by Steven Chan
7 September 2008
About 17 brethren from Klang attended the 19th Restoration Seminar held at the premises of the Subang Jaya Church of Christ. A total of about 100 brethren attended the Seminar with some brethren coming as far as from Singapore.
This year’s theme was Restoring the Bible Doctrine of Worship Assembly on the First Day of the Week. The need for discussion on this important theme is apparent as some believers have somehow concluded that worship on the first day of the week is an optional matter and they feel that it would be okay to have the Lord’s Supper on any day other than Sunday. There is therefore a need to re-examine what the Bible has to say on this subject. What the Bible says remain unchanged although some have grown beyond what the Bible says.
The Bible says in Heb 10:24-25: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” It is clear that the Bible COMMANDS that we are NOT TO FORSAKE the assembling of ourselves together. This implies that there is a command for Christians to assemble together. Although we do not find a direct statement that states that Christians are required to assemble, the command is necessarily inferred from the statement in Heb 10:25 when it states that Christians are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. So when brethren demands that only direct statements are binding and we are not to rely on necessary inference as a means of ascertaining Bible authority, then they veer away from the truth with regards to many teachings and practices of the Bible including the need to assemble on the First Day of the Every Week.
Although Heb. 10:25 does not state the day when Christians are to assemble, it is nonetheless apparent from the example provided by the apostles and early Christians that they assembled together frequently but more specifically, on every first day of the week. Acts 20:7 states their practice: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” This afore-stated verse tells us WHEN they met and WHY they met. It states the “WHEN” of disciples coming together – it was on the first day of the week. It states the “WHY” of the disciples coming together on the first day of the week: they came together to break bread, i.e. to partake the Lord’s Supper. Thus from their approved example, we learn that Christians are to meet together on the 1st day of every week to partake the Lord’s Supper. The fact that it was indeed their practice to meet on the 1st Day of the Week is also established by another example provided in 1 Cor 16:1-2: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” In this account the apostle Paul states that they are to contribute their funds into the church treasury (for the support of the needy saints – the work of the church) on the first day of the week. It is necessarily inferred from that verse that it was the practice of the early Christians to gather together on the 1st day of the week to partake the Lord’s Supper (and thereby worship Him) and hence, they are also to make their contributions or offerings on the same day. Why on the 1st day of the week? It was the day when the Lord was raised from the dead (Matt. 28:1). The first day of the week later became known as the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10) just as the breaking of bread was later referred to as the Lord’s Supper (I Cor 11:20).
The practice of Christians meeting together on the First Day of the Week is also verified by the writings of the early Christians. For example, from the “Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter XIV (90 AD), “but every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.”
First apology of Justin Martyr, Weekly Worship of the Christians, Ch 68 (150 AD): “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.
For those brethren who reject the inference of the need for such a practice from approved Bible examples, they have exercised their personal liberty to assemble on any other day other than the 1st day of the week to partake the Lord’s Supper. To such brethren, we can only appeal to them to realize that they have no authority whatsoever to do as they like – they have neither precept nor approved examples for them to partake the Lord’s Supper on any day other than the 1st Day of the Week.
We would like to thank the Subang brethren for hosting the Restoration Seminar and especially Dato Yeow and Datin Amy for graciously funding the entire program including a sumptuous lunch. There was great fellowship among brethren. Indeed as the Bible says in Ps 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”