the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
In this final lesson of our study let’s quickly review all that we have looked at and attempt to apply these truths to our lives in a practical way.
Here is a listing of all the main truths we have learned in this study on the Lord’s local assemblies…
1. The Nature Of The Assembly
a. The Local, Visible, Called Out Assembly
b. The Benefits Of The Assembly
c. The Existence Of The Assembly
d. The Foundation Of The Assembly
2. The Mission Of The Assembly
a. The Great Commission
b. Evangelizing The Lost
c. Baptizing The New Believer
d. Instructing The Membership
3. The Other Truths About The Assembly
a. The Blessings Of The Assembly
b. The Accrediting Of The Assembly
c. The Attendance Of The Assembly
d. The Metaphors Of The Assembly
In all of these areas one basic principle was seen repeatedly… The local assembly of the Lord, His church, is THE distinctive assembly that was created and authorized to bring honor and glory to God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Even beyond that, our study has shown us that, due to the unique nature and authority of the Lord’s assembly, it enjoys a very special, intimate relationship with Christ…
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
What a wonderful promise the Lord gives to those who are members of His assembly. It doesn’t matter how large or small the assembly, when God’s people gather to worship Him in spirit and in truth, He promises to meet with them in a very special, intimate way. He does this in the person of the Holy Spirit that not only indwells the body of the individual believer, but also indwells the assembly as the body of Christ.
It is very important to notice three basic principles in this text:
1. First of all, this is describing those who are “gathered together”. If we study this phrase, we find it is translated from a Greek word that means “to be led, or brought, together”. This isn’t simply a group of Christians that are meeting together. It is clearly saying that these Christians are led, or drawn, by the leadership of the Spirit to this meeting.
2. Secondly, when it speaks of the Lord being in “the midst” of them. This phrase is teaching us that, when God’s people are led by the Holy Spirit to meet together, He will be “right in the middle of things”. He will be actively involved in all that is taking place, working in a way that supercedes His normal workings in the world around us.
3. Thirdly, this gathering is in “the name” of Christ. This phrase is speaking to us about the motivation behind this assembly. These saints, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, are meeting in alignment with Christ’s will with a desire to honor, glorify, and worship God. It is not to promote nor exalt themselves, nor their assembly, but it is a meeting that is centered on bringing to God all the glory, honor and praise.
One more important point that is normally missed concerns the nature of the assembly that is being described. Normally, we have a tendency to apply this text to all believers who meet together to worship or serve Him in any way. In the mind of many, this is not limited to a local church assembly of members.
Please keep in mind:
1. first of all, we have already seen that this gathering must take place as the result of following the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, motivated to glorify God alone. It is not just a random assemblage of Christians.
2. more importantly, we must note the context of this passage to properly understand the assembly of which this speaks.
In the context (Matt 18:15-17) the subject of local church discipline is being addressed. It speaks of two disagreeing individuals, who are both under the authority of the local church. This text is explaining the process where their differences are to be resolved, or if not resolved, the local church discipline that should be enacted….
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican…
In the very near context the authority of the local assembly is affirmed. Not only does the local church have the authority to discipline its members, but also to discern the will of God and powerfully intercede according to His will, is confirmed in (Matt 18:18-19)…
“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
Then, the source of the great authority of the local church assembly is described as the special presence of the Lord. As the Lord uniquely meets with His people, they are enabled to perceive His will as an assembly, and then act according to that will in worship, prayer and at times, unfortunately, the exercise of disciplinary proceedings (Matthew 18:20)…
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
In this 13 part study, we have attempted to look at a few of the reasons why a Christian should seek out and join an assembly of the Lord when it is possible to do so. In the midst of all the previous reasons we have listed, the greatest reason of all is found in our study today…
We, as Christians, are to join and actively support the ministry of the local church of the Lord because of the church’s ONE OF A KIND, intimate relationship with its Founder, Sustainer and Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nowhere else on earth can this profound connection with Jesus Christ be found…
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. DRAW NIGH TO GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NIGH TO YOU.” (James 4:7-8)
May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
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