by Jeremy Kirkland; VASSAL OF THE KING
The Sunday Gathering
What sweet kindness we enjoy when we gather with the saints on Sunday. God’s people assembled together is a meeting unlike anything else in this world. The unity, the likemindedness, the focus on Christ, the heartfelt singing, and the study of the Word of God lifts the believer’s heart, informs the Christian’s mind, and increases the saint’s love for God. How unique and blessed are these assemblies! Specifically, the Sunday gathering is a time of:
- Refreshment (unlike the world) — The Sunday gatherings are refreshing times because no other worldly gathering of people can compare with the corporate pursuit of Christ that Christians enjoy. We have meetings during the week. Work demands call for our attention. Lots of gatherings exist for sports, entertainment, arts, music, or academics. But none can compare with the glory and delightfulness and refreshment of God’s people meeting in the House of God. When we gather on Sundays, it is so unlike the world that it is refreshingly sweet, like drinking satisfying water on a hot day. We need these times of refreshment for our souls.
- Edification (speaking words to edify) — The Sunday gatherings are edifying times because we have God-given opportunities to speak words of encouragement to other saints. When you gather for worship, before the service begins and after the service concludes, lots of opportunities arise to approach a believer and speak of Christ and His gospel. For instance, after the worship service finishes, consider how many ways you can ask a fellow believer about the sermon, reflect on it together, point out a verse that challenged you, or speak of a truth that you must hold on to this week for strength. We gather to edify and build up one another.
- Intentional, others-oriented Service — The Sunday gatherings provide opportunities for intentional, others-oriented service. Think of how you can intentionally and proactively reach out to another person to serve them. Maybe it’s helping a family with one of their small children. Maybe it’s holding a baby so a young mom can have a conversation. Maybe it’s helping a senior saint carry his Bible and a bag from the car to the pew. Maybe it’s offering help in setting up chairs, getting the sanctuary prepared, handing out bulletins, greeting folks at the door with a smile, and offering to serve in other creative ways. But the point being made here demands intentionality and a proactive zeal to earnestly care for one another in tangible expressions of love. Through love, serve one another!
- Instruction (from Scripture) — The Sunday gatherings feed the people of God with the instruction from the Word. This is our weekly feeding time. This is when we gather together, as the Church, with the Church to sit under the authoritative Truth preached from Holy Scripture. We gather to hear and heed the Word. We gather to listen to the Word preached and then obey what the Word demands. We may be reminded of theological truths. We may receive exhortation to take action in a specific area of our lives. We may be challenged to think differently about a matter. We may need to change our behavior because the Spirit graciously exposes sin in our lives. We feast on Truth. We gaze upon Christ. We glory in grace. We delight in the gospel. We gather because we need to regularly, weekly, deliberately and happily fix our eyes upon Christ our righteousness, our spotless Lamb, our Life!
- Preparation (for heaven) — The Sunday gatherings uniquely and wondrously prepare us for a greater assembly that surely will come. One day we will stand in heaven worshiping Christ with numberless multitudes standing before the Throne celebrating the Lamb, worshiping the Lord, communing with the Triune God. Nothing in all of the world so prepares us for heaven than a theologically robust, seriously glad, fervently Christ-enthralled, biblically saturated, corporately assembled meeting of the saints. O for that day when all those for whom Christ purchased will stand together, beholding the Lamb, in utter perfection, happily at rest, ever living as conquerers forevermore, and serving God with tireless zeal for eternities without end. May your upcoming Sunday gathering be a sweet foretaste of coming glory. Christian, appreciate, prioritize and anticipate the Sunday gathering with your Church.
The words of JOHN NEWTON express these thoughts poetically:
How welcome to the saints, when pressed
With six days’ noise, and care, and toil,
Is the returning day of rest,
Which hides them from the world awhile!
Now, from the throng withdrawn away,
They seem to breathe a different air;
Composed and softened by the day,
All things another aspect wear.
How happy if their lot is cast
Where statedly the gospel sounds!
The word is honey to their taste,
Renews their strength and heals their wounds.
With joy they hasten to the place
Where they their Saviour oft have met;
And while they feast upon his grace,
Their burdens and their griefs forget.
This favoured lot, my friends, is ours;
May we the privilege highly prize,
And find these consecrated hours
Sweet earnests of immortal joys.