I am thankful that things are opening up in Texas as Covid related death and hospitalization have plummeted. Masks are not required in most businesses and churches are almost to full capacity. It is time for believers to gather again. It felt so wrong to say, "Do you want to watch church or go in person?" First, we should not watch worship as we are not spectators but participants. Secondly, a church service is not church, people are the church wherever they are.
For two thousand years disciples of Jesus have gathered together weekly. However, during this season, we are not able to. Some Christians perhaps don’t know why we should gather regularly or have gotten comfortable not gathering. 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?
Yesterday we had the privilege to gather outdoors with believers from all around Fort Worth. Bethel's Sean Feucht led the gathering in worship and we all sensed the power and of the Holy Spirit among us.
"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 dwells together so God desires for His family to be together. Much of the New Testament, was written to weekly gatherings of local congregations. Christians 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. Public worship is a huge foundation in the God’s emphasis to the Hebrews and also to Christians. 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 gathering is to be done for the sake of building one another up. (1 Co 14:26) J
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).
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)
I realize local congregations in some states and nations may not be able to gather together yet. Your goal and desire should be to do so as soon as possible. I encourage you to not 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. A renewal is coming! Look for it and declare. Great encounters with God and His family are ahead. What are you sensing from the Holy Spirit?