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Sunday, November 16, 2014 am                                Basics Index

 

BACK TO BASICS (37)
Worship – 4
When and Why We Need to Assemble

 Today we continue our study of worship.  This month we have addressed what worship is, the seriousness of worship and we have noted how we worship both publicly and privately.  Based on conversations following some of these lessons, clearly there is more study to be done and more to be said than can be covered in this time frame.  In our lesson this morning, we want to address 2 points: Why we assemble and when we assemble.

 I.                    When we assemble

a.        We need to assemble –

                                                   i.      As we understand what worship is about – glorifying God – it is something we ought to anticipate.  We have seen how David looked forward to such an occasion (Psa. 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’”)
Isaiah 2:2-3 prophesies of the beginning of the church/kingdom as recorded in Acts 2.  As the Lord’s house is established, we read, “Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”  Notice that they WANT to assemble!

                                                  ii.      Heb. 10:24-25 – we find a very specific command that calls for us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.   We also find a stern warning in vs. 26-31 which includes the one who abandons his brethren. 

                                                iii.      We will also see this as we discuss our next point – the first day of the week. 

b.       Upon the first day of the week

                                                   i.      BUT we do find the need to assemble on the first day of the week.  An important day for Christians.

1.       Upon this day Jesus arose from the dead - all 4 gospels attest to this – Matt.28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1.  It is because we serve a risen Savior that we are here today. 

2.       Upon this day the church began – Acts 2.
Acts 2:1 tells us It was Pentecost, also known as the feast of weeks (and Feast of Harvest). 
Leviticus 23:15-16 says, “‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.

On that day, the Holy Spirit fell upon the apostles (Ac 2:1-4);  The first gospel sermon proclaiming Jesus as Son of God and seated at the right hand of God was preached (2:22-36), 3000 souls obeyed the gospel.  The Lord began adding to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47)

3.       In scripture it is taught as a day of worship – Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2.  We have discussed this with both the Lord’s Supper and giving.  In Acts 20:6 we read that when Paul arrived at Troas, he stayed with them for 7 days and assembled with the saints there “on the first day of the week.”

4.       Because of these things we MUST assemble on the first day of the week. 

5.       Every first day of the week? Yes! A study of examples of assembling in scripture shows it was done every week.  The fact that a particular “first day of the week” is not mentioned implies we should assemble every first day of the week.
Paul in 1 Cor. 16:1-2 implied this.  1 Cor. 11 finds the assembling on a regular basis.  Acts 20:6-7, Paul waited 7 days and assembled “on the first day of the week.”
A study of the Sabbath helps us understand Biblical authority – “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8-10)  God did not have to say “every Sabbath” for them to understand that.  Whenever there was a Sabbath they were to “remember” it.  Similarly, as often as we have a “first day of the week” we should do what we are told to do on that day – assemble to worship.

c.        What about other assemblies – Sunday night, Wednesdays, Gospel Meetings, etc.?

                                                   i.      It is always a challenge to discuss this because we do not have a direct statement about any service other than the saints assembling on the first day of the week, and even that is not said in those words.  This has prompted some to view such assemblies as optional. 
However, there is nothing in scripture to limit our assembling only once on the first day of the week.  NOR is there anything that mandates multiple assemblies.  And therein lies the challenge on their importance. 

                                                  ii.      Note that Hebrews 10:25 is not limited to “the first day of the week” either.   It says, “not forsaking the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together…” which does not specify a particular assembly but rather WHEN we assemble.   The ESV translates this phrase, “not neglecting to meet together.

                                                iii.      Passages such as Galatians 6:9 which challenges us to not grow wearing doing good & Titus 2:14 which calls for us to be “zealous for good works” demonstrate how we OUGHT TO desire to do good things which will draw us closer to God and one another. 
Can anyone deny that a Wednesday night Bible study is a good work?  What about meeting again on Sunday evening?

                                                iv.      Acts 2:42 tells us that the disciples continued steadfastly in the various acts of worship listed in that text.  Vs. 46 notes that daily they continued in on accord in the temple and from house to house.  They PREFERRED one another. 

