Here is another sermon my Dad, Rev. Jerry Trammell, preached at his church, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas, on June 6th, 2004.

Matthew 18:20

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

School is now out, and summer time has now come, and as in times past, I already see the prospects of another summertime slump on the horizon. Now I understand people taking vacations, and I certainly do not begrudge anyone their vacations. In fact, I would encourage you that when vacation time comes for you to go and spend that time with your family, and get away and relax. However, I do admonish you that while you are gone to find you a church to attend, because vacations doesn’t mean that we take vacations from God. For how would we like it if God took a vacation from us? How would we feel if we were faced with some kind of crisis, and we called out to the Lord for His help and assistance, only to find that God had decided to take some time off from us. I don’t think that we would enjoy that to well, because we want the Lord to be there when we want and need Him.

The thing that I struggle with every year at summertime it seems to me, that some of God’s people lose their prospective of things, and they get their priorities all mixed up. Often times in the summer, church and the things of God are put on hold by some, as they find other more important things to do, than put the Lord first. Too often, some of God’s people see summer as a time to play, instead of a time to pray. Church attendance slides because some find other things more important than being in the house of God. Let me encourage you dear friend, keep right priorities throughout these summer months and beyond.

We need to understand that when we miss church you are doing more than just missing; you are in essence missing out on the presence of the Lord. Notice with me that the text said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” When we as a body of believers gather together to worship the Lord, the presence of the Lord is here, this is God’s promise to us. I have no doubt but that the Lord shows up every time we gather together as a church body to worship Him. I believe my Scripture text clearly reveals this. Again I say to you, when you miss church, you are doing more than just that, you are missing out on the presence of the Lord.

I read a story one time about how one Christmas Eve the telephone rang in the office of the Pastor of a church in Washington D.C. that President Franklin Roosevelt attended. The man who called the Pastor asked, “Tell me Reverend, are you holding a Christmas Eve service tonight?” The Pastor said, “Yes, we always have service on Christmas Eve night, and we shall do so again this year.” Then the caller asked, “Well, Reverend, do you expect the President to attend your church tonight?” Now it was obvious that the caller was more interested in catching a glimpse of the President at the service than in going to church to worship the Lord. The Pastor, recognizing this said to the caller, “Well, I can’t promise that the President will be here or not as I do not know what his plans are. But I can say that I fully expect God to be in our church tonight, and I feel secure in the knowledge that His attendance will attract a reasonably large congregation.”

Oh church, the reason that we gather on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights is to meet with the Lord. And God shows up every time we gather, so I admonish you, DON’T MISS GOD’S PRESENCE.

Don’t allow distractions to keep you from the house of the Lord.

Keep the things of God your first priority 365 days a year, and don’t become so overly involved in anything, so that you forsake the presence of the Lord.

Absolutely nothing is more important than for you to remain faithful in the things of God every day of your life. Take your vacations, and enjoy every moment of it, you deserve that. But don’t let those activities keep you out of the house of God, and away from the presence of the Lord.

If you miss out enough on God’s presence you can very easily find yourself in a backslidden condition, and not ever know it. Its sad, but most people who are regularly absent from the presence of the Lord deceive themselves by justifying their unfaithfulness.

We need to realize how important church is. I’m reminded of a story of a 747 that was halfway across the Atlantic when the captain came on the loudspeaker and announced, “Attention everyone. We have just lost one of our four engines, but don’t worry, we can easily reach London with the three remaining engines. Unfortunately, we will arrive an hour late as a result.” The passengers thought, well that’s not bad. But then an hour later the captain’s voice was heard over the loud speader again, “This is your captain again, and I must inform you that we have just lost another engine, but don’t worry, we can still safely reach London, but we will arrive 2 hours late now.” And on it went when they lost the third engine and the captain added another 2 hours to the flight. At losing the third engine, one of the passengers became furious and said, “For Pete’s sake, if we lose another engine, we will be up here all night!”

That’s the way some Christians are who purposely miss the opportunity to worship in the presence of the Lord. Every time they miss, their spiritual progress is hindered, and they are not even aware of the danger they are in. They keep giving up precious time in the church with no thought of the possible consequences. They are not aware of how critical their absenteeism is to their spiritual life and spiritual survival.

Why is faithfully attending church so important?

The answer to that is simple, because when you are in the house of the Lord, you are in the presence of the Lord. The promise from our text is when people gather together to worship the Lord, the Lord is there amongst them. And in His presence come the revelation of how to live for and please the Lord. And also in His presence comes fulness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

Notice what the Psalmist said in Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) – You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The NLT puts it this way. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

If coming to church in order to be in His presence will reveal to us the path of life, it is more worth the effort to be in God’s house everytime the church house doors are open.

But there is another reason why we should be in the house of the Lord to enjoy His presence. That reason is the Word of God says that we should be.

Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

As you see the Day of the approaching of the coming of the Lord, it is even more needful and necessary that you are in the house of the Lord to receive strength and encouragment in the Lord. You cannot remain strong in the Lord by absenting yourself from His presence.

Not only that, you need the encouragment and strength that fellowshipping with other believers in the house of the Lord gives you.

Acts 2:42 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.