Why Does the Church Meet?
Many NT passages refer to churches assembling together for regular worship. The word translated church (Ekklesia) means called-out or assembled. Just by definition I cannot be a part of a called-out, an assembly if I am not there. But why is assembling important? Why do I need to attend assemblies?
- We Assemble to Worship God (Joh 4:23-24). When we understand that we are “saved by Grace” we desire to praise the God Who Saves (Rom 15:9-11). Our mentality changes from “Do I have to come every time?” to “I GET to come worship.”
- We Assemble to Receive and Give Instruction. A chiald of God will hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mat 5:6). She will want to edify, encourage, and build up others (1Th 5:11). When church leaders set times for us to assemble for these purposes, we should participate.
- We Assemble to Set a Good Example. Whether we are older Christians or younger ones (1Ti 4:12; Mat 5:16) we set an example to others. Consider this thought, “If others followed the example I set by my assembly habits, would they learn enough and receive enough encouragement toward eternal life?”
- We Assemble to Follow the Faithful. Paul says to imitate his life in Christ (1Co 11:1). Can you imagine Paul failing to assemble with the church? What would we think of elders or the preacher if they neglected attending? Would Jesus neglect an opportunity to study with others or to worship the Father?
- We Assemble Because of God’s Place in Our Lives. We Belong to God not self (1Co 6:19-20). Christ does not want first place, He is our life when we are His (Col 3:4). Am I willing to rearrange my schedule for the One who saves me, the One who gave six hours on the cross deserves more than just a few hours of my time?
- We Assemble to Prepare for Heaven (Rev 5:11-14). The one thing on earth that will be in heaven is our public worship. It willl be perfected in heaven. But if I do not want to worship now, why would I expect to enjoy heaven?
Buildings, attendance, history, social programs, benevolence programs, outreach efforts, mission events, youth or children’s ministries, and membership involvement opportunities. These are many of the suggestions I read about from church growth experts on a regular basis. Admittedly, each one of these has merit. Yet, even if a church is doing all these things, they could be like the church in Sardis having “the reputation of being alive, but (being) dead.” (Rev 3:1).
Further, as I look at these ideas, I realize a group does not have to be a church to have or do them. They can be a group called, “The Society of People Making Life Better for Others” the SPMLBO. There must be something about being Christ’s Church that should make us unique. There must be something that makes us greater.
What makes for a great church?
- A great church has Purpose; a Great Purpose. That purpose is to make known the good news of salvation through the blood of Jesus the Christ. It is this Gospel message that makes us unique (cf. Act 1:8, 2:21-36, 1Co 15:1-4).
- A great church has Power; the Great Power of God. The same power that spoke the universe into existence. The same power that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The power that parted the Red Sea, the Jordan, and raised Jesus from the grave is the power of God that He uses for our blessing and benefit so that we can fulfill our purpose. (cf. Eph 2:20-21, Phil 4:13).
- A great church as Passion; great passion to work God’s great purpose. God will accomplish His purpose and willingly provides the power we need, if we have the passion to work His will. (cf. Est 4:13-14, Eph 2:8-10). We need passion to seek and save the lost. We need passion to help those in need. Passion is necessary to keep each other strong. A sacrificial lifestyle takes a strong convicting passion. This is who Jesus was and what He calls us too.
- Will you be part of making the Church great?
This coming Sunday at Central, we will complete a series from 1 Peter entitled, “Christ-Centered Christians.” Of these fives chapters the lesson that stands out to me is from 1 Peter 2 when the apostle describes Christians with these terms:
- a holy priesthood
A certain former child I know, being . . . different.
- a chosen race
- A royal priesthood
- a holy nation
- a people of God’s own possession
- God’s people.
As God’s people, as the Church, God has called us out of the world and into the Kingdom of His Son. God separates us as His children as a special people for a special purpose. As separate we are DIFFERENT!
- Different by Birth. We are “born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (1Pe 1:23). So as “newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation,” (1Pe 2:2). Our birth is different. We are not children of God by the right of nationality (Americans or Israelis). We are not children of God through our physical families. But we are His family by obedience to His Word.
- Different by Belief. We believe in the Stone the builders rejected. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed of God, God’s Son by birth, and therefore the only hope and Savior of sinful man. (1Pe 2:7). Jesus is more that man or prophet, He is the only way to God (John 14:6).
- Different by Behavior. Look at Peter’s own words, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1Pe 2:11-12). We are different in the way we act. We are to avoid what endangers our soul. We are to conduct ourselves with honesty, fairness, caution, righteousness, love, and in a general Christ-like manner. People will see our difference. We will be a shining light in a world darkened by sin (Mat 5:14-16).
So I dare you. I double dare you. No I double dog dare you to be different. I challenge you to live daily for Christ.
Here is an invitation to you to join us at Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa for Bible Study and Worship this Sunday. Our Theme for the series we are studying is Christ Centered Christians. Sunday’s lesson is on Suffering as Christians. Come join us.
From a purely doctrinal and linguistic point of view, the church is those called out by God. The word translated church is a word describing a group of purposefully assembled people. But that is not the answer I wanted to share to today’s question.
What is the Church?
According to the writers of the New Covenant as guided by the Holy Spirit the Church is:
- The Bride of Christ – Eph 5:32
- The Household of God – 1 Tim 3:15
- The Body of Christ – Col 1:22-23
- The present Kingdom – Mat 16:18; Col 1:13
Yet, there is more to the concept of the church. The church is:
- People who belong to (are in) Christ.
- People who stand saved by Grace through Faith.
- Imperfect people trying to glorify a perfect God.
- Worshippers of the God of Salvation.
- Sinners Anonymous – well not so anonymous come to think of it.
- People who encourage each other and receive encouragement – Heb 3:13.
- People of Prayer
- People committed to Christ and His mission – Luk 19:10.
Are you in His Church?
I know, what preacher in his right mind would title a post this way, and why even make such a suggestion?! Well, I am not sure why a preacher in his right mind would do that. However, I will proceed with a list of why you should not go to church. And I refuse to include, “You can’t go to church because the church is you.” Wait, I just did.
Do not go to church:
- Because others expect you to (parents, spouses, elders, preacher).
- Because you like your Bible class teacher.
- To see how everyone is dressed.
- To sooth your conscience.
- To hear the latest gossip.
- Because you have the best preacher in town.
- To network for business.
- Because you think your church is better than the one across town.
- For an emotional high brought on by the song service, music, etc.
- For a better life.
Niceville Church of Christ (a previous work) Image: google earth
The following are great reasons to assemble with fellow Christians at every opportunity:
- To encourage each other to live for God – Heb 10:24-25.
- To worship God, the true audience of our worship – Joh 4:24.
- To remember the sacrifice the Christ made for us – Act 20:7
- Because of God.
What would you add to either list?
Filed under church, worship
If you have ever been a part of classes I teach, when I teach a narrative passage you are familiar with these questions. They work great in individual study as well.
Originally posted on The Morning Drive:
If the Bible is worthy reading and studying, we owe it to ourselves to know how to best study. If the Bible is our guide to getting to know God and how to be faithful to Him, we definitely need to understand what we are studying. Through this series of posts, we are striving to help all of us learn and grow as we take the Word of God to heart. This is the third lesson in this series: you can find Part ONE here and Part TWO here.
Today, I want us to look at the genre of narrative or story. The Bible contains a lot of narratives. The books of Genesis, Exodus, Kings, Chronicles, Job, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Esther, Nehemiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts (and many others) all contain narrative and are mostly narrative. How can we learn from stories about other people? How can…
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