Article Of The Week
Those who became Christians in the first century assembled and worshipped God steadfastly. They understood their own spiritual need and the spiritual need of others for worship. They also understood the commandments of God concerning worship. James addressed the gathering of the church in a very unique way. He called it, "Your assembly." "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment" (James 2:1-2) How you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect to "your assembly" will help to determine your spiritual state now and in eternity. We cannot allow ourselves, either in attitude or actions to practice anything in our assembly that is contrary to the nature of God or contrary to His commandments. This is your assembly. If you fail to have the proper attitude you will die spiritually; if you fail to worship scripturally you will likewise die spiritually. Worship is of such importance that God will punish with vengeance those who willfully neglect worship. "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:30-31) The assembly of the church is "Your assembly.
Are you faithful in attendance at "Your assembly"? It is clearly taught in Scripture that as a true worshiper you will faithfully attend your assembly. Jesus taught the woman at the well, "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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24) This is your assembly and you should be present. Jesus expressed His desire to be in His assembly with his disciples for worship. Jesus said to his apostles, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:15) You must have the same kind of desire to be in your assembly. When you see God as the great Creator, your desire will be strong to worship Him. Recognizing the worth of God causes us to lift him up in worship. God said through the psalmist, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10) Your assembly should be a time of thankfulness, appreciation and worship for God. Thankfulness within me is expressed in my outward worship.
How do you treat others in "Your assembly"? James 2 pictures the sin of respecting persons in your assembly. (James 2:1-7) Showing partiality in our treatment of others is sinful. God does not show partiality in dealing with man and neither should we. "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34-35) In the world, favoritism is often shown because of wealth, position, education or race. It cannot be so among God's people. God's Royal Law requires that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well." (James 2:8) If you fulfil God's Royal Law you do well, but if you show partiality, then you practice sin. The Christian religion will not allow a person to practice discrimination. Discrimination is an example of inconsistency between faith and action. In the things of God all are equal, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated. The gospel causes all to stand upon the same terms of advantage before the Almighty. Holiness will lead to proper esteem both for one in rags or in riches. It is unholy to show partiality. Discrimination is opposed to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both in worship and in judgment, everyone must be treated fairly. Moses wrote," Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour." (Leviticus 19:15)
How do you worship in "Your assembly"? Do you worship in a scriptural way in "Your assembly?" We do not want to worship in such a way that God would say, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies." (Amos 5:21) True worship must be in spirit and in truth. "Spirit and truth" are the two elements which distinguish true worship from worship which is unacceptable. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) Communion every Sunday is part of true worship. Jesus gave His body and blood on the cross to provide remission of our sins. In the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper we remember His sacrifice. (Matthew 26:26-28) Christians pray together. These prayers are to be lead by godly men. (1 Timothy 2:8) Singing is also a part of worship "in spirit and in truth." The only instrument to be used is the "Heart." God desires that we sing, not that we sing and play! The Hebrew writer wrote, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." (Hebrews 2:12) Original, steadfast worship also involved giving. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." (1 Corinthians 16:2) You will never out give God. In New Testament worship, Christians also heard gospel preaching. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." (Acts 20:7) Christian worship must be regular or steadfast. (Acts 2:42) Do not just be in "Your assembly." It is so very important that you be in your assembly, but it is just as important that you truly worship God while you are there. Don't just sit, participate! Let us worship for our own spiritual strength and growth. Let us worship to encourage others. Let us worship steadfastly because we owe it to God.
Those who fail to have proper regard for others sin, against God. Even Christians, who willfully violate the commandments of Christ, are transgressors. They have broken God's law. Those who show no mercy will receive no mercy. Christians must have concern and love for others. We must treat other people like we want to be treated. This is especially true in "Your assembly." The Christian religion stands or falls on the doctrine of Christ as the Son of God. (John 6:69) Those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God will gladly repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38) Those with "the love of God in them," serve Him faithfully. They realize that a profession of faith without obedience is loathsome to God. Does God approve of "Your assembly"?
This Article is from the Walnut Street Church Of Christ website.