Several years ago, I was studying with an individual. I had convinced this person of many things. Yet, I never could get this person through the doors of the church building and into the assembly. As I encouraged him to come, his response was, “I worship God at home.”
How do you respond to such? If the assembly was only for the honor and worship of God, couldn’t we do such at home? Yes, I suppose if that is all God wanted, then He could have allowed us to stay at home and worship apart from others. But, is that the only purpose of our coming together?
True, the assembly is to worship God, but the assembly has other purposes as well. When we sing praises to God (Acts 16:25; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), we are not only singing praises to God, but we are also “speaking to one another” or “teaching and admonishing” (and no doubt encouraging) one another through those same songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). One of the purposes of assembling is to “provoke (one another) unto love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24-25). The communion is supposed to bring us together (Acts 20:7).
God wanted us to come together. He knew that living a godly life in an ungodly world would be difficult. Therefore, He instructed us to assemble (Hebrews 10:25), for it is from the assembly that we are prodded on to do right (Hebrews 10:24-25). The assembly was designed to be a place of edification (1 Corinthians 14:3-5, 12-19, 26b; Ephesians 4:15-16).
As God’s people, let us remember that one reason for our assembling is to edify. Let us use our tongues to edify (Ephesians 4:29). Let us avoid things which do not (Titus 3:9-11). Let us do everything we can to build each other up, and encourage one another each time we meet. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).