For two thousand years disciples of Jesus have gathered together weekly. However, during this season, we are not able to. Young Christians perhaps don’t know why we should gather regularly. So, what does the Bible say about the public gathering of believers? Why is it important for the Lord’s church to meet together in person?
"Gather my faithful people to me, those who made a covenant with me by offering a sacrifice.” Ps 50:5 GNT
Here are nine reasons why Christians should gather together weekly.
1. Gathering is God’s Desire. Just as a family gathers together so God purposes for His family to be together. Much of the New Testament, was written to weekly gatherings of local congregations. They are called the “assembly of the First Born enrolled in heaven” (Heb 12:23).
2. To Honor God. The Bible says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” On the seventh day of the week, Saturday, Jews would gather to worship God and offer sacrifices. When the Christian Church was born, they would meet together at sunrise on the first day of the week to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. (Acts 20:7)
3. We Are the Unified Body of Christ. (Eph 2:19-22) Paul tells us that we are the church, members of the household of God… joined together, growing into a holy temple….” We gather as the physical expression of the Body of Christ - dwelling together in unity.
4. We Gather to Worship Corporately. God emphasized public worship for the Hebrews and also for Christians. God brought the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt so that they would worship Him as a nation. Also, God wants to dwell among the public praises of His people (Ps 22:3). The Holy Spirit said through David, “Praise the Lord... in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” (Ps 133:1)
5. We are the Dwelling Place of God. (Eph 2:22) "We are joined together, growing into a unique temple…being built together by the Spirit of God into a dwelling place for God.” ..."Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them." (Matt 18:20)
6. Jesus Wants to Sing with His Bride. When we gather to worship Jesus joins us and sings to the Father in the middle of the congregation. He wants us to gather so He can join the congregation to vertically praise the Father. (Heb 2:9,12)
7. To Build Up Each Other. Paul emphatically explains that edification, the building up of other believers, is a goal when we gather. Paul says that Christians are to “strive to excel in building up the church.” (1 Cor 14:12) Later on, Paul stresses that everything within the church is to be done for the sake of building one another up. (1 Co 14:26) Jesus has given the local church family gifts for the purpose of edifying and encouragement of one another.
8. To Grow. How do Christians edify one other? We must gather corporately around God and His Word. The church is instructed in God’s Word to gather to hear the Word (1 Tim 4:13), to preach the Word (2 Tim 2:4), to pray the Word (1Tim 2:1,8), to sing the Word (Col 3:16), and visualize the Word in the Eucharist and water baptism (1 Cor 11:17-23). The church is a cluster connected to the True vine (John 15), We continue to meet up on a weekly basis “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” (Eph 4:13)
9. We Are Called to Live in Community. For accountability and spiritual growth, disciples of Christ gather together. The early church was “continually devoting themselves to apostles teaching and to fellowship, to breaking bread and prayer.” (Acts 2:42). So should we. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity…There the Lord has pronounced his blessing. (Ps. 133:1, 3)
Today some local congregation may not be able to gather together. Your goal and desire should be to gather again as soon as possible. I encourage you to not be satisfied with the new normal--watching online, or when it's convenient. Don't be apathetic or passive about getting together with the rest of the local Body of Christ. It is one of the central aspects of being a disciple of Jesus and important to your health and growth.