Brother Tommy Willess has suggested to me that when we assemble together, God desires three things from us: attitude, gratitude and servitude.
ATTITUDE: Psalm 89:7 points out, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” The term “feared” does not mean in context to be frightened, but to be held in respect. It is tied to the term ‘reverence’. Vine’s “used of a person in an exalted position… connotes ‘standing in awe’ … an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect.” Malachi 2:5 also ties this word with the term ‘reverent’. The term ‘reverence’ according to Brown -Driver-Briggs carries basically the same idea.
When we come together we are to have a serious respect for God. Our worship is not to be flippant or taken lightly. We are in the presence of the Almighty “Hallowed by (His) name” (Matt. 6:9) in the assembly and always.
GRATITUDE: Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 all read “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” The context concerns the fact that many only turn to him in times of need, but they forget him when things go well.
We’ve got so much to be thankful for; He “daily loadeth us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19). The Psalmist said “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:2), and urged “Serve the Lord gladness: come before his presence with singing… enter into his gates with Thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name” (Psalm 100:2, 4).
Our worship should flow out of a thankful heart. We are to sing “with grace (thankfulness NASB) in (our) hearts” (Col. 3:16). We are to “continue in prayer… with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). Our giving is to be done with “cheerful” hearts (2 Cor. 9:7).
SERVITUDE: Psalm 119:104-105 says, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
When the sermon is being preached we should: (1) Listen attentively (Neh. 8:3). (2) Verify the message (1 Thes. 5:17; 1 John 4:1-ff; Acts 17:11). (3) If the message is proven true to the book we should accept it as God’s will being communicated to us (1 Thes. 2:13). (4) We should not listen to the sermon as an academic exercise or a trivial pursuit with no intent to apply what we hear to our lives; we are instructed to “be… doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Revelation 1:3 encourages, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words… and keep those things which are written therein.”