One of the great joys of following Jesus Christ is to be with others who have the same heart. Others give encouragement and stimulus to go on with God. There is little instruction on how to meet up so there is the joy of being free to be creative.
We’ve been quite privileged to have amongst us the author or one of the best books written about fellowship and churches, Simon Benham author of the Peach & the Coconut. You can get it here: http://www.kerith.co.uk/media/the-peach-and-the-coconut.php
We hear this heart cry in Psalm 122, written by king David, Israel’s 2nd king. Being with others brings a new dimension to life and worship. We have freedom to worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth.” One can read the poetic literature of the Bible symbolically. Those who journey to Jerusalem are people who identify themselves as followers of Jesus. Jerusalem itself symbolizing the Church, the worldwide group of followers of Jesus. Take a look at this Psalm of David – Psalm 122:
Psalm 122 1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. 3 Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. 4 All the tribes of Israel—the LORD’s people— make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel. 5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David. 6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. 7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. 8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” 9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
- How was his heart stirred by going with others into God’s presence?
- What was David’s heart desire and prayer for the meeting place of God’s people?
- How could you contribute to this sentiment among those who follow Jesus?
Meet to Encourage
One motive for meeting together is for mutual encouragement. Few can go it alone, we need the encouragement of others, and others need it from us. There is a safety in meeting with others; as we discuss things, others ask questions that challenge us or deepen our understanding of our journey with God. They help us see things from a different perspective and consider issues that we may not have thought about.
Consider this passage in Hebrews 10:24-25:
Hebrews 10: 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
- What is the aim of meeting together?
- What initiative are we urged to give towards our wider group of believers?
- How can I meet with others in a way that motivates to love and good works?
God with us
The Lord assures us that when we pray together, or make decisions together with Him, He is with us in a special way.
Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 18:18-20:
Matthew 18:18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid* on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit* on earth will be permitted in heaven. 19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.20 For where two or three gather together as my followers,* I am there among them.”
- How does God relate with those who pray with others?
- What does God promise to those who act together with both Himself and other believers?
- Why would God give such a freedom to His people?