How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.( I Corinthians 14:26)
The Church is an Assembly. That is what the word ‘Ecclesia’ actually means,’the ones who are called out to an Assembly’. Thus the Church meets together. The Purpose of those meetings is edification. We meet in order to be built up, and to participate in the building up of our brothers and sisters.
Everything in this world is being employed to break down the resolve of those who want to follow and please God. The Apostle John tells us ‘The whole world lies in the wicked One’. The World and the Devil who is the true ‘god of this world’ would demoralize the true church through a steady and unceasing campaign of either slander, seduction, persecution, propaganda, misrepresentation, false teaching, and a host of other diabolical instruments designed to break us down morally and spiritually.
The answer to this tearing down are the gatherings of the Church.
God has ordained that the Church edify itself in love, through the measure of the Holy Spirit that he has granted to each member.The presupposition is that each of the born again members of a given body have the Spirit, and are cultivating a Spiritual life.
In this world, Believers have prayer lives, and it is assumed that they nourish themselves through Scripture as well. They know God and have the Holy Spirit in measure in their individual lives. Their own personal responsibility is to “build themselves up on their most Holy Faith…” and to “Keep themselves in the Love of God, looking for the mercy of God…”( Jude 20-21)
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. ( Jude 20-21)
God has given each one of us everything we need, day in and day out to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, and to exercise ourselves unto godliness.
Thus when the Church comes together, it is to edify one another in love. A person should come out of church built up and better for it in many, many ways. The weary and heavy laden should be refreshed, the wounded should receive a measure of healing, those tempted can receive a Word or an insight that can give them the victory, all mediated through the body of Christ.
This is the vision which is presented in the New Testament, the ideal for the Church, and that which God will provide his Spirit for those who want this.
I am not speaking of this edification coming through a clergy class, for we believe in the Priesthood of all Believers. Everybody who is born again can have something to give on some level, whether it be a Psalm, a doctrine, a prayer, a tongue or interpretation and so forth when the body comes together. Whenever you go to church, you need to be asking the LORD for something to offer, whether it be to the group as a whole or to any individuals.
This is the true and biblical meaning of Fellowship, (Koinonia). It is total participation and results in edification. The building up of the Body of Jesus in this world, (which ever seeks to tear down and to dis-spirit) ought to be the goal for every meeting.
A Church service is a blessed gift, and not to be taken for granted. Depending on how large a gathering, it may not be possible for everyone who is there to have a chance to stand up in front of the church and minister, but what about before the service? What about after or in between services?
We are not called to be passive spectators, we are called into the Fellowship of the Son of God to participate.
I believe that there are people who have special designated God given gifts for the church, such as Pastors/teachers, worship leaders, and who have public roles in the services. Not everyone is called or gifted to give in that way, but everyone is called to give something spiritual.
If I have been given an insight into scripture, or have had an answer to prayer, or even if I am struggling personally and need prayer, I want to share it with the body. I want prayer and I want to help carry other’s burdens in prayer.
I have learned prayer by praying publicly in Church and agreeing with others who pray publicly. (Have you ever prayed publicly in Church?) I have been moved powerfully and seen others moved as well, as people have poured out their hearts to God, often with weeping and heartfelt awe. In one service I attended, a Young woman was inspired to pour out her heart publicly for the Soul of a very ungodly man. She wept for his salvation, not knowing that he had just come in the door and taken a seat immediately behind her.
Imagine being unsaved and going to church just in time to hear someone plead with God for your soul! These are the true Holy Spirit movings.
A Prayer cried out by a simple believer can be in effect a gift of the Spirit, a message from God himself, and a revelation. (Do you meet on this level with Believers? To weep and pray and cry out?)
Time and again someone in a service or even in talking afterwards will share a verse that has been on their heart, and it turned out to be just what I needed to hear, and that I knew it was God who inspired it. Or someone singing a Song, (A Hymn or Spiritual Song) which came as a message from God. I have learned to Worship God in the body of Christ.
I walked into a non Catholic church for the first time(1st Assembly of God in Ames, Iowa) and saw people worshipping God. It was deep and mysterious to me. They lifted their hands, and some wept, and they were just ordinary people of all walks of life, here was a banker type , here was a washer woman or laboring man, yet they were lifting hands and singing to Jesus.
I didn’t understand much of it (at times they sang in tongues) but I did know in my heart, there was someone August and Holy and above, on the receiving end of those prayers. I left that Assembly much differently than I came in.
Perhaps the collapse of so many man centered ‘churches’ will yield a new kind of recovery of these sacred things, of this principle of edification and participation by the believer in Spiritual worship and edification.
We must learn to organize ourselves in such ways that we can have Koinonia, and we must ask the Holy Spirit to baptize us in his Power and gifts and to teach us to edify ourselves by sharing Verses, insights, exhortations, psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, So that our Blessed Savior will be fully revealed in this World.
Remember that the Apostle Paul told us that the ideal for church is that when an unbeliever should happen to come in, “…the secrets of His Heart will be revealed and he will say ‘surely God is in this place…” .
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.( I Corinthians 14:24-25)