One of the features of the New Testament church is the assembly. But why? What does God command the attendance of the assembly? This lesson focuses on the dynamic that when we gather in the assembly we encourage one another. In God's ultimate wisdom he knew that since the world is discouraging his people would need a regular time to experience encouragement!
When Jesus stopped to rest beside Jacob's well it set the scene for one of the most important dialogues in the New Testament (John 4). As he conversed with the Samaritan women, his intent was to explain what would be different about worship in the Christian era. This lesson follows three important realizations that make our assembly what God desires for it to be.
In our journey through the Old Testament following the worship stories of Israel we come to worship during the days of the prophets. The prophets are all unique but they addressed some of the very same issues that related to worship and life. As we notice in this lesson, their example provides warnings to not make the same mistakes they made. And for us the problems of idolatry, partial obedience and unfaithfulness are still pitfalls we must avoid.
What do you do when your world starts crumbling around you? Perhaps an enemy is out to get you, sickness or death has invaded your family or, even worse, sin has entered your life bringing terrible guilt and consequences. During these times we need to learn the language of lament like David. Psalm 63 is David's lament when Absalom has revolted. In this Psalm, not only does David show us to seek God during difficult times, but he also gives compelling reasons why.
The book of Psalms, which literally means "Praise songs," was Israel's songbook of worship. Overall, the content and context of the Psalms remind us their assembly was "A Place of Praise." The same is true today in the Christian assembly. But Psalms also shows us the benefits of gathering with God's people. Beyond the worship given to God, we are blessed by being in the assembly. This lesson explores some of those benefits.
Life without worship gets a person out of rhythm with God. The history of God's people suggests we need to bring ourselves into the divine presence of God on a regular, rhythmical basis. Leviticus 23 provides the backdrop of Israel's religious calendar. The weekly sabbath plus five annual feasts brought the rhythm they needed for their times. After a review of their worship, in this lesson, we draw some practical reminders for us today about our Christian worship.
In our Glory of the Gathering series we are exploring how the story line of Scripture is reminding us that God wants us to be in his presence. The tabernacle is a great example of God designing a functional way for this to happen. But the spiritual lessons we learn about the tabernacle are powerful for our Christian worship today.
God heard the cries of his people in Egyptian bondage and he brought them out. His goal was not just deliverance, but for them to gather at Mt. Sinai to be in his presence once more. Exodus 19-24 helps us see a great development in God's people being able to experience the glory of God as they witness his presence at Mt. Sinai. It's a refreshing reminder of the power of God's presence we can experience in worship today as we gather together.
The biggest part of the Bible Story exists in between the two paradises of Eden and Heaven. This lesson explores the close communion that Adam and Even enjoyed with God, how they lost it and how mankind will one day enjoy it again. However, in the meantime, God blesses us with an opportunity to enjoy a little bit of Eden restored in his presence as we worship. There is glory in the gathering because we worship God, but also because he blesses us with something we can't get anywhere else!