David Sunday, pastor of New Covenant Bible Church in St. Charles, Illinois:
Friends, do you realize how vital it is to gather here together on the Lord’s Day, Sunday after Sunday? Satan loves to isolate us. This is a killer! Don’t neglect to gather together with God’s people in worship! You’re here today—but your presence here today is not just for today. It’s for five years from now. Twenty years from now. It’s for a time when you may find yourself alone in a cancer ward; or isolated from Christian fellowship in a desolate place; or in prison for your faith; or in terrible turmoil within your soul; or alone at home, in the middle of the night, after you’ve buried your loved one in the ground.
You cultivate the means of grace today for sustenance you may need way down the road.
There are seeds that are being planted today in your heart that may not blossom into full fruit until many days from now.
But your attendance in worship, your participation in baptism and the Lord’s Supper and confession and praise and thanksgiving and singing and intercession and hearing the preaching of God’s Word—it’s all being woven together by sovereign grace.
Through all these ordinary means of grace, God is weaving a tapestry of remembrance to sustain you in days to come, when your soul may be famished, when you may feel lost and alone—God will remind you then of something you heard, many years before; he will bring to your remembrance a song you had long since forgotten; a person who had taught you the Word of God; a face whose radiance in worship always inspired you; a faithful follower of Jesus who now has gone before you into his glorious presence—God will take sermons you’ve heard, and bear fruit from them in your life decades from now. You may not recall the exact content. But the good seed of God’s Word is being planted in the soil of your heart, and it will bear fruit in its season, just when you need it.
That’s why we meditate on the teachings of God in Scripture day and night. That’s why we gather in the house of God with the people of God week by week. We don’t do it just for the immediate benefit. We take the long view. We cultivate these rhythms of grace, we practice these disciplines of worship, so that when the years of drought come, we will remember: we will recall when our souls pour dry the days of praise within God’s house. And the very remembrance will sustain us.
The entire sermon, entitled “Preach the Gospel to Yourself When Your Soul Is Downcast,” is outstanding.