‘Once-ers’

Our church just moved its Sunday Evening Prayer Meetings to a different time slot – the first Wednesdays of the month at night – in hopes of broader church-wide participation. Last night after Prayer Meeting I came home and was reading a little in D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching & Preachers. He was talking about people who only attend one church service each week.

“They generally attend on Sunday morning only; they have become ‘once-ers’ as they are called.”

“What do we say to such people?” Lloyd-Jones asks.

He answers:

We must convince them of the importance of being present at every service of the church. Every service! Why? The first answer… is that if they are not present at every service they may well find one day that they were not present when something really remarkable took place….

So I say to these ‘once-ers’, if you do not come to every service you may live to find a day when people will tell you of an amazing experience in a service on a Sunday night or a Sunday morning – and you were not there, you missed it. In other words we should create this spirit of expectation in the people and show them the danger of missing some wonderful ‘times of refreshing… from the presence of the Lord’ (Acts 3:19).

That should be followed by a question: Why is it that any Christian should not long for as much of this as he can possibly get? Surely this is quite unnatural. It is certainly un-scriptural. Take the way in which the Psalmist in Psalm 84 expresses his misery and sorrow because he could not go up with the others to the House of the Lord. ‘How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts!’ ‘My soul longeth, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.’ He thinks then of those who are having the privilege: ‘Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee.’ He things of them with envy because he cannot be with them. Nothing is comparable to being in the House of God. ‘A day in thy courts is better than a thousand…’ Surely this ought to be instinctive in the true Christian. There is something seriously wrong spiritually with anyone who claims to be a Christian who does not desire to have all that can be obtained from the ministry of the Church.

From D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching & Preachers: 40th Anniversary Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 165-66.

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