We Will Gather Together

February 28, 2021 Speaker: Reid Strahan Series: The Church: Members of Christ and One Another

Topic: The Church Passage: Hebrews 10:24–25, Ephesians 4:11–16

What I am going to say this morning is not intended to be a political statement.  It is not a COVID 19 statement. In some ways it is simply what is up next in our teaching series. But it does apply to us now and always.  It is a statement from God’s Word.  And that statement is...“We will meet together.” Or as Hebrews puts it, “We will not neglect to meet together.”   Of course, those who are weak or sick cannot get out to meet,  at times, and God understands those frailties, but his general will FOR us, and his command TO us, is to meet together and to NOT forsake doing that! 

We have put this current teaching series in “we will” statements, because we want them to move from the pages of the Bible into your your life and heart.  We want them to become deeply held convictions!  These are exhortations from God’s word about our commitment to one another in a local church family. Parents, impart these to your children; men lead your wives and families in these convictions.   

Our tenacity to meet together springs out of our love for Christ and for one another. It is a way we practice seeking first the kingdom of God.  It is a way we show that we are seeking first the kingdom of God.  Gathering flows out of hearts filled with the Holy Spirit!  It is a result of being born of God!  1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed out of death and into life BECAUSE we love the brothers”.  And part of the way that love is expressed is that we love to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ!

I recently finished a book about a Christian man who was falsely accused of being a spy in Russia in 1941 and thrown in the Lubiyanka prison in Moscow for 5 years then sentenced to 15 years in the Russian Gulag in Siberia.  One of the things that amazed him was the passionate drive of believers to meet together, despite the dire risks, and dire circumstances.

When they met, they had to put people on watch, to warn them against the approach of prison guards or the presence of informers… but they still met!  

He described a “close knit group of Baptist believers” in one camp, who “regularly gathered for prayer, to recite the Bible from memory, and instructed one another to be faithful to Christ”.  “The camp officials were particularly severe on Baptists, and did their best to break up such groups”….but they still met!  They had no buildings, the offered no entertainment, but they still met.  

Why is there this passionate drive to meet together!?  Or why should there be this passion to meet? 

First: Because God dwells among us, together, in a way that we don’t fully experience on our own. Ephesians 2:22  You are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  It is when the church is together that sometimes even an unbeliever will be overcome by the presence of God.   “he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” Brian Kroft with Ligonier Ministries put it this way, “When the church gathers, the Holy Spirit works in unique and powerful ways that are missing in private gatherings.”  Who of us has not experienced that!

God said: "I will dwell with THEM and walk among THEM, and I will be THEIR God, and THEY will be My people." (2 Cor. 6:16) God lives in our midst, as a people! The author I quoted earlier said Christians in the Gulag paid the price to gather, “because they were aware of the presence of God in the community of believers gathered together.”

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” God is among us and rejoices over us together!  

Jesus taught his disciples to pray “our Father”, give “us” “our” daily bread, deliver “us” from the evil one!  Jesus assumed they would pray together.  We pray as a family, as brothers and sisters, presenting OUR needs to OUR Father!

Second: We gather...Because we are members of one another!  Romans 12:5 “we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”  We are parts of a whole, as elbow is a part of an arm. If the elbow withdraws it’s function it hurts the whole body. Some say, “I am doing just fine not being in church.”  But that’s NOT the whole issue.  We are called to do our part, for others

Paul tells us to be devoted to one another, in brotherly love.  Honor one another, share with God's people, practice hospitality. Rejoice with those who who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. We do those things together as members of one anotherr!

*Third: We gather because we are commanded to gather and warned against NOT gathering.  Hebrews 10:24,25 “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.” The Holy Spirit urges us to NOT forsake meeting together.

This alone should develop a conviction in us to faithfully gather with the church family.

Fourth:  We are stirred up to love more, to do more good by meeting together.  Verse 24 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” then verse 25 tells us how, by not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another. There is no question but that we tend to lose our spiritual fervor on our own.  Logs on a fire keep burning, but when one is pulled off by itself the flame goes out.  

This is essentially the point of Hebrews 3:12,13 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” We think we would never be deceived, or slide into unbelief, or turn away from God.  But we are told to meet together to encourage or exhort one another daily so that would NOT happen!   

Fifth: We gather because we see the good example of the New Testament church.  Acts 2:42 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (to be together), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” NASB

Acts 2:46 “With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house.” 

Acts 1:14 “With one accord they all continued in prayer.” 

*Acts 20:7 Luke said, “On the first day of the week we came together... to break bread”.  The disciples were devoted to coming together on the first day of the week. When Paul came to Troas he knew on the first day of the week, the church would be together!  

The gathering of the church was a huge priority to the first century disciples!  When Paul spoke till midnight, the church was there with him. When they broke bread in the early morning hours the church was still together.  When Paul continued talking with them UNTIL DAYLIGHT, they were still together!

Paul said he labored for the hearts of believers at Colossae and Laodicea, to be “knit together” with the other believers in love. (Colossians 2:2)  It is hard to be knit together with other believers without actually being together as much as we can. I enjoy a phone call with my wife but that can’t replace sitting across the table from her at the Cafe, face to face, eye to eye, talking with her.  Physical presence DOES do something for our souls! 

