JC Ryle on Not Regularly Attending Church
Dear Church family,
I hope that each family and every member of Grace reads the words of Ryle and takes them to heart. May we apply these words to our own hearts and habits! May every head of every family examine himself in light of these words.
J.C.Ryle on How much Christians may lose by not regularly attending the assemblies of God’s people (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 4, Jn. 20:24-31).
We should mark, for one thing, in these verses, how much Christians may lose by not regularly attending the assemblies of God’s people. Thomas was absent the first time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and consequently Thomas missed a blessing. Of course we have no certain proof that the absence of the Apostle could not admit of explanation.
Yet, at such a crisis in the lives of the eleven, it seems highly improbable that he had any good reason for not being with his brethren, and it is far more likely that in some way he was to blame. One thing, at any rate, is clear and plain. By being absent he was kept in suspense and unbelief a whole week, while all around him were rejoicing in the thought of a risen
Lord. It is difficult to suppose that this would have been the case, if there had not been a fault somewhere. It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Thomas was absent when he might have been present.
We shall all do well to remember the charge of the Apostle St. Paul, “Forsake not the assembling of you together, as the manner of some is.” (Heb.10:25)
Never to be absent from God’s house on Sundays, without good reason,-never to miss the Lord’s Supper when administered in our own congregation,-never to let our place be empty when means of grace are going on, this is one way to be a growing and prosperous Christian. The very sermon that we needlessly miss, may contain a precious word in season for our souls. The very
assembly for prayer and praise from which we stay away, may be the very gathering that would have cheered, and established, and quickened our hearts. We little know how dependent our spiritual health is on little, regular, habitual helps, and how much we suffer if we miss our medicine. The wretched argument that many attend means of grace and are no better for them,
should be no argument to a Christian. It may satisfy those who are blind to their own stake, and destitute of grace, but it should never satisfy a real servant of Christ. Such an one should remember the words of Solomon: “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” (Prov. 8:34.) Above all he should bind around his heart the Master’s promise :” Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20.) Such a man will rarely be left like Thomas, shut out in the cold chill of unbelief, while others are warmed and filled.