by Steven Chan
14 September 2008
Christians meet together on a regular basis. It is the purpose of this article to briefly discuss why Christians assemble together regularly so that we may review how we do what we do when we are assembled together.
Christians assemble because they are commanded to do so:
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.” In this passage the Bible refers to the practice of Christians assembling together and that we are not to forsake such assembling. Hence, Christian assembly is not an optional matter for us. It is a requirement of the Word of God.
Christians assemble to consider “one another” so as to stimulate one another unto further love and good works.
According to Bro Wayne Jackson, the word “consider” in Heb.10:24 emphasizes the intense and abiding reciprocal concern and mutual helpfulness that must prevail among Christians. How would Christians be able to fulfill the requirements of the “One Another” passages of the Bible UNLESS they are gathered together regularly so that they can CONSIDER One Another? Do we ever consider one another to stimulate one another unto further love and good works? The Bible exhorts us Phil 2:4: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” How are we able to look into the interests of others when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together?
Christians Assemble to Make Believers out of Unbelievers.
1 Cor 14:23-25: “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
In the afore-stated passage, the Bible tells us that unbelievers are to be expected in our assemblies and that when they are in our assemblies, their experience should be such that they will learn of God and His Will and will be convinced, convicted and then be converted. Hence, we should pay attention to what we do during our assemblies especially as regards its impact on unbelievers: will they be convinced, convicted and be converted by what we do? Are our teachings clear and unequivocal and represent the oracle of God? Are our singing and prayers in spirit and with understanding? Do visitors recognize that God is in our midst? Will we encourage them to become true worshippers of God because of how we worship our God?
Christian Assemble for Edification of Brethren
1 Cor 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.” 1 Cor 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 Cor 14:5: “the church may receive edification. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word edification means to build up or “promoting the spiritual growth and development of character of believers, by teaching or by example”. ” Consider: how do you hope to edify the church if you are not there? Conversely, how do you hope to be edified if you are missing from the assembly of the saints?
Christians Assemble to be Taught & to be Encouraged.
1 Cor 14:31: “that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” 1 Cor 14:19: “yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also” If you do not assemble, how can you be “in the church” as in I Cor 14:19 and how would you be able to learn and to be encouraged?
Christians Assemble on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
Acts 20:7: “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 is not a mere incidental – it tells us WHEN the Disciples CAME together and WHY they came together! It highlights the practice of the early Christians to partake the Lord’s Supper on the 1st day of every week.
Christians Assemble on the first day of the week to Contribute to the Treasury.
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.” Both the NASB and NIV translates accurately this passage as “on the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save”. It is NOT just one first day but “1st Day of EVERY WEEK” as that was clearly the practice of the early Christians as was also alluded to in Acts 20:7.
Christians also Assemble to Discipline the Disorderly.
1 Cor 5:4-5: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (similar idea expressed in Matt. 18:17).
It is important to note that thus far the Bible has not suggested in any way that the assembling of Christians is to entertain the members with a great show or drama or performance. It is for edification and encouragement of the saints in the building up of their faith through teaching, singing, praying, and on every first day of the week to also partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ and to contribute to the treasury of the church to meet the needs of the saints.
Christians assemble not just because it is commanded but because it is for our own spiritual well-being and also for us to look into the well-being of others. Why wouldn’t we want to be assembled together as often as we can? The early Christians met almost daily: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47)