Assembling: When, Why, How?

1 Corinthians 11:18,20 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. (20) Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,

1 Corinthians 14:26-27 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret;

Hebrews 10:24-25 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Faithfulness in attendance among Christians has been and continues to be a problem for so many. Some believe that as long as they assemble every once in awhile, then they are fine. Some believe that as long as they are there for the Lord’s Supper, then they have met the “only” requirement for the Lord’s day. Others will try to skate around this by saying that it is not that they don’t assemble with the saints, but they just go to different churches every month. I’m sure we could think of some more to put in here but I want us to think about some of these problems and consider the solutions for this kind of behavior. Some are fine with defending these kinds of positions by saying things such as “You just show me from the Bible where I must attend except once on Sunday!” With this kind of attitude, it would be difficult to show them anything.

This is designed to get us to think about when the disciples assembled, why they assembled (different reasons), and how often they assembled. Consider the passages at the beginning of this article. We see several reasons there. We have the Lord’s Supper, singing, teaching, to motivate and encourage each other. Isn’t that enough reason to want to come together?

Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.

With these two examples we are told when they met and what they did. These two are specific in nature as to what was going on and when they did these things. Depending on your translations, some translators make it abundantly clear that they were meeting every single first day of the week. How many first days of the week do we have? There is one every week. So, they assembled to take the Lord’s Supper and to give for the collection of the saints. I would like to know exactly what we would gain by not assembling with the saints? What is the benefit?

Acts 6:1-4,6 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (6) And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.

What was the purpose of their gathering?

For one, it was for instruction and formulating plans to take care of the needy widows among them. If we do not assemble with one another, how can we be benevolent to one another? Secondly, they assembled to pray together on these matters. In receiving instruction, they were instructed to appoint men to take care of this benevolent work and they prayed with one another.

Acts 11:26-29 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.

In meeting with the church, what was taking place? Teaching. With this example, we see that they were also meeting to discuss a problem that was going to come upon them. With this coming famine, they needed to prepare a contribution to be sent in order to relieve the brethren in Judea. Again, we see instruction and benevolence.

Acts 14:25-28 When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they spent a long time with the disciples.

We see here that the disciples assembled with each other to learn about the success of the evangelistic work performed in other areas. This is true for many local churches even today because many are supporting preachers in other locations. Usually, report letters are sent from those preachers to provide updates of what is going on with their work.

This is not an exhaustive list, but there is no doubt in my mind that thinking about these things is reason enough to want to assemble together with the saints in the Lord.

by Lee Elkins