Assembling TogetherBro. David Chancellor
4/15/2007 11:00 AM
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This is often read to encourage people to be faithful to this as a duty. It goes beyond duty. There’s a purpose in our meeting together. We come together to be strengthened by our mutual service to God. Each of us should hope to accomplish something by being here.
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
If you come to church to put self on display, you are bringing the fool’s sacrifice. Our focus should be on serving God and honoring his name when we come to church. When we make a vow to God, he expects us to keep it. We want to be able to live what we commit to. Our worship should increase our commitment to God. Think about it and all it involves before you say it.
Matthew 6:1-5, 16
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. These things should not be done for the wrong reason. If the motive is wrong, there’s no worship in it. We should all come together to pray, but not to be seen of men. Every child of God should have a life of prayer. There are appropriate times to fast. We don’t do our giving to be seen of men. What we do, we should do to be a blessing. Bring what God has put on your heart. Do it from the right motivation.
1 Corinthians 14:23-31
If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
Paul was addressing the same problem that Jesus was – a wrong motivation. They all wanted to be noticed. If each one speaks under the inspiration of God, God will be worshipped. If we all come and worship God the right way, even the sinner will be affected and will be drawn to God.
Coming to church to worship requires coming as a participant – you come to be a part. The best services are the ones you participate in; you get more when you give more. We should be able to get what we need to take us through the rest of the week.
Think ahead about the service. Prepare ahead so that you can be a blessing. Pray about the service. See what God would have you to bring. Find what will bless, encourage and inspire others.
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.
"… and they shall not appear before the Lord empty…" They were all to bring something. Come with something on the inside. Get the grace of God within. Come to give. Bring something to put into the service every time you come. Don’t come to God with nothing. He will provide you with something to bring back. We come to service to put something into it.
And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there. And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us. And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
They were to take the firstfruits and put them in a basket and then were to tell where all of it came from to honor God. It required some preparation. If you would arrive at church with something to put in, you need to think about it ahead of time. It’s giving back to God what he has given to you. When we put something in our basket to take, it will spill over to others. Have something within that spills over to those around you. This is more than duty. We come to be participants in the worship of God.
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
We should always have praise for God. This is about praising God and bringing honor to his name. Have something to be a benefit to others. If we give ourselves to the worship of God, he will be well-pleased. If we put into it what God wants us to, we’ll want to be here and we’ll get good from it.