Monday, September 3, 2018

Have you ever taken an excellent idea to your boss and had cold water poured on your proposal?  There is an element in the world that wants to discourage and beat you down.  Some refer to it as “dumb luck.”  Others describe it as “The cards played against you.”  Some blame God.  Some recognize “the god of this world” as the one who is responsible (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 3:19b).  He is the great deceiver (2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).  Everyone needs encouragement.  We need to be built up.  It takes ten compliments to overcome one negative remark.  We need moral support.  We need compliments.  More people die of broken hearts than of swelled heads.  We ought to be each other’s cheerleader, believing in and praising one another.  The church is God’s praise team.  Paul said, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another(I Thessalonians 5:11).

In the first century, Christians slaves needed encouragement if they belonged to a harsh master.  They were never instructed to run away or harm their masters (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25).  Jesus called two men to be his apostles and both hated the other.  Matthew was a tax collector and was in fellowship with the Roman government.  Simon was a zealot who would rather kill a Jewish traitor than pray with him.  Yet, Jesus changes hearts.  Differences needed to be addressed.  Foundations of friendship must be built.  When that foundation is laid, love is the builder.  If that is off limits in the assembly, that assembly shouldn’t exist.  Notice Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians and Colossians.

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

Some only notice the expression “singing” and the absence of a mechanical instrument of music in these passages.  An assembly may “sing” without a mechanical instrument until doomsday, but if the “one another” is missing, there is an absent of the “in spirit and in truth” worship (John 4:23-24)!  Satan has been working overtime with his deception.  He suggests rules to regulate “in spirit and in truth” turning true worship into a twin of the lie given in the garden (Genesis 3:4).

When Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, he stated, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.   Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:1-2).

On the beginning day of the church Luke records that they “continued steadfastly” in:

  1. The apostles’ teaching.
  2. Fellowship.
  3. Breaking of bread.
  4. Prayers.
  5. Wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
  6. Had all things common.
  7. Gave to those who had need.
  8. Ate with gladness and singleness of heart.
  9. And praised God.

What was the results of such assemblies?

  1. A good reputation among the folks in Jerusalem.
  2. The Lord added to the saved daily (Acts 2:41-47)!

This was done without radio, TV, Internet, newspaper or mail out ads.

It was done without beautiful church buildings or attractive street signs.

It was done in a city hostile to Jesus and his followers (Acts 4:1-3, 17-18, 21; 5:13, 18, 28, 33, 40).

Do we assemble to speak and admonish one another?  Do we edify or build up?  If we don’t do the first part of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, do we really accomplish the last sections?