Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Guarantee

As we come together as the church, we can try to follow the biblical model as much as possible.  For example, we can meet in homes, celebrate the Lord's Supper as a complete meal, remain together with all ages present, engage in participatory discussions, avoid the clergy/laity divide, etc., etc.

These things are all fine but they do not guarantee that the purpose of the meeting will be fulfilled.  The purpose is the edification of the body in Christ to the glory of God.  The above structural attributes of gatherings are great, but in the end they aren't very important if we lose sight of why we come together in the first place.

What can we do about this?  As we gather, we must make a concerted effort to focus on the needs of others in our conversations and actions.  If we make this attempt, I believe the Holy Spirit will give us plenty of opportunities to make this happen.  It may occur in the larger group setting or in individual or small group type conversations.  It might be a simple act of sacrificial service.  It may also take place at any time during the week, not just the Sunday gathering.

While at our gatherings, sometimes I find myself just sort of talking with others. This is fine some of the time, but if I'm not making some kind of an effort at mutual edification, then I'm likely wasting a great opportunity. We can make a deep impression on others when we inquire about how their lives are going and how they're doing in Christ. We should be able to have these types of discussions fairly easily with those we know so well.

I simply want to encourage us all to be intentional in our efforts at mutual edification as the body gathers. Otherwise we miss the point of the meeting altogether. There are no guarantees.  


Aussie John said...


Wise words. I've been hoping you would, at least, touch on this important issue.

As you say,"These things are all fine but they do not guarantee that the purpose of the meeting will be fulfilled."

It's far too easy to find oneself "just talking".

Attending such meetings without prepared personal involvement in edification, equipped by prayer and study of Scripture, is like trying to build a house without any building materials.

Jeffrey said...

A good reminder. I will try to remember it.


Eric said...


As is obvious, I'm very interested in church gatherings. However, we can lose sight of what's most important if we only focus on details. Edification is the key. This should lead to changed lives within the body. We can all be part of this; what a wonderful thing. God be praised!

Eric said...


Me too brother.

Eric H said...

"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying." 1 Cor. 14:26

I am seeing some other posts (from men I really respect) that seem to suggest this post falls short because it is not addressing missions. I don't think you meant to address the purpose of the church, but rather the assembly (meeting) of it. I believe the missions side is part of the love and good works we should be provoked to in meeting together if we consider one another. Sharing of what ministry (serving) we have done outside that meeting may serve as part of this provocation (as have the posts of these other men for me).

Eric said...

Eric H.,

You have hit the nail on the head. You understand precisely what I was talking about. The purpose of the church gathering is edification so that we will live obedient, God-glorifying lives. Part of living this out is certainly missions.

I'm not sure why a few people think that I believe the purpose of the church is edification. I've never said that.

Thanks for reading carefully.