Be regular in going to church, whenever it is open for prayer and preaching, and it is in your power to attend.
I would not want to leave any false impression on your minds. Do not go away and say I told you that going to church made up the whole of Christianity. I will tell you no such thing. I have no wish to see you grow up formalists and Pharisees.
If you think the mere carrying of your body to a certain building, at certain times, on a certain day in the week, will make you a Christian, and prepare you to meet God, I tell you flatly you are miserably deceived. All services without heart-service are unprofitable and vain. They only are true worshipers who “worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23).
The practices of Christianity are not to be despised because they are not saviors.
Gold is not food, you cannot eat it, but you would not say it is useless, and throw it away. Your soul’s eternal well-being most certainly does not depend on the practices of Christianity, but it is certain that without them, as a general rule, your soul will not do well.
God works by means, and it is His law and will that in all man’s dealings with Him means shall be used. No one but a fool would think of building a house without ladders and scaffolding, and just so no wise man will despise means.
Do not let your mind be filled with arguments against the practices of Christianity. Satan will draw your attention to the numbers of persons who use them and are no better for the using. “See there,” he will whisper, “do you not observe that those who go to church are no better than those who stay away?” But do not let this move you.
It is never fair to argue against a thing because it is improperly used. It does not follow that the practices of Christianity can do no good because many do them and get no good from them. Medicine is not to be despised because many take it and do not recover their health. No man would think of giving up eating, and drinking because others choose to eat and drink improperly, and so make themselves sick. The value of the practices of Christianity, like other things, depends, in a great measure, on the manner and spirit in which we use them.
Resolve not to miss church on Sunday and the fellowship of God’s people.
Do not let the plausible argument of “needing to sleep-in to rest your body,” do not let not the example of all those around you, do not let the invitation of companions pull you away from fellowship and worship; let none of these things move you to depart from this settled rule, that Sunday’s are for God’s honor and for fellowship with His people.
Begin with not honoring the Lord’s Day, and you will soon not honor God’s people; cease to honor God’s book; and in time you will give God no honor at all.
Settle down under a faithful ministry, and once settled, let your place in church never be empty. … And one thing is very certain, your feelings about Sunday and the fellowship will always be a test and criterion of your fitness for heaven. Fellowship and worship are a foretaste and a fragment of heaven. The man who finds them a burden and not a privilege, may be sure that his heart stands in need of a mighty change.
—J. C. Ryle