As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not feeling all that great. I’ve got insomnia and headaches and blah blah blah, so the thought of not going to a church meeting is really appealing. Last night Christians on Campus and some christians around the area had a prayer meeting. I somehow managed to drag my nasty, stinking, dead self to the meeting, and let me tell you – I got revived. I wasn’t jumping up and down and shouting hallelujah all over the place, but I was warmed up. It was so good to just be around other people who were enjoying God.
I heard an illustration once that the Christian life is like a bunch of coals. If you have a pile of coals, they’ll burn each other for hours. But if you separate one of the coals from the pile, it will cool off pretty quickly. That’s what happens to me when I separate myself from other Christians.
That experience last night reminded me how precious Christian meetings are. I know a lot of Christians (some of my family members included) think it’s enough to just have a personal relationship with the Lord without attending Christian gatherings. A personal relationship with our dear Lord and Savior is extremely important, but that’s not all there is to the Christian life.
John 20:24 says “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”
Seems like an odd verse right? Well, the Bible I’m using has a fantastic footnote for this verse:
“After His resurrection the Lord came to meet with His disciples, beginning from the evening of this first day. Thus, in the Lord’s resurrection the matter of meeting with the saints is crucial. Mary the Magdalene met the Lord personally in the morning and obtained the blessing (vv. 16-18), but she still needed to be in the meetings with the saints in the evening to meet the Lord in a corporate way to obtain more and greater blessings (vv. 19-23). Thomas missed the first meeting that the Lord held with the disciples after His resurrection, and he missed all the blessings as well. However, he compensated for it by attending the second meeting (vv. 25-28).”
Can you believe that? Mary had seen the Lord in His resurrection – something no one else was privileged to see. She went to the tomb early and hung around until she saw Him. She had one of the most wonderful, personal, and intimate experiences a believer could ever have with the Lord. She met him face to face after He resurrected from the dead and before He ascended to the Father. You’d think that would be enough to sustain her in her Christian pursuit for a while, right? But according to the Lord, it wasn’t. He told her to go to the brothers and meet with them.
In Hebrews 12:2 the writer (probably Paul) said he would “declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.” In 10:25 he goes on by saying “Not abandoning our own assembling together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Wow, this was Paul. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Paul tells us that he was “caught away to the third heaven” and into “Paradise” where he “heard unspeakable words.” This man, this same man, told us to not abandon our own assembling together. Even though he saw things that no one living human being had ever seen and heard things that no other living human being had heard, he still made a point to attend Christian gatherings with pitiful and lowly little believers like me.
The same Paul wrote Ephesians 4:16 “Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”
Paul not only met with the other believers, he realized that he needed the other believers. He didn’t go to meetings to fulfill some religious obligation, but he went to get joined and knit with the other members of the Body of Christ for the growth of the Body of Christ. He even says in 1 Corinthians 12:14-22 that every member of the Body has a different function, and that even the members who appear to be weaker are necessary. Hallelujah! Even I’m a necessary part of the Body of Christ!
This is so good! Don’t miss the meetings! You receive blessings in the meetings! You get built up with and encouraged by other Christians in the meetings!
There’s a lot more I could write on this topic (and I feel like this is all kind of scattered thanks to my lack of sleep), but I think I’ll end it here. Maybe i’ll continue it later.