The Reason for Church Fellowship
[Preached at Community Bible Chapel in Hico, TX by Andy Neckar]
The real reason you are here today.
You are not here primarily to worship God, although you may think so. This may be why you come to church, but this is not the real reason God commands his Children to assemble together.
In Heb 10:24 we are told to not forsake or cease the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The verse preceding this Scripture tells us WHY we should " go to church"
Heb 10:25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
We are to prod, that is to urge and encourage each other to obedience to God. We are to meet primarily FOR OUR GOOD and GROWTH IN FAITH
1 Cor 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
We are to have fellowship meals together. ALL believers are in the Family of God and we should treat each other as family whether we be "blood" kin or "marriage" KIN or kin "IN CHRIST"
1Thes 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
We are to assemble for the good of each other. We are to comfort each other. This means to encourage one another and give relief to a brother in distress and have compassion on each other. ALL these things can bring comfort to the believer and we should do anything else that can cause comfort to a brother in the Lord and that includes a LONG LIST of comforting things.
We are to edify and that is to teach each other. EACH ONE of God's children has a gift or gifts of the Spirit and we should USE them. YOU know something I don't know, or perhaps YOUR understand of a scripture or of an error in God's house may be more clearer or keener than mine. SPEAK IT
We are to meet TOGETHER to teach and comfort and provoke EACH OTHER. This job does NOT fall on ONE MAN ONLY. Pay attention now. Hear what I say.
I am admonishing you now and this is what scripture tells you to do about this.
1Thes 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Thes 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
You see, I am not butting into your business. I have been called by the Lord to do the Work of the Lord. As the Father sent Jesus Christ, He, Jesus Christ sent me.
I DO expect the personal salvation testimonies from you in a few days like I asked of you last week.
In the letter to the Thessalonians Paul is speaking to the CHURCH, the whole assembly, not to JUST church leaders.
1Thes 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Thes 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Thes 5: verses 14 & 15 are some of the thing YOU are to do when you come together.
Trouble is most folks were brought up in a "traditional" church and NOT in a New Testament Church, regardless of the New Testament name on the sign out front. The church is not what you call it, it is the way it is operated that identifies it for what it REALLY is. That is what you are used to and "old habits" that is the "old way" of doing things, and that includes the assembling of yourselves together, is hard to break.
To me it comes EASY, because I want to do things GOD'S WAY. And I'm gonna learn to do it HIS WAY as I go along. Those who stick with me will learn much and will be more pleasing to God as THEY go along.
We are not to invite non-believers into our fellowship.
2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
You got friends you want to bring to church that you are NOT SURE of their salvation? BRING THEM, if they professes salvation, God will separate the tares from the wheat, if they be not saved. If you know they are not saved, CONVERT them. Take the gospel TO THEM and then encourage them to join our fellowship. If you are not so good at evangelizing then you may invite them to church, but it would be a good idea to let the leader know of this so he could prepare a good salvation message for that particular week. If they reject the gospel, they will not stay long in a church I lead because they will NOT be comforted but CONVICTED. This will continue until they either come to believe or they are made to feel so full of guilt that they will search out another much milder church that will tolerate their continued unbelief to get them on the church membership rolls and contribute their "tithes".
We are to worship God in the spirit. Our spirits are made righteous and God will accept worship in the spirit.
John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
In the flesh we edify each other to benefit the soul, which I believe is our conscience. But worship in the spirit is perfect worship because the spirit is born again in perfection.
Do not mistake the "conscience" for the" mind". The mind is the brain and even animals have a brain. The mind rules the flesh and the conscience rules the spirit. The mind is our understanding, and the conscience is the moral conscienceless of actions or inaction produced by the mind.
The action of the flesh (our bodies) will be determined by our mind, whether it be fleshly minded or spiritual minded. Many times our mind wars against our conscience. Our spirit, controlled by our moral consciousness is willing, but our flesh controlled by our mind is weak.
When we come together we are to praise God and glorify Him. But the MAIN reasons for coming together are the reason already spoken of. We actually are to glorify God in the world publicly by our good works.
The New Testament has the word glorify only 17 times. In only one of these are we told to glorify God with out mouth. In one we are told to glorify God in our body. We do this by bringing the body under subjection to the spirit. This is by what we DO, not by what we SAY.
One is that a minister can be the cause of others to glorify God by his example of obedience.
One is that the unsaved in observing the believers' good works will glorify God when a believer visits them.
Another is that a believer glorifies God when he suffers reproach and or persecution for His sake. The glory of God rests upon the suffering believer as to how he takes the suffering.
The rest of the glorifying verses are those of Christ asking the Father to glorify Him as He has glorified the Father.
Glorifying God in most churches is by song and by word. They pursue an EASY way. The Bible's way of glorifying God is by obedience,-- good works and carrying the cross of Christ. Big difference, isn't it?
Along with advice to wives and husbands and children the two following passages tell us a few other things we are to do in church.
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves (that is to others and yourself) in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
We speak to ourselves to edify that is to teach ourselves because the assembling of ourselves is for the benefit of ourselves. We speak to ourselves and give thanks to God
The next two verses tell us what this speaking in Eph is to involve.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
What are to teach and admonish each other. The Word of God that dwells in us abundantly,-- that is plentifully.-sufficiently.
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
We are told to give thanks to God again.
The assembling of ourselves together, which is GOING TO CHURCH is mainly for OUR benefit and not to worship God. It is for our benefit and to give thanks to God and to praise God
One last comment. Can you tell me just what part of a traditional church service is the worship service? Think about it. I can't.