What is it that you center your attention on when you join in worship on the first day of the week? Have you given much thought to this question? The answer is directly related to the draw that brought you to the assembly in the first place. For example the intellectual may be drawn by the hope of a message that is thought provoking and stimulating. The individual who is inclined to their creative side might be most attentive to the songs that are lifted up in praise, or perhaps the music that accompanies the hymns in many houses of worship. Sadly, there are even those in pews each Sunday focusing solely on the fact that they have succeeded in making it to yet another service, while thinking only of what they will be doing after the closing prayer releases them from their obligatory presence in ‘weekly church.’
I don’t believe any of these approaches should be viewed as the ‘reason’ for coming together for worship! The reason for coming together must revolve around what it is that makes us who we are, not to mention being the focal point in the first century church. We have two examples in New Testament scripture that indicate the church came together on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7 & 1 Corinthians 16:2) In Acts 20, Luke records an event that seems to indicate a delay in the travel of Paul and his companions at the city of Troas where they waited seven days and then intended to depart on the next day. For what reason this delay? The text tells us that the ‘disciples came together to break bread’ and that Paul preached to them. Early church history tells us that the disciples were obedient to Christ’s command in remembering His body and His blood that was to be done in remembrance of Him.
My friends, Paul received from the Lord the instructions He had given to His apostles on the night He was betrayed and this was also given to the church at Corinth (1 Cor 11:23ff). In his comments Paul also brings to mind what occurs during the remembering the body and blood of Jesus, when he said, “For as often as you as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” In proclaiming His death we acknowledge our need for it, in that only in His death do we any hope at all of forgiveness of our sin. When we come together our focus is that same as Paul’s in that he ‘determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Is that the primary focus each week for you and for those where you attend worship?
Copyright © 2011, Nolan P. Rutter