Churches should gather for corporate worship on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. And Christians should gather with their churches on the Lord’s Day. If you are on vacation, and not able to gather with your own church on the Lord’s Day, you should find a church to gather with and worship with on the Lord’s Day. We should do whatever it takes to worship with God’s people on the Lord’s Day. If this is not the direction of your life, you are disobeying God.
Is there any biblical warrant for this? Here is my best crack at it:
- Forsaking the Lord’s Day gathering is forsaking the assembly (Hebrews 10.25)- yes, Hebrews 10 applies to more than the Lord’s Day gathering, but not less. When does your church gather? The whole church, I mean. Is it not Sunday, the Lord’s Day? Don’t you want Christian unity? Christians forsaking the Lord’s Day assembly is more divisive than anything else I can think of.
- Forsaking the Lord’s Day gathering is disobedience to your leaders (Hebrews 13.17)- yes, Hebrews 13 applies to more than the Lord’s Day gathering, but not less. Ask any elder at your church, “do you want me to gather for worship on the Lord’s Day?” If they say “yes!” then obey your leaders, and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your soul. Let them do this with joy, and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
- Worship is the natural and appropriate response to the resurrection (Matthew 28.1-10)- Matthew specifically points out it was the day after the Sabbath, the first day of the week, that Jesus rose from the dead. The angel told the women that Jesus had risen, and to go tell the other disciples. As they went, Jesus met them on the way. As soon as they saw him, they “worshiped him.” Later when the Eleven saw him, they “worshiped him” (v16). Worship is natural, and appropriate, for a risen Messiah. When you wake up on Sundays, on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, what do you feel like doing? (if you say, “why not everyday?” I am not arguing against worship gatherings everyday; I am simply arguing FOR worship gatherings on the Lord’s Day)
- Worship is religious devotion (John 2.13-22)- First note that all the offerings and sacrifices of the OT are acts of worship. There were “religious” acts of devotion that Noah, Abraham, and Moses and Aaron performed before the LORD. Then read John 2 carefully. Jesus cleansed the temple because the Jews turned it into a “house of trade.” In John 2, Jesus did not show anger toward sinful trade, but in mixing the holy and the common. In other words, there was nothing inherently sinful about “selling oxen and sheep and pigeons”; it was sinful because they were doing it in the house of worship. Jesus wants to guard “worship.” Yes, worship is not only what we do on the Lord’s Day; yes, religious acts on Sundays can be done from rote memorization and your hearts can be far from him; yes, just because you show up on Sundays doesn’t make you a Christian…
…but those who love Jesus do respond to him with actual acts of devotion, from the heart, but with our lips and our hands. We do want to offer sacrifices of praise and offer up prayers that will be a pleasing aroma to Him. We do want our meditations to be pleasing in His sight. And we do want to submit to God’s chosen order of days– so whatever He says is the first day of the week should be the day we devote the week to Him.