10.

3. Because these assemblies are the ordinary place where Christ makes his conquest of souls, Rom. x. 14.

‘ How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher?’ The gospel is Christ’s net wherein souls are catched. And it is always good to be in Christ's way. Who knows when that good word may come that may take hold of the man’s heart, and make him Christ’s prisoner, bound with the cords of love? A great number were catched at the first sermon preached after Christ’s ascension, and cried out ‘ What shall we do?’ Acts ii. 37. So Lydia hearing the apostle Paul, her heart was opened, Acts xvi. 14. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Happy are they that get the deepest wounds in this field, ‘ For the weapons of this warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,’ 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.

4. They are Christ’s trysting-place with his people, the galleries wherein our Lord walks, Exod. xx. 24. the mountains of myrrh, where he will be till the day break.

Those that mind for communion with God, should seek him there, and wait on him where he has promised to be found. What a disadvantage had Thomas by his absence from one meeting where Christ met with the rest of the disciples

5. The delights of Christ and his people meet there ; for ordinances are the heaven on earth.

Christ delights to be there with his people, Psal. lxxxvii. 2. ‘ The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob,’ Luke xxii. 15. ‘ With desire,’ said our Lord, I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.’ And they delight to be there with him, and for him. how passionately does David desire the ordinances ! Psal. lxxxiv. 1, 2.
How amiable are thy tabernacles, 0 Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.’ He prefers a day in God’s courts to a thousand ‘ I had rather,’ says he, ‘ be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.’ And again, ‘ One thing,’ says he, have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after,
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple,’ Psal. xxvii. 4. What good news was it to him to hear of an opportunity of waiting on God there! Psal. cxxii. 1. ‘ I was glad,’ says he, ‘ when they said unto me, Let us go up into the house of the Lord.’

Lastly, The necessities of all that mind for heaven require it.

Had the ordinances not been necessary. God would never have appointed them. And sure they are not more necessary for any than those that least see their need of them. these are the blind souls that have need to conic to the market of free grace, for that eye-salve that open the eyes of those that see not. Have not Christ’s soldiers need of them to clear their rusty armour? Do not dead souls need them to quicken them ? Sleepy souls, to awaken them ? They are the pools in the way to Zion, which the travellers to Zion have much need of to quench their thirst in their weary journey.

Surely the due consideration of these things may engage us all to make conscience of being all there present, as God gives opportunity.


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