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Why We Gather

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God's people gather during a sacred time in a sacred place to fulfill a sacred purpose.



Many people take for granted the sacred gathering of the saints each Lord’s Day
Church is seen as a social gathering, a box we should check, etc.
Stats show that church membersh
In reality there are great implications for the glory of God and the good of His people when we gather on the Lord’s Day
Stats show that from 1998-2000 69% of US Adults were church members vs. 52% 2016-2018
Today we will look at the biblical truths behind Why We Gather by
Today we will answer the question “Why we gather?” and see that God’s people gather during a sacred time in a sacred place to fulfill a sacred purpose.

When is this sacred time?

The Sabbath/Lord’s Day
The concept of time is something few people dwell on
We see the concept of time immediately in
There was a moment prior to “the beginning” when the heavens and earth were not and then they were
We see over a period of six days God created: light, land, the seas, plants, animals, stars, man etc.
On the 7th day God rested
Genesis 2:1–2 ESV
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
Genesis 2:
We see a distinction between the first six days and the seventh
Did God need all six days to create? Did God need to rest?
The seventh day is the culmination of creation
A state of perpetual rest
The Sabbath is positively instituted in the 10 Commandments
Exodus 20:11 ESV
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The Sabbath included harsh sanctions
Exodus 35:2 ESV
2 Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.
Because of this commandment and it’s sanctions the Jews prepared and looked forward to the Sabbath the first six days of each week
After the resurrection of Christ we see a shift in observing the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st.
No explicit text states this, but we see it implied
Christ’s resurrection was on the first day of the week
John 20:1 ESV
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
Christ met with the disciples on the first day of the week
John 20:19–23 ESV
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
The early church observed the Lord’s Day as the Sabbath
Acts 20:7 ESV
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
Acts 20:3–7 ESV
3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
1 Corinthians 16:1–2 ESV
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
In Revelation John references the Lord’s Day
Revelation 1:10 ESV
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
Important to see Sabbath as an institution, not merely a calendar day
As long as mankind labors mankind will need rest
The Sabbath was made for our rest. Not only physical, but it is morally and spiritually necessary for mankind to rest.
As the Jews spent six days looking forward to the Sabbath rest, now we begin our week on the first day from a position of rest in Christ.
We see that the six days of creation and six days of labor is a picture pointing forward to this sacred time of rest in Christ.
How do we, from a position of rest in Christ, keep the Sabbath day holy?
We gather for corporate worship
We observe a holy rest from secular duties
Perform acts of necessity and mercy
Mark 12:1–13 ESV
1 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” 12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk.
Matthew 12:1–13 ESV
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” 9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.

Where is this sacred place?

God’s house
Genesis 28:10–22 ESV
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” 18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
Jacob build’s a pillar and calls the stone “God’s house”
We see many OT figures using stones to build pillars/altars
Genesis 8:20 ESV
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Genesis 12:8 ESV
8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.
gen 12:
In the NT we see that we are “living stones” being built up
1 Peter 2:5 ESV
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:22 ESV
22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
Ephesians 2:19–22 ESV
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
The local church is the practical context for these living stones being built up
When we come together, during this sacred time in this sacred place, we are individual stones being built around the cornerstone Jesus Christ into a temple of God’s presence
Because we are living stones being built into a Holy temple we should not forsake the gathering
Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.
Hebrews 10:25 ESV
25 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.
Hebrews 10:24–26 ESV
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

What is our sacred purpose in this sacred place during this sacred time?

To worship God
psalm 100: 1-2
Psalm 100:1–2 ESV
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1–3 ESV
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
We worship God because He is God
We worship God because of His great promises
When we gather during this sacred time in this sacred place we should remember His covenant
Promises given to Jacob in were not new promises
We see the same promises given to Abraham in , , and 22.
We see these promises are dual in nature
Physical promise of land and people
Spiritual promise of the Seed to bless all nations
Galatians 3:16 ESV
16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
We rest in the promises of God
seeing that God was faithful to fulfill His promise to Abraham gives us the confidence to worship in humble faith
Just as Israel did not deserve to walk into the promised land we do not deserve salvation in Jesus Christ

Application Questions

Have you denied/broken the sabbath?
Christ is Lord of the Sabbath and keeps the Sabbath in your place. Rest in His perfect obedience.
Have you forsaken the gathering?
Christ was forsaken on the behalf of sinners. Rest in knowing that, through faith, He will never forsake His people.
Have you left the purpose of worship unfulfilled?
Christ worshipped in the highest sense of Spirit and Truth. Rest in His perfect worship.
Look to Christ
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