A Message by Kent Munsey
Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
There is power when we gather together as the Church of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us that Jesus is praying for us to the Father. Scripture tells us that He is building his church, and He is coming back for his Church. The “Day” referenced in Hebrews 10:25 refers to the day that Jesus returns for his bride, the Church, when we will see everything that is broken made whole. We are to meet and gather all the more as we see the Day approaching.
Sunday is the Lord’s Day. All around the world, the church is gathering. The church is growing in strength and in power. The secret source of the church’s power is in its gathering. What is supposed to happen when we gather together as a church?
1. Praise & Worship:
The first thing that is supposed to happen when we gather: Praise & Worship
How you address someone determines how the interaction will go, and what you are able to receive from them. The first thing we are to do when we approach God is to offer Him praise. When we bring God down to our level, we limit what He can do for us; instead, we are to go up to him, acknowledging that he is enthroned in heaven and worthy of our praise!
Praise is the response from your heart to God. It focuses us individually and corporately on Jesus. It opens up our spirit to receive, and it prepares the atmosphere for God to move.
Psalm 100:4, NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
Scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV).
When we move from praise to worship, we move from singing about his goodness to singing in his goodness--to actually communing with him, in his presence.
The second thing that should happen is prayer. God said his house should be called a house of prayer. (Matthew 21:13). There is no prayer to small or too big for Jesus.
Jesus was often looked down upon by the religious people of his time because he prayed for the real “sinners” in the margins of society, like the tax collectors, the prostitutes and the beggars. There is no evidence that these people were believers. You don’t have to be a Christian to receive prayer or healing! Sometimes God just wants to show off his goodness and reveal himself.
3. Connect Time
We are commanded by God to love each other (Mark 12:30-31). The connect time is a time in the service when we exercise our faith in this way by connecting with others.
The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). If we just make room to connect with each other, it’s amazing what God will do. One of the most spiritual things we can do is be in a relationship with someone else because in that relationship, inevitably we will offend each other, and we will have to learn the art of reconciliation. Our greatest needs as humans are to be connected to God and connected to each other.
If you are tempted to tune out during church news, chances are that you’re not thinking highly enough of yourself. We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)! In every Lyft ride, at every Cubs game, we represent Christ.
As an ambassador of Christ, you need to be informed of what is happening in the church. When the church meets, the ambassadors of Christ are in session, just like the meeting of Congress, and you need to be aware of what the church is doing and the opportunities you have to help move God’s Kingdom forward.
5. Tithes & Offerings
Offerings should be prepared rather than given, an intentional activity. In Genesis 14 and Hebrews 9, Scripture talks about God teaching Abraham the principle of giving back ten percent of what he had received from God. Some have said that because this was a principle of the Old Testament law, that it no longer applies to today’s church. But we know from the New Testament that the righteousness of grace is always greater than the righteousness of the law (Matthew 5).
The tithe was created so the church leaders could successfully carry out God’s mission on earth (Malachi 3:10). How can we support the needs of many on the income of a few? To those who say they’ll give when they have more money: Money doesn’t change you; it just magnifies you. We need to decide to give God what is His so he can do what He wants to do in our lives, in our church, and in our world!
6. Ministry of the Word:
His Word gives us life (Psalm 119:50). If you’re open to the Word, it will speak to you, and it will change you. The Word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Hebrew word for “rebuke,” means “Stop, get back, that’s enough.” The Word of God is so powerful that we just have to share it, and it will work in mighty ways! Spiritually, the word of God will rebuke the enemy in your life. It will supernaturally say, “stop, get back, that’s enough!” to the devil, without your even realizing it, just by hearing the Word of God.
7. Response Time:
Altar calls are not in Scripture, but there is in scripture a time for response to the Word of God.
John 6:44, NIV
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
The Father is actively drawing people to him throughout the week and throughout the service. We believe that God seeks us, rather than the other way around. We must always make time to respond to God and to the Holy Spirit at the end of our gathering
Our prayer is that we would never be ashamed and always be bold in our worship, in our praise, in our tithes and offerings, that we would always allow time for connecting with each other, for loving each other, for opening up the Word, and for a response to the Word. Our prayer for our city to see a move of God that reveals his goodness, faithfulness and glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.