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SUMMER SINS
Remembering God While On Vacation

              We have a begun a study of some sins associated with summer time.  Obviously, these are not exclusive to this season, because sin is always sin.  But during the summer time, the opportunities for particular sins are more prevalent because of opportunity.  In our last lesson, we began our study by noting the dangers of immodesty due to the hot temperatures.  In this article we want to notice the importance of remembering God even when we are on vacation.

                The summer season, because school is out and attractions are open and more accessible, is traditionally the time when families take vacations.  Sometimes we plan to go visit family and at other times we simply go and see things we do not normally get to see.  Vacations are good and needed from time to time.  Rest is a Biblical subject.   But when you go on vacation, do you take a vacation FROM God? 

As you are planning your vacation do you first seek to see if a faithful congregation is available where you are going?  There are some who give little or no thought to worshipping God while on vacation.  Perhaps some reason that since they are away from home they are under no obligation to worship Him, especially to find a congregation to assemble with.  Let us think about this for a few moments.

 Þ   We are commanded to assemble.  Heb. 10:24-25 still says, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. We often emphasize that this text does NOT speak of a particular weekly assembly, but WHENEVER we assemble together.  That is why you ought to consider this verse every time we meet.  We don’t need to go into all the reasons why one should WANT to assemble with brethren as often as possible, but I do want to mention that we SHOULD consider this verse even while on vacation.   This becomes even clearer when we consider WHY we are assembling.   

 Þ   Who are you worshipping? The primary reason we assemble is to worship God – every act of worship directed toward Him (as a benefit, we are edified).  Mark Roberts in an article dealing with this noted, “God is not a hometown.”  The point being that if your see the primary reason for assembling is to worship God, that is not going to be nullified just because you are away from home.  You ought to WANT to include Him in your travels. 

To further emphasize this, please consider the following: 

We ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the 1st day of the week (Acts 20:7).  That is an act that is designed to be done when we assemble together (see 1 Cor. 11:17-34, esp. 33, also 22, etc.).  It is not exclusive to when you are home.  Even Paul, WHILE TRAVELING, assembled with the saints at Troas and partook of the Lord’s Supper with them (Acts 20:6-7).

Matt. 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”  Is God a priority in your life at all times?  If He is, would you not WANT to render worship to Him, even while away from home?  We don’t take a vacation from seeking God first.  That is why we consider Him in every aspect – where we go, what we do, when we go, etc.

Will we sacrifice for Him?  We are so blessed to live under a Law where we are not required to offer animal sacrifices.  But that doesn’t mean we do not offer sacrifices.  Romans 12:1-2 tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.  This according with putting God first.  It is a text that tells us, if He is our Master (cf. Rom. 6:16-18, 22), we WILL give up whatever hinders us from serving Him.  It also means we will give Him that which is precious to us in our lives –including our time.  There is a real sense in which our time of assembly on a regular basis is a sacrifice – we could be doing other things, especially since it is the weekend or evening.  The Hebrew writer gives us an example saying, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is,  the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”(Heb. 13:15-16)    For some assembling comes without question – you can count on them to be there every chance they get – they simply won’t let worldly pleasures and wants get in the way of being here.  BUT, for others, they might find any and every reason (or shall we say excuse) to NOT assemble.  I ask you to consider, if you have given God your Sundays and other services when you are at home, does He not still deserve them when you are on vacation?

Friends, you know the importance of worshipping God.  Don’t let a vacation diminish that.

 Þ  It makes a huge impact on our children.  Our children need strong examples of faithfulness to God.  As parents we have been entrusted with a soul that will spend eternity somewhere.  More than anyone else, parents have the greatest opportunity to influence the direction of their children as they grow up.   And parents are given examples and commanded to strive to raise godly children (Eph. 6:4, Prov. 22:6, 2 Tim. 3:15, etc.).   I sometimes call the way we attend worship services a “spiritual indicator” meaning something that you can look at which gives you a good indication of how important God really is (others include prayer, Bible study, caring for others, etc.).  Certainly, our assembling is not all there is to being a Christian, but because of its public nature it speaks to OTHERS about how important God really is to you.  And those “others” would certainly include your children.  Do your children observe CONSISTENT faithful attendance? Do you attend every time you can while at home? Do you miss the assemblies while on vacation?  If so, I will guarantee your children notice.  In my 25+ years of preaching, I have observed more than a few examples of parent’s attendance habits.  I have seen faithful parents who were there every time and their children followed their example.  And I have seen the examples of parents who attended poorly and so did their children when they left home.  In fact, parents who attend poorly RARELY have children who attend faithfully.  If we truly care about the souls of our children, we are going to do EVERYTHING we can to turn them in the right direction.  Friends, that HAS TO include the church being important to you.   Your children need to see that while on vacation as well as when you are home.

 Þ Brethren in other places are edified by our presence.  There is great encouragement when visitors come our way.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see visitors, especially on vacation, who take the time to assemble with the saints.  It shows that they have taken God with them on their vacation.   Is there any doubt that God is pleased with such conduct?  This is true in any congregation striving to stand for the truth and ESPECIALLY true in smaller congregations.  There is no “down side” to taking the time to assemble and giving God your Sundays while on vacation.

 You get to meet your brethren who are striving to serve God in other places.  Quite often you meet brethren who know brethren you know.  Someone once said after meeting someone who knew their fellow brethren, “Boy it’s a small world” to which the other replied, “It’s a big family.”  In the Bible we find evidence of brethren caring about their brethren in other cities (they passed around letters, they helped with needs, they visited other places – cf. Paul, Apollos, Phoebe (Rom 16:1), etc.)

You get to hear the word of God from a different perspective.  And you get to worship with brethren in those locations.

You never know what an encouragement you are to them.  They may be struggling with discouragement, and a smiling face may brighten their day.  This is especially true overseas where preachers are struggling with a handful of saints.  I ask you to again consider Hebrews 10:24 here, “Let us CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another…”   By assembling with other brethren, can you exhort and stir them up to love?

Truly, we ought to give consideration to other brethren as we plan our vacations. 

 Þ Don’t forget about giving!  Another point I would like to briefly mention is that when you go on vacation, don’t forget your contribution back home.  1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 9 still applies even though we are away.  If a congregation has needs (and which one doesn’t) they depend upon consistent contributions to fulfill those needs.  They budget based upon how brethren give.  When you leave for vacation, the needs of the local work are still there.  For many of us, the amount spend on vacation is astronomical compared to what we “lay by in store” on a weekly basis.   What if you have to “sacrifice” a little on vacation so that you can make sure your brethren at home are taken care of?  What if, in that little congregation you give a little to them too to help them?  Will such really hurt you?  Or will it help you feel better (in a good way) knowing that in you abundant blessings, you are privileged to share with others. 

 Conclusion: And thus we can see some things to consider about assembling with other brethren while on vacation.  IF you are blessed with time for a vacation, don’t take a vacation God at the same time.  He deserves better than that.  Even while away, He still deserves you BEST!  Think about it!