Getting the most out of Ö series.
Assembling with the saints
In Acts 13:22 it says that David was a man after Godís own heart and one reason this could be said about him was for his love to worship God.
Psalm 122:1 I was
glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the
LORD."† 2 Our feet have
been standing Within your gates, O
David was enthusiastic about entering the house of God so that he could worship God Almighty. If fact he and those with him had arrived before the appointed time and they waited with anticipation to enter the house of God. This is this same attitude that we should have when it comes to assembling with the saints, but unfortunately some Christians do not have this type of excitement when comes to the assembly.
In fact, some donít seem to find much joy at church, and you can tell by the expression on some peoples faces that they are bored out of their minds, and their thoughts are somewhere else. When the preacher gets up to speak or the song leader leads a song they often notice these expression that some have on occasion. Those who visit a church and also pick up on those who seem to disinterested and it affects their assessment that church.
When I have seen those who seem to be bored to death at worship, I often wonder:
Do they not find joy and gladness in serving the Lord?
Are they not encouraged when they assemble with their brethren?
How can we help them get more out of coming to church?
Personally, I consider our worship to God as a privilege and a great source of encouragement. It helps me get closer to God and I love being around those that are like minded who are striving to be pleasing to God. I wish every Christian could get the most out of their worship to God.
I want to do what I can to help people do that, so I am going to begin a series of lessons that will help every Christian to get the most out of serving God. Our first lesson has to do with getting the most out of assembling with the saints.
Assembling whit the saints is an important duty that we are commanded to do so that we might exhort one another as,
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,† 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
While we are commanded to assembly, we should never look at it as something we have to do, instead it should be considered a great privilege and an honor. We are so lucky that we have the freedom to assemble, and we should never take that freedom for granted. We need to put things into perspective because when we do, we will appreciate the many opportunities that we have to serve our God freely.
We should look forward to ever time we have the chance to assemble with our brethren because we make up the body of Christ and we get to sing praises to God, participate in prayer, give our means and ourselves to God and we get to learn more about our creator.
We need realize that when we come together to worship God we are honoring Him in what he has done for us. It will help us immensely in our worship to God if we think about all these things as we worship God almighty.
I can promise that if you find worship boring and donít enjoy what we do then you are going to be miserable in heaven because our worship to God on the earth is just getting us used to what we will be doing on a daily basis in heaven for eternity.
We also need to understand that the more we assemble with the saints, whether it be the first day of the week or Bible class or some other gathering it will make us stronger in the faith. When you get around those who are like minded it helps you to remain focused on your goal of getting to heaven. We need all the help we can get and so it should motivate us to do whatever we can to help us combat the temptations of the world.
Another thing we can do that will help us to get more out of assembling with the saints is to prepare our mind beforehand. This can make a huge difference in what you get out of worship and Bible class because when your mind is set on what you are going to do, then you will have the right attitude. We all know this is true because this is important in many things that we do.
Far to many times we have ourselves spread so thin that church becomes just another thing we must mark off out to do list and when we show up with our minds elsewhere, we might as well be elsewhere. So, it is crucial that we take time out before we ever make it to the church building to start preparing ourselves.
For instance on Saturday night we need to do our best to get to bed at a decent hour so that we will wake up rested and ready to go to worship on Sunday morning. If we stay up late and only get a few hours our sleep, how in the world can we expect to get much out of the service especially if we are falling asleep during the message?
I know of one lady who listens to worship songs before she goes to church because she said it gets her mind set to give her best to the Lord. Some find it helpful to pray or meditate on Godsí Word before assembly with the Saints. All of these are great methods, but you need to find what works for you so that you can be prepared to give your all to God at church.
It will also help if you can arrive early to the services so you have time to visit and get settled down because if you wait untill the last minute to make it church you are already going to be stressed, and will take you more time to get focused.
Another thing that will help us to the most out of our assembly is to be mindful of those who are present. We need realize that our brothers and sister in Christ appreciate us being here and they are encouraged by our presence. Some of us might not feel that way, but I can promise you make an impact no matter how insignificant you make yourself out to be.
Paul said in,
1 Corinthians 12:20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.† 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."† 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.† 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,† 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,† 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.† 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.†
Paul makes it clear that every Christian is important and every Christians has their function in the body of Christ. As Paul said, we are to care for one another, and we are to take note of those that are suffering and those that are being honored so that we either suffer with them or rejoice with them. We certainly cannot do this if we neglect the assembly.
