And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25)
I began “going to church” in this building, the Falling Springs Baptist Church in Overton County, Tennessee… in my mother’s womb. I attended church here until I was eight and World War II swept us 350 miles away to East Tennessee. My mother was saved in this church in her early teens when an itinerant woman preacher came through and got permission to use the building. That would have been about 1910.
Baptizing was done in the East Fork River during warm weather. After the corn was plowed the last time (laid by) after July 4, the big event in the community was a “protracted meeting” that met every night for 2-3 weeks. The baptizing took place after the meeting was over and after dinner on the ground; a high day of celebration.
My daddy’s family lived in a log house across the creek and he went to school here. He showed me where he ate his lunch on a big flat gravestone, about two feet high. He finished the eighth grade here, using the blue-back speller and McGuffey’s Reader. I don’t know how many of the seven children went to church or school there.
What is there in the minds and hearts of people that keep them attending houses of worship, year after year? Falling Springs Baptist Church has been there over two hundred years, through several generations. During the Depression, the paint was about gone and they couldn’t raise enough money to paint the building. You can see the building is still white.
Why do we go to church? Somebody did the math a few years ago and concluded that in America, more people still attend church than attend sporting events. And that’s at a time when the church is in a decayed and weakened condition. Millions of people, even in an unsaved condition, recognize that there’s something bigger than them and they know they are going to be placed in a box and buried. My daddy’s daddy couldn’t be dragged to church with a team of mules. When he died, somebody saw to it that his grave is the closest grave to the church building.
When God brought the Jewish people out of Egypt with a strong hand and gave them a nation, there was one meeting place for the whole nation and that was in Jerusalem. That’s where He chose to put His name and they were to build a Temple. The people were to go to Jerusalem three times a year to observe seven Feasts of the Lord that were spread over those three visitations to Jerusalem. Some of the people traveled almost a hundred miles.
The teaching and worshiping of Jehovah God was done in the homes all-over the nation of Israel.
Moses commanded them: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:6-7)
When Israel was led in captivity to Babylon for 70 years, the Jews began to form Synagogues. Ten adult males in an area could form a Synagogue. This system prevailed when Jesus came to Israel and continues to this day. When the Romans destroyed the Temple, the Jewish system of worship was destroyed and never restored. There are Jewish Synagogues and Temples all over the world, but the sacrificing of animals is not done. A Jewish Temple will one day be rebuilt in Jerusalem.
When Jesus rose from the dead and commissioned His disciples to operate His church, there was an immediate emphasis of Christians meeting together to encourage and nourish one another in the Christian faith. Our text for today has been the effective framework of the church for two thousand years. We must continue emphasizing Christian homes and we must continue emphasizing meeting together to provoke one another to love, good works and encouragement.
We come to church to worship and praise God and to listen to the Word of God being explained and urged upon us. And we also come to church to provoke and encourage one another. It was important two thousand years ago and it is still important today. Jesus said He would build His church. He is doing just that. His church is made of thousands of local churches. All of them together make up His Body. Everything that calls itself a church is not necessarily a church.
A church is a group of saved, baptized believers who are committed to encouraging one another and to carry out the great commission Jesus laid upon His disciples. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Our obedience to God’s command to assemble together is a measure of our genuineness of love to the Lord. Some good things happen at church that cannot happen anywhere else.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JUNE 14, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Ezra 6-8 P.M. John 21
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hos 4:6)
Song for Today:
Brethren We Have Met to… (3:34) (Grace Singing School)
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