THANK YOU 4 THE CHURCH 2
Here at Megamorphic, we are very intentional about our language and one of the language distinctions we make is that we call all the times we are together, whether its regular Sunday’s or special events, GATHERINGS.
GOD PREFERS BIG GATHERINGS OVER ONE-ON-ONE TIME.
Psalm 87:2 - “The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.”
This doesn’t mean He doesn’t love to be alone with us, He does. It is a matter of preference.
HE PROMISES TO SHOW UP WHEN WE GATHER
Matt 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
GATHERING: 50% OF HIS GREAT COMMISSION STRATEGY
Matt 28:18-20 “18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
We are commanded: GO and make disciples of all nations
We have shared many times that much emphasis has been placed on outreach to make this happen, however our Great Commission acronym is that GO has two letters and they stand for GATHERING & OUTREACH.
The proof is in the pudding
Acts 1 & 2 (handy link)
Acts 5:12-16 “12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
Acts 12:6-12 “6Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.“
Gathering is the heart of Communion
1 Corinthians 11:17- 34 “17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.
We are the body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
Engaging in communion requires us to understand that when we partake of Jesus body and remember his sacrifice we also must remember what he achieved through overcoming death! WE - the born again Bible believing Christians, are His body and communion is truly had in gathering together, partaking of one another in such a way that we become ONE. Jesus prayed in John 17
20 “And I ask not only for these disciples, but also for all those who will one day believe in me through their message. 21 I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me. 22 For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy. 23You live fully in me and now I live fully in them so that they will experience perfect unity, and the world will be convinced that you have sent me, for they will see that you love each one of them with the same passionate love that you have for me.”
This partaking of one another and unifying WILL cause the world to KNOW that God loves them!!!
Acts 2:42-47 “42 Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. 43A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. 45Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. 46Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. 47They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.
The expert on the video said the antidote to addiction is true CONNECTION which set my head spinning and on a stats hunt for other issues in society. I happened on several articles on loneliness with quite sensationalist titles:
“Chronic Loneliness is a modern-day epidemic” - Fortune (LINK)
“Loneliness is deadly: social isolation kills more people than obesity does…” - Slate (LINK)
“10 surprising facts about loneliness: pangs that attack your body in ways you never expected” - Psychology today (LINK)
I also found one from Harvard that I particularly want us to read today:
AND WE HAVE THAT POWER LIVING IN US, not just for now, but for this life AND the next.
Let us determine RIGHT NOW that we will be gatherers, we have the Holiday season coming up with planned gatherings, let’s make sure we can get everyone possible to show up, let’s make a determination that we will gather together in unity and KNOW that our unity WILL show others that God loves them.
Notes provided by Esther Melody Smith