An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. “Where would you like to sit?” he asked politely.
“The front row please,” she answered.
“You really don’t want to do that,” the usher said, “The pastor is really boring.”
“Do you happen to know who I am?” the woman inquired.
“No,” he said.
“I’m the pastor’s mother,” she replied indignantly.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked.
“No,” she said.
“Good,” he answered.
1. What was the most awkward gathering you have ever attended?
2. How would you define what the gathering of the church is?
3. What specifics would you say are biblical mandates that we do as the church gathers together?
Today I want to challenge you on what it means to “Gather.” Sometimes when we think of the word gather, words like group, church building, Sunday morning, and corporate worship come to mind. Yes, these are all wonderful things that we do as a church together. They are wonderful and important! However, gathering as a church is so much more. We need to look to the Word and hopefully, you will be challenged in expanding your thoughts of the gathering of the church.
Acts 2:42-44 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”
4. What gathering events happened in the early church?
If you think you can do church on your own, you just do not get what the church is.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, we see, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
God does not just call His church to come and be, but to go and do. As I have worked in the church for over 20 years now, I have seen so many times instead of the church being moved to go and serve, the people in the church go to the church building and find a staff member and then say something like, “I think this is something the church should do or take care of.”
5. Why do you think that has become a struggle for the followers of Jesus?
God is telling the church that it needs to minister to people with problems. So if you are in the church, you must go help people with problems. The wonderful thing about that is all of us have our own problems. Therefore, the church is a group of people caring for each other’s problems.
Here are 4 ways the church gathers together to help people with problems.
1. Gossip about them.
2. Tell the pastor to go take care of it.
3. Abandon those people with problems.
4. Go to a different church where people do not have problems.
Okay, so I am writing this and laughing, but the truth is this is what happens.
There are real answers to how to gather as a church from 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15.
I. “Admonish the idle.”
This means to come alongside those who are headed in the wrong direction and give them the truth. The word “urge” here in the Greek literally means “to come along.” It means to help. The word “idle” means those with an actively rebellious attitude. To admonish means to give warning against danger.
II. “Encourage the fainthearted.”
This means to comfort and console those who are worried, scared, and timid in their faith.
III. “Help the weak.”
The weak are those who doubt, those who struggle with their past sins. It is those who need the strength to get over sin.
IV. “Be patient with them all.”
The Lord knows His people and says we must have patience.
13. What are some ideas about how you can do this?
V. “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil,
but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
Do not repay evil to those in the church who have paid you evil. If you are in the church long enough you will experience evil from another believer. Experiencing evil from the world is one thing, but from another believer hurts to another level. God says to always seek good for them.
This is what a healthy church is going to look like. This is how a healthy church is going to gather together. The gathering of the saints is not just a Sunday morning thing. The church should be gathering throughout the community every day.