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God has graciously supplied our every need, including our need to be edified in spiritual matters. He knew we would face difficulties and discouragements, and He wisely provided the means for us to be strengthened. One of these means is the public worship assembly of the church. We grow stronger spiritually when we worship God together. And because this is true, we ought to have a high regard for those occasions when the church gathers to worship.
It is helpful to remember that our worship services are not an end in themselves but rather a means to an end. Paul said that God does not dwell in any temple that we could make: "Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Ac. 17:25). The acts through which we worship God are important in themselves, to be sure, but God wants us to get the inner strength and spiritual maturity that come from these things. God does not need our worship -- we do. If we neglect our worship or fail to appreciate its purpose, we will decline spiritually. None of us is an exception to the rule that Christians need to worship with other Christians.
The Hebrew writer pointed to the need for the Lord's people to assemble together regularly: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Heb. 10:23-25). Love and good works need to be stirred up in each of us, and our gathering for worship is a prime means of such stimulation. Just as a burning ember dies when it is separated from the fire, those who neglect the practice of gathering with their fellow Christians for worship are likely to grow cold in their devotion to God.
God has never required anything that is not good for us. We should be glad about the privilege of worship. David's sentiment is a worthy one to emulate: "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!'" (Psa. 122:1). This week, let's determine to have a deeper gratitude for the many good things that can happen when we worship together as we should.
Monday: Acts 2:37-47
Key Idea: In the New Testament, the church met frequently to worship.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.42, what does it say the members of the Jerusalem church "devoted" themselves to? In v.46, how often did they meet together in the temple courts for worship? Does it seem that they enjoyed worshiping together?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 2:1-15.
Tuesday: Acts 20:7-12
Key Idea: In the New Testament, church assemblies sometimes lasted a long time.
Questions for Family Growth: When did the disciples come together "to break bread"? What events had happened on that day of the week that would have made it a special day for Christians? How long did Paul speak on this occasion? Why was the group willing to stay so long and listen?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 2:16-22.
Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Key Idea: God wants us to be edified when the church assembles.
Questions for Family Growth: What does the word "edification" mean? What does Paul mean when he says, "Let all things be done for building up" (v.26)? What are some practical things we can do to help ourselves be edified (as well as edify others) when the church assembles?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 3:1,2.
Thursday: Ephesians 4:11-16
Key Idea: The church becomes stronger by being taught God's truth.
Questions for Family Growth: Looking at v.12, for what practical purpose has Christ provided for the teaching of His word? What is said in v.15 about "growing up"? In v.16, what happens when each part of the body is functioning as it should?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 3:3,4.
Friday: Hebrews 10:23-25
Key Idea: When we worship together, we encourage one another to be faithful to God.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.23, what are we are exhorted to "hold fast"? In v.24, why do we need to "consider" one another? What were some of the recipients of this letter doing in regard to their assemblies that Christians should not do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 3:5,6.