Even if you feel that you donít need encouragement, then think about those that do and have your mind set on serving others instead of yourself, because it will help you to get the most of the assembly.
We should also be mindful of our visitors because they can tell quickly whether a church is a loving one that reflects the love God. Many times, you only have one chance with a visitor from the community, so be here for them and do your best to show your love for God by your actions and your participation in worship.
We should also consider Jesus Himself because His sacrifice made the church possible and the Bible teaches us that He is with us when we are gathered together, so we should realize that God is watching us, and we are in fellowship with Jesus when we worship. Keeping in mind that Jesus is here with us, and that we are here for the purpose of worshipping God should cause to get more out of our worship since we are doing it for Him and not us.
Another thing that will help is for you to engage yourself in the service. When the song leader stands up to sing, look at him. When he calls out that page number for the song turn your song books to that page and do your best to pay attention to the song, and sing out, after all you are singing to God.
Sometimes you will see those who simply will not sing, and they stick out like a sore thumb. So, donít be that way make sure you sing as commanded by Paul:
Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,† 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,†
When the prayer is being led, listen to the words that are being spoken, so that you can make their prayer your prayer. As Paul said in,
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.† 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
When the preacher brings his message, listen carefully and takes notes if that helps you pay attention because I guarantee you will learn something or be reminded of some things that you should be doing.
Our society and many of us have lost the ability to really listen because our attention spans are so short, mine included. Those who make programs on TV know this, that is why you will see the camera angle or scene change about ever 5 seconds. Based on my observations you can only preach about 30 minutes, otherwise you will lose the attention of your hearers. In fact, I know of one preacher in a denomination who never preaches over 15 min because he told me that what the people expect.
We have been ruined by the mentality of our society because we want everything to be quick as possible so that we can move on to the next thing, but as Christians we must take this drive-up window mentality out of our lives especially when it comes to hearing Godís Word. We must train ourselves to slow down and to learn to listen better. †
Another thing that would help some is by sitting closer to the front. The closer you are to the front the less distraction you have to deal with. If you sit in the back, you are going notice every child that moves around, every person that gets up to go to the bathroom or get a drink and so on. If you are easily distracted by such things, you should sit toward the front.
Another benefit of sitting in the front is the singing. When you sit in the front you get to hear all the voices from behind, and here at our church that is a good thing because we have some great singers, but when your in the back all the voices are going away from you and while is still sounds pretty it doesnít compare to how beautiful in sounds in the front.
The last thing I want to suggest that will help you get the most out assembling with the saints is for you to realize that the more go the more you will grow spiritually. We should certainly want to grow because Peter said,
2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Itís common knowledge that the more your involved with something, the more you will know about it and appreciate it. Itís kind of like exercise, The more you exercise the more fit you become. Once you start enjoying how good you feel from exercising all the time you donít want to stop because you donít want to start feeling bad.
The same thing can happen when we you start assembling with the saints all the time. At first you may find it difficult to make it to all the services, but once you work up to it, you will find it exhilarating and you will get to the point where you donít want to miss a single service because of the way it makes you feel.
I can relate to this because when I first started going to church with Erica, I felt like Wednesday nights were enough for me, but gradually I started making it to Sunday night services and then as more time went on I finally started making it to Sunday morning services. My last hurtle was making it to Sunday Bible class and when finally made that achievement, I have never looked back. Now for me, if I miss a service it really bother me because I understand how important every service is and how they encourage me, and every one us can have that same experience if we just make an effort to make it to all the services.† Notice what Paul says in:
1 Timothy 4:8† For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.† 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
Yes, bodily exercise is good, but exercising toward godliness is far greater, so I hope you will start doing your best to make it to all the services and stop trying to do the least you can for the Lord. When you become spiritually fit as you should, you will not ask yourself if you should go to church because you will want to go to church if possible.
If struggle in this area you need to ask yourself, what is more important in my life God or myself? If you love God for what He has done for you, it should not be problem for you to understand how important it is that you take advantage of every opportunity you have to assemble with the saints.
Well that brings us to the end of this first lesson of our series and I hope that something I have said will help you to get the most out of the assembling of the saints and I hope that we can all learn to have the attitude of David who said,
Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."†
I hope will you join us the evening as we continue in this series. Tonight we will we will look at getting the most out of our singing.