Tag Archives: worship

Getting Together

Let us consider how to stir up one another … not neglecting to meet together.      Hebrews 10:24, 25

When Hebrews talks about meeting together it is not talking only about going to church.  Hebrews is saying that the greatness of salvation cannot be experienced in isolation.  No Christian is an island.

Jesus had this in mind when He said that wherever two or three Christians get together, He is present (Matthew 18:20).  When believers get together it is as if Jesus says, “This is me!”  Christ does not merely join us when we meet for worship or fellowship; He is automatically there — in us.

Ephesians 1:22, 23 (NIV) says: “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

Christ is what makes a Christian home beautiful; He makes the Christian family one with Him.  Where is that “two or three” more real than in the union of a believing husband and wife, possibly with one or more children?  The book of Romans tells us that many of the early Christians had house churches (see 16:5).  Some of the most meaningful events and thoughts recorded in the Bible were born out of this family-type fellowship as saints, drawn together in Christ, promoted oneness in Him.  Is your home today like a church?  Is your family a body of Christ?


We Are Saints

He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.      Hebrews 10:14

It is impossible to make progress in the Christian race unless a person realizes that he or she is a saint in Christ.  Can you imagine cheerleaders encouraging a team yelling, “Let’s go, losers”?

Possibly we get the wrong impression of ourselves because many of the songs we sing in worship services emphasize human sin.  For many of us, worship can become a time of telling God how good He is and how bad we are.  Hebrews 10:14 however, tells us that Christians have been made holy.  In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul lists many types of sinners and then says: “Such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). We must be careful not to overlook Gods work of grace by calling attention to our sins all of the time.

Failing to recognize God’s complete salvation may also cause Christians to offend and confuse prospective converts.  What appeal does becoming a Christian have if a person doesn’t change or show any joy?

Perhaps we should address each other as “saints.”  Then, however, people would say we were being presumptuous and proud.  On the other hand, we must not take pride in humility.  Let us never call unclean what the Lord our God has hallowed.

Soul Versus Spirit

The word of God …. [pierces] to the division of soul and spirit.      Hebrews 4:12

People have long disagreed as to whether human beings are just body and soul or body, soul, and spirit.

Whatever the case, there is clearly a difference between what is related to the human soul and what is truly spiritual.  More important, the Bible doesn’t begin to make the distinction between body and soul that we do.  The word it uses for flesh is psych, and the “sins of the flesh” are mental/emotional things such as anger, jealousy, hatred, and selfish ambition.

What we are to remember is that some of the “spiritual” things we do can in fact be fleshly and sensual.  Listening to Handel’s Messiah may be just as sensual and fleshly as drinking beer in front of the television set.  I have often attended this oratorio myself to experience sensual enjoyment — I wasn’t always worshiping God.  And in worship services, the “inspiration” we get from stirring songs or rousing sermons can be just as sensual and self-centered as the inspiration we get from a football game.

Our so-called service to God and others can also be very fleshly, motivated by mere habit, duty, esteem, or any other selfish action.  Studying the Word of God, however, can help us understand ourselves and why we do things.  Those who live close to God through His Word live in truly spiritual service.

The Beginning of Public Worship

At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord.       Genesis 4:26

Sometimes silence says more than words which are actually spoken.  This is true also in the Bible.  Genesis records the names of five descendants of Cain and then it stops.  That is the last you hear of him or them.  It is just as though that family ceased to exist.

Meanwhile, the Almighty God who can raise the dead and create men from the ground, gave Eve a son to take Abel’s place.  She called him Seth, which means substitute.  From this point on, the only people the Bible ever mentions are the children of Seth.  It is just as though nobody else mattered.  This was God’s family.  This was the true human race.

Very little is told us about the members of this new family tree, but one thing that is said about them is highly important.  They “called upon the name of the Lord.”

Obviously this means that they said their prayers as individuals.  These people had personal devotions, even as you and I ought to.  Any one who is too busy to have a daily “quiet time” is indeed too busy.

But individual worship had been going on already for some time before this. The first children of Adam and Eve worshipped God by means of sacrifices.  (Genesis 4:3,4)  But in the days of Seth something new was introduced into the worship of God.  People began to join one another in united or public worship.

Benjamin Franklin said of political affairs that if people do not hang together they will certainly be hanged separately, and this is surely true of spiritual exercises.  Satan has an easy time picking off a “loner.”  The person who does not care for the assembly of God’s people here upon earth will not be part of it in heaven.