We Gather to Strengthen One Another
So we gather to encounter God and we gather to respond to God. And we gather to strengthen one another. Verse 24 of Hebrews 10 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” And then the end of verse 25, “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” A direct result of obeying the command in verse 25 to gather together is that we are stirred up and encouraged. We come to church to be strengthened and to strengthen others. In 1 Corinthians 14:26 the Apostle Paul says, “When you come together . . . Let all things be done for building up.”
Worship isn’t merely the response to God that takes place when we sing and listen to preaching on Sunday morning. In other words, we don’t worship here and then simply go about our week. Worship is a way of life. Worship is our day-to-day, moment-by-moment response to God. Paul tells us that we are “to present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice . . . which is [our] spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). And this corporate gathering is a strengthening grace from God to equip us for our daily worship of God. This is where we’re stirred up and encouraged. That happens as we encounter God together. Martin Luther once said that at home in his house he didn’t always experience warmth and vigor for the things of God, but when he gathered with the church a fire was kindled. We come to church to catch on fire. And we take that fire with us through the week.
Now, if that’s all true, that this gathering is where we encounter God in a unique way, where we respond worshipfully together to the God we encounter, and if this is where we get the grace and strength to live a life of worship when we leave this gathering, then I’d say this gathering is pretty significant, wouldn’t you? It’s no ordinary thing we do here together week in and week out. It’s extraordinary.
J.I. Packer says it this way in his excellent book A Quest for God:
“We must never, therefore, let our Sundays become mere routine engagements; in that attitude of mind, we shall trifle them away by a humdrum formality. Every Sunday is meant to be a great day, and we should approach it expectantly, in full awareness of this.”
Sunday is the best day of the week. It’s the day we get to (not have to, get to) gather as the church to encounter God and respond to him corporately and to encourage and stir up and strengthen one another. Let that purpose for this gathering fuel your passion for it.
*Adapted from Together: Gathering, a sermon orginally preached by Rick Gamache on September 18, 2016*
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