                                                  v.      We ought to WANT to be with our brethren and to encourage one another.  AGAIN, recall Heb. 10:24-25, the context.  We are to consider one another and exhort one another.  Heb. 3:13 calls for us to exhort “one another daily…”  While this exhortation is broader than the assembling of saints, it does include such. 
1 Thess. 5:11 calls for us to comfort and edify one another.
MOST of us need the encouragement and support of our brethren.  AND if for some reason you don’t, consider this: Since you are so strong, WE NEED YOU!  I can use the help of those who have got it all figured out, and I am fairly certain I am not alone!

                                                vi.      Typically, when one is seeking to explain away their need to assemble more than once a week it is an indicator of a deeper issues – one of priorities. 
To those who ask if it is necessary to attend these other assemblies, or more accurately they seek justification to AVOID them – I ask WHY?  IF we are to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and if we are to prefer to be with our brethren as we have shown – WHY would one NOT want to be here at every possible opportunity?

                                               vii.      So I ask: Will people not make it to heaven because they intentionally miss Bible study on Wednesday nights?  NO!  But some will NOT make it to heaven because God is NOT the priority He ought to be in their lives, and their lack of attendance COULD BE a symptom of that.

                                             viii.      Thought: There is something to be said about a church mandating standards that are very difficult to keep.   We ought not make it more difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 23:13).   BUT on the other hand, should a church be so lax that all they seek to provide or expect of its members is the bare minimum?  Is that really making her the pillar and ground of truth? (1 Tim. 3:15)   Is that enough to ground its members so that they will not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine?  (Eph. 4:13-16)

 

 II.                  Why We Assemble

a.        Because it is commanded 

                                                   i.      As we have noted above, we have command to assemble we should need no other reason. (Hebrews 10:25) 

                                                  ii.      Is it a command or a privilege?  As we have been discussing in this lesson, we ought not to view our assemblies simply as an obligation.  Why not view it as BOTH?  The assembly is something we GET to do!  Psalm 95:1-7 describes an attitude of anticipation.    

b.       Because God is worthy to be praised - just as we have discussed that God is to be reverenced, He is worthy of our praise. 
psalm 18:3,
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
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.” (Hebrews 13:15)

c.        To edify one another

                                                   i.      Edify means to build up, to strengthen, to make more able. (LN 74.15)  It is a term that in scripture is always used in a spiritual context.   One of the ways we edify one another is through assembling.

                                                  ii.      1 Corinthians 14:12, “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

1 Corinthians 14:26, “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

                                                iii.      To be edified  and to edify other.  This is a 2 way street.   We need to be built up and we need to build up our brethren.  That happens as Paul said in Ephesians 4:16, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. EVERY PART does His share.

                                                iv.      I frequently emphasize that the primary goal of worship is to glorify and praise God.  We do this by following His instructions.  But God, in His infinite wisdom which is far greater than ours, gave us instructions that no only glorify Him but also builds us up.  When we sing we teach and admonish one another, we pray together, we study and are strengthened in the word together (cf. Eph. 4:11-16), etc.   WE ARE BUILT UP.  WE need this and God says we do!

d.       To be a good example to the world

                                                   i.      What this broken world needs to see is MORE devotion and sacrifice to God.  One way that is manifested is by our assembling.  The world needs to see that God is more important to us than NFL football and whatever else one could be doing on Sundays.  They need to see our light shining publicly by choosing Him over worldly pleasures and pursuits.

                                                  ii.      1 Cor. 11:26, while speaking of the Lord’s Supper, reminds us that when we do it properly, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He returns.  To whom are we proclaiming that?  First to our brethren, but also our habitual presence is a testimony to the world that this IS important. 

                                                iii.      The same could be said of EVERY assembly.  And if you are living the life of a Christian (not a Sunday only Christian) they will see how this is a part of what makes you spiritually strong.

 

And thus we can see the importance of assembling.  It is important to follow God’s instructions AND it is important to understand WHY we are here and to seek to do our part in fulfilling these reasons.  May our worship be pleasing to God.  But worshipping Him can only be helpful to you eternally IF you obey the gospel and remain faithful.  If you have not done this, we invite you this morning to take whatever steps you need.