This is the second week since the coronavirus pandemic that we have not assembled with the Northwest congregation. We have not quit worshiping and working for the Lord. In fact, many are doing more of that than ever before. We are also blessed to be able to communicate by telephone, mail, email, Facebook and the many other means of social media. This has been helpful during a time when the government has issued orders to stay away from one another in order to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
No doubt many of you, just like me and others I know, have had to grapple with the question “Are we forsaking the assembly?”.
Jesus told the apostles to make disciples and to teach them to observe all that He commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). The disciples observed the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week and only on that day. This is the day the Lord arose from the dead (Mark 16:9); the day that the church began, on Pentecost (Acts 2), which always fell on the first day of the week (Leviticus 23:15-16); the day that the church met to take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7) and to give into the treasury of the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
“With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:6-8)
Israel was commanded by God to offer sacrifices at the Temple altar on a regular basis. But He was not pleased with their many offerings. Even if they were to make the ultimate sacrifice by offering their own child to Him, He would not accept it. Why?
Some professing Christians never darken the door of a church building to assemble with God’s people. Others like to come in from time to time, especially at holidays. Many will be there on Sunday if nothing else gets in the way and many will come every time the doors are open. In whatever category you find yourself please ask, “Why am I here? And, what am I doing here? Am I here to fulfill the will of God in this matter?”
Just after 9-11 the roads were crowded on Sunday morning and people were filing into church buildings but that didn’t last long. People don’t have time, they are too tired, too sick, there are too many hypocrites… I’ve heard all the excuses.
I suppose that assembling for worship could be made illegal tomorrow and many wouldn’t even know it until Christmas or perhaps next Easter when they decide to make an appearance at church. Others will find some way to get to church on Sunday morning but don’t seem to really care if they make the other services of the church.
If that’s you, I hope that you will seriously reconsider this whole matter of going to church.
Most denominations that profess Christianity have used and continue to use musical instruments in their worship. Today, more and more churches of Christ are joining them in that practice. Many don’t think it matters to God and others think it’s what God wants. So, here are a couple of thoughts that I have found in the Scriptures for us to consider.
Music is a very important part of worship. Many will choose to worship with a congregation or choose not to worship with a congregation because of the music. People are looking for different things regarding music. Some want a full modern sounding band. Others just desire the traditional sound of the organ or piano. Some are looking for a choir, special singing groups or soloists in the worship. Some love the praise teams. Others prefer congregational singing without using any musical instruments.
But, shouldn’t we ask first, “What kind of music does God want in the worship of His church?”
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135