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                        "A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD"
                          Our Public Assemblies


1. In our last study, we noted that being a Christian involves both

2. One of the blessings as well as an important responsibility for the
   Christian is the practice of ASSEMBLING regularly with other
   a. We have an example of Christians assembling in Ac 20:7
   b. We have an explicit command not to forsake our assembling
      together - He 10:25

3. The PURPOSE of our assembling is THREE-FOLD:
   a. To express praise and devotion to God and Christ
   b. To exhort and encourage our brethren to greater service
      - He 10:24-25
   c. To receive such encouragement ourselves

4. In this study, we shall:
   a. Briefly remark concerning the ACTIVITIES that we engage in during
      our assemblies
   b. See how every activity is designed to accomplish the three-fold
      purpose described above
   c. Suggest how we can get the most out of our public assemblies


   A. PRAYER...
      1. We have several examples of group prayer in the early church
         - Ac 4:23-24; 12:5,12
      2. The value of such prayer is implied in Ja 5:16 (if such is
         true concerning the prayer of ONE righteous man, how much
         more the prayers of MANY righteous!)
      3. The value of all prayer is seen further in Ph 4:6-7
         a. Thus prayer not only blesses (praises) God
         b. But also blesses (benefits) those who pray!
      4. HINT:  To get the most out of public prayers, make them your 
         a. In your heart, tell the Lord you agree with what is being
            said by the one leading the prayer
         b. Don't hesitate to offer a hearty "AMEN" if you agree

   B. SINGING...
      1. Commands to sing can be found in Ep 5:19; Co 3:16; He 13:15
      2. Notice where the emphasis lies:
         a. On praising God
         b. On teaching one another
         c. On making melody "in your hearts"
      3. So the emphasis is not on how we sound, but on what we say and
         how we feel
         a. Therefore, pay more attention to the words rather than the
         b. Concentrate on engaging the mind and heart, and not just
            the mouth
      4. HINT:  To get more out singing in public, sing often in
         private! - Ja 5:13

      1. Teaching or preaching of the Word of God was part of public
         worship in the early church - Ac 20:7
      2. For it is by the Word of God that we can grow spiritually 
         - 1 Pe 2:2
      3. How we listen to the proclamation of God's Word is an
         indication of our devotion to God
         a. We should be quick to hear what God's Word has to say 
            - Ja 1:18-19
         b. It is important to receive God's Word with a proper
            attitude of meekness and willingness to receive it 
            - Ja 1:21; Mk 4:23-25
      4. HINT:  As with singing, the more we study the Word in private,
         the more we get out of it in the public assemblies!

      1. This is also called:
         a. The "breaking of bread" - Ac 2:42; 20:7
         b. "Communion" - 1 Co 10:16
      2. A memorial feast instituted by Jesus Himself - 1 Co 11:23-26
         a. In it we remember:
            1) The sinless body offered on the cross in our place
            2) The blood shed to provide forgiveness for our sins
         b. Done faithfully, we proclaim our faith in the efficacy of
            the Lord's death
      3. It should be done with all seriousness and appropriateness
         - 1 Co 11:27-29
         a. In a manner worthy of the One we are remembering
         b. A time also to reflect upon our relationship with Him who
            died for us
      4. Done properly...
         a. It honors Jesus ("This do, in remembrance of Me")
         b. It  renews us to greater faithfulness - 1 Co 11:28-32
         c. It strengthens our oneness in the body of Christ 
            - 1 Co 10:17
         d. We continually share in the "body and blood of the Lord"
            - 1 Co 10:16
            1) Not literally
            2) Perhaps referring to a continual communion with the
               benefits of that sacrifice (e.g., forgiveness)
      5. HINT:  Reading passages like Isaiah 53, Psalms 22, and the
         Gospel records of Christ's suffering and death while partaking
         of the Supper can help keep our minds focused on what we are

      1. The early church is noteworthy for its love for one another
         - Ac 2:44,45; 4:32-35
      2. Such love went beyond those in the local congregation 
         - Ac 11:27-30
      3. In time, a systematic manner for providing for needy
         Christians was instituted - 1 Co 16:1-2
      4. The primary purpose of the collection, then, was to provide
         for needy Christians
         a. Locally and abroad
         b. Including those who devote their lives to preaching the
            gospel - 2 Co 11:8,9; Ph 4:10-18
      5. How much should one give?  The New Testament does not set a
         percentage (like the "tithe", or a tenth, found in the Old
         Testament), but rather instructs us to give according to the
         following principles:
         a. "As he may prosper" - 1 Co 16:2
         b. Whatever is given with "a willing mind" - 2 Co 8:12
         c. "According to what one has" - 2 Co 8:12-13
         d. "As he purposes (plans) in his heart" - 2 Co 9:7
         e. Whatever one can give "cheerfully", not "grudgingly" or
            "of necessity" - 2 Co 9:7
         f. Keeping in mind the principle of "sowing and reaping" 
            - 2 Co 9:6,8
      6. Even this activity fulfills the three-fold purpose mentioned
         at the beginning of our lesson:
         a. We are blessed in giving - Ac 20:35; 2 Co 9:11
         b. Brethren's needs are met - 2 Co 9:12a
         c. God is glorified - 2 Co 9:12-15
      7. HINT:  to help motivate us in giving, remember the examples
         of the churches in Macedonia and of the Lord Himself - 2 Co 8:


      1. Our brethren in Christ
         a. People like you, who appreciate the presence and encourage-
            ment of other Christians
         b. So take the time to visit with them before and after the
            1) Don't get into the habit of always coming in at the last
            2) Don't be in such a rush to leave after the service is 
      2. Frequently visitors
         a. Who naturally draw conclusions about the congregation
            during their visit
            1) Will they conclude we are really disciples of Jesus?
               - cf. Jn 13:35
            2) Will they say in their hearts "God is truly among you"?
               - cf. 1 Co 14:25
         b. So take the time to welcome them and visit with them 
            - He 13:2
      3. And especially our Lord
         a. As He promised in Mt 18:20
         b. Do we act as we would if He were bodily present?

      1. Preparation beforehand makes a big difference
         a. Such as praying and meditating upon what you are going to
         b. Planning what you can do to make the assembly more edifying
            (such as welcoming and visiting)
         c. In other words, come to serve, not to be served (although
            you will blessed in return by doing it this way)
      2. The more you come, the more interest you show, the more (and
         faster) you will grow!
         a. This is true in any endeavor (e.g., physical exercise,
         b. "How often do I have to come?" is an indication of grave
            spiritual immaturity!
            1) It displays a lack of true love for Christ and His
            2) It shows that one is selfishly concerned with how little
               they can do to save themselves
            3) How does the love of God abide in such a person?
               - cf. 1 Jn 3:16-19


1. Rather, our attitude ought to be like that expressed by David in 
   Ps 122:1

2. Neglecting the assemblies is detrimental to our spiritual growth as
   disciples of Christ

3. Do we express our love for God, our brethren, even our own selves as
   we should?

4. One of the greatest spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ in this
   life is the fellowship we share in our public assemblies... Let's all
   do our part to fully utilize that blessing!


1. Does one attend the assemblies to be entertained, or to serve?

2. Do you attend every assembly of the congregation where you are?

3. If not, are you praying to God to help you make it possible for you
   to do so?

4. What can you do before the assemblies to get more out of them?
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