The bible is a very large book with many themes, but its underlying message is that God created us to have a relationship with Him. God reveals himself as a loving Father who has brought us into his family. Throughout the bible we see expressions of this fact, starting with God calling Abraham and through him the people of Israel, culminating in the wonderful end-time gathering of a multitude of people from every tribe, tongue and nation coming together as God’s family before God’s throne in glorious worship. It says in 1 Peter 2 v 9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…”
We can enjoy wonderful times of intimate worship with God on our own, but we must also remember that we have been designed to worship God together in community. There is no higher calling than to come together as God’s family (the church) and worship God together, experiencing the intimacy and the awesome privilege of what we have been brought into. The most common translation of ‘church’ in the New Testament is from the Greek word ‘Ekklesia’ meaning ‘gathered assembly of God’s people’.
We probably all know this in theory, however when it comes to putting it into practice we can often think of better things to do than attend a time of worship together in our communities. I have already mentioned Hebrews 10 v 25 in at least a couple of my previous posts: “…not to give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…” Not worshipping together is a habit we can very easily get into. As we desire to grow in our Christian walk and our love for Jesus, let us commit to the design that God initiated and meet as a community together to worship, read God’s word, break bread and pray.
I would like to end with a few thoughts as we consider what we do when we gather together:
- We come together to build one another up and encourage each other. The bible verse that God has blessed you with this week may be just the verse that someone else needs to hear. Your unique gifts and talents will also bless others just as their gifts bless you. It’s good to personally seek God before attending a meeting and ask him for a contribution that you can bring. Don’t just turn up passively hoping that God will speak.
- We reflect on the grace of God as we celebrate together and recognise what an amazing thing God has done in each one of our lives.
- We experience God’s forgiveness as we come before Him without accusation, free to come into his presence because of what Jesus has done. As we realise what God has done for us, we can much more easily forgive others for the wrongs they have done to us.
- We break bread together, again remembering what Jesus has done through his own sacrifice, allowing us to be united with the Father and to enjoy fellowship with those around us.
- We remember that we are a family together regardless of background, colour or culture, drawn together before the Father of us all.
- We are reminded of where we once were, where we are now and of our glorious destiny to come. We are all at different stages of the journey but God has promised to not let us go, continuing to work on us and with us. In the words of that great old hymn “…’tis grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home”.
- Corporate prayer as we come together is very powerful. We can achieve great victories as we seek God’s will and agree in prayer together, giving a unified ‘amen’ as we believe God to work in our lives and in the lives of those around us and beyond.