Spurgeon said, “A Christian is not meant to be a solitary being.”  He pointed to the example of a dear sister, who was deaf and “could not hear a word that was said”, but she came regularly because she knew it did her good to know that she was worshiping God with the rest of his people.

Now, there is a way, to be with one another in spirit, even when we are absent. (And we should do that we are apart) But the desire is always to be together face to face. 1 Thess. 2:17  “Brothers, although we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in heart), our desire to see you face to face was even more intense”. 

And 1 Thessalonians 3:10 “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face.”  When God has our hearts there is this tenacity to be together!


But I think the biggest reason for us to gather is that our Lord  Jesus Christ nourishes and cares for us through our engagement with one another!  ALL spiritual life and nourishment and power flow to us FROM Christ. But that Life is fed to us THROUGH one another!  Calvin said, “All the life or health flows from the head... but “is diffused through the members” of the body!  (or comes to us through the members)

Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.. 

WHO is doing the ministry, or works of service? The saints!

WHO is building up the body of Christ?  Each of us! 

The work of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, is to prepare EACH of us to serve, and build up one another, so that TOGETHER we all grow into the people God wants us to be.  

Verse 14 “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine... Rather, speaking the truth in love (to one another),...Verse 15 “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Verse 16 (NIV) “From (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” 

The church is a body! We are Joints and ligaments. Our growth and maturity, and spiritual well being, flows FROM CHRIST, BUT THROUGH OUR INTERACTION with each other, AS EACH ONE DOES ITS PART!  It doesn’t come from outer space, in some mysterious, unknown way.  It comes through us, being together, speaking the truth to each other, loving each other, worshiping together, singing together, and praying together!  

Gods plan for our well-being, our growth, our protection against false teaching, our deepening knowledge of Christ, our hope and our encouragement is through one another! We become mature by engaging in a body of believers where truth is spoken to one another by regular saints, using our gifts to bless, encourage, to love, and do good to the body.   

We gather as the church so these things happen!

*Now I want to address a particular problem we have today that the NT church did not deal with.  That is the practice of not being attached to A church.  The word picture of a local church in the NT is that of a flock with shepherds feeding and watching over it.  Peter said, “I appeal to the elders among you, be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--”  The writer of Hebrews said “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”

We are not in prison, where we cannot visit another church, and RLC does not have to be your church.  But we all need to settle into a flock, where we are connected to other saints, and we are allowing qualified shepherds to watch over our soul! It is not wise or safe to live a detached Christian life, floating from place to place, ministry to ministry, church to church.

*Our church meetings are not opposed by prison camp guards, as in the Russian Gulag.  But there are things in our culture that work just as effectively against our gathering, that we need to beware of.  Most of these things are not wrong in themselves.  But they can become too big.

*Travel, camping, weekends away, leisure activities are increasingly a part of our culture.  I hope everyone here gets to do some of that, but it can become such a big part of our lives that our gathering with the saints is sort of hit and miss.

*There is a huge focus on kids activities and sports in our culture.  Many of those events happen on weekends and without a conviction to gather, Sports over church can become a family lifestyle very easily.  And our kids get that message. They clearly understand what mom and dad are living for and what matters to them.

*There is a trend to go to the internet for worship and teaching, and to seek spiritual solutions, apart from the body of Christ and church leadership.  Where people cannot be together for some reason it is good to have that on-line worship and teaching.  But it is not a substitute for being connected to a church body and shepherds or pastors.  

*There is a shift even in Christian culture away from going to church.  People say things like, “The church isn’t a building”, “I am the church, so I don’t have to go to church”.

*There is loss of understanding that we are soldiers and that we are to endure hardship as soldiers of Jesus Christ.  We should have a tenacity to gather even if it’s inconvenient.  Paul said to preach the word, “in season and out of season”. We need that same heart for meeting together.   

Josef Gabor grew up in Czechoslovakia under communist rule.  His father was a devout communist but his mother took Josef and his brother with her to church.  They got up early each Sunday morning and took a 3 hour train ride, attended a 2-1/2 hour church service and made the 3 hour trip home later in the day.   “Today Josef is a missionary to his own people in Czechoslovakia. When he tells about going to church as a child his eyes fill with tears of gratitude for his mother who cared enough about his spiritual welfare to help him come to know and serve Christ.”   ( 

We have to be awake to spiritual and cultural forces, and the tendencies of the flesh, that would keep us apart. We must make intentional choices to overcome them!

So...Let us have deep convictions to gather with one another, so that we may obey God and also so that we may position ourselves for the life and maturity and growth that comes from Christ our head down through the members of the body to one another.  May the Lord himself stir up a fire in our hearts to meet with one another.  May the Lord stir up a love in us for gathering with one another.  

More in The Church: Members of Christ and One Another

June 6, 2021

Jesus Will Build His Church

May 30, 2021

Dealing With Sin In the Church

May 16, 2021

Baptized In the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Join us Sunday at