When we hear the word attendance, we most likely think of those who are present and accounted for. The KJV Bible uses this word “attendance” twice. One occurrence is Hebrews 7:13-14 and deals with those “present” at the altar under the Old Testament Law. In fact, this passage deals specifically with one who could not and would not “attend” to the things of the altar. This is because the passage speaks of Jesus and we know that the Christ was of the tribe of Judah. The O.T. Law provided that the priestly tribe was the tribe of Levi. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Another passage often quoted and used relative to “attendance” is found in Hebrews 10:25 and definitely deals with the “presence” of brethren. 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. Let us be clear that the context of this passage is a warning to those contemplating a return to the Law of Moses under which they lived for a number of years. We know this as verse 26 and 27 points out the fallacy of returning to a “religion” (the Old Testament Law) wherein sacrifices were offered, but included no sacrifice that provided for the total remission of sins, and the result of returning to it. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. This principle also applies today regarding our presence, or lack of, when the brethren assemble for public worship. Those who willfully do not “attend” Bible classes, worship services, and gospel meetings, are sinning. There is no getting around the fact that when one willfully forsakes the assembly they have become adversaries of God and Christ. Fiery indignation of God will devour His adversaries, regardless of the reason they are against Him.
Jesus stated in Matthew 12:30 that one cannot be against Him and for Him at the same time. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Those who are against God are indeed His adversaries.
There is another point that needs to be stated when it comes to attendance (or the lack thereof) in the services of the church. Lack of attendance is a problem at times with some members of the church, but more importantly lack of attendance is also a symptom of a problem or multiple problems that exists in the lives of those who do not attend when they could be there.
This brings us to the second occurrence of “attendance” in the KJV. Paul writes to Timothy and instructs him (and us) in 1 Timothy 4:13 to that in which we are to be involved, present in and making provision for. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. These are three things in which all Christians are to be involved on a very regular basis. The word “attendance” here is in other translations given as: give heed to, devote yourself to, or give attention to. All of these things are of utmost importance to a faithful Christian. The Reading (and hearing) the Word of God provides faith (Romans 10:17). The Exhortation provides encouragement to our brethren to be faithful and encourages those outside of Christ to be obedient. And Doctrine provides the teaching and instruction from the Word of God. Those who “attend” to reading, exhortation, and doctrine are the ones that you will always find in services, involved with the work of the church, and encouraging those in and out of the body as needed. Let us all focus, give heed, devote, give attention to, and attend to reading, exhortation, doctrine and attendance so that all will know of our love devotion and adoration toward God and whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: Hebrews 12:28
Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