18 Ways to “Build Up” One Another in Worship Assemblies
There is no better day of the week than the first day of the week! There is no greater blessing and privilege on the first day of the week than to worship the God of all creation, our heavenly Father! And the New Testament emphasizes that this wonderful opportunity takes place when “the church” “comes together” each Lord’s day (1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20, 33, 34; 14:23, 26).
One primary purpose for the church to “come together” to worship on the first day of the week is to “build up” one another. That is repeated throughout the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians (14:3, 4, 5, 12, 17), where Paul concludes: “Let all things be done for building up” (14:26). While we can certainly “build up one another” outside the worship assembly, the “building up” emphasized in this chapter is a “building up” that is particular to the assembly of the church and cannot be given or received outside of it. So, in a practical way, what are some things that we can do to “build up” one another when we assemble together as a church on the first day of the week? Let’s consider just a few.
1. Arrive early, well before it’s time to start.
2. Start by talking to folks while in the parking lot.
3. Don’t just go to your seat; walk around greeting people.
6. Shake hands, fist bump, high five, whatever.
7. Have a real, genuine, intentional conversation.
8. Look into their eyes and show sincere interest.
9. Seek out folks you don’t know as well or speak to often.
10. Say something like, “It is so good to see you.”
11. Say something like, “How have you been doing this week?” and then listen.
12. Say something like, “I prayed for you this last week,” or “I will definitely pray for you this week.”
13. Participate heartily in the worship.
14. Sing out with joy, rather than sitting silently.
15. Reflect on the cross during the Lord’s Supper, rather than carrying on a conversation or making a grocery list.
16. Engage in the sermon and show real interest, rather than being disengaged, playing on your device or looking bored.
17. Don’t rush off. Stay late, several minutes after dismissal.
18. Take the initiative, rather than waiting for others.
What would you add? Let us make assembling on the Lord’s Day the most encouraging time of the week.
Blessed Are The Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)
For several weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”
Our God is a God of peace. Five times in the New Testament, He is so designated by inspired writers (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20-21). Consider the closing words of Hebrews: “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21). God wants His sons and daughters to be like Him. Rather than sowing discord, something that He hates (Prov. 6:16-19), God wants His children to sow peace (Jam. 3:17-18). Rather than striving about words that won’t profit men, God wants His children to strive after the gospel of peace which is profitable for all men (Rom. 10:15; 2 Tim. 3:16). Perhaps, you are thinking, “What does this have to do with worship?” How does being at peace or not being at peace with others affect our worship of God? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, we are not only commanded to love God, we are commanded to love our neighbor (Mat. 22:37-39). We cannot truly love God and hate others at the same time (1 John 4:20-21). We cannot curse men and bless God with the same mouth (Jam. 3:9-10). If we are not at peace with others, then we cannot be at peace with God. Our prayers and our worship will be rejected by Him because we are rejecting His word concerning how we are to treat others (Prov. 15:8; 1 Pet. 3:7). No doubt, this is why Jesus said what He did in the Sermon on the Mount. He declared, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mat. 5:23-24). Please notice the instructions. First, be reconciled to your brother and then offer your gift. We must be at peace with our brother before we can present our gift to God. If we get all the way to the worship altar and then remember a problem with a brother, we are not to finish up worship and then go to our brother. We are to go to our brother and then return to worship. We can’t have war in our hearts for our brother and worship in our hearts for God at the same time (Psa. 120:7). Sadly, I fear that many are trying to do so.
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we are peacemakers. Troublemakers, gossips, hotheads, and others like them can’t love and worship God properly until they change their hearts.
Blessed Are The Pure In Heart (Matthew 5:8)
For several weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”
God certainly wants our hearts in our worship. However, He doesn’t just want any heart. He wants a pure heart. Those are the ones who can draw near Him and see Him. The Greek word translated as pure is a very beautiful and rich word.
First, the word translated as pure means clean. God desires clean hearts. David knew this. Following his sin with Bathsheba, a sin where he had lusted in his heart for another man’s wife, David asked God to make his heart pure or clean again. Literally, he asked for God to make him a new heart - a clean heart. We read, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10). David knew that if there was iniquity in his heart that God would not hear him or receive him (Psa. 66:18). Connected with the idea of clean is the idea of purifying with fire. No doubt, you recall how the refiner in Bible times used fire to remove the impurities from precious metals like gold and silver (1 Pet. 1:7; Rev. 3:18). In like manner, David wanted God to burn away the dross that had been deposited in his heart. Connected with the idea of clean is also the idea of pruning. A vine is pruned or cleansed that it might be fruitful. Jesus declared, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:1-3). David wanted God to prune his heart that he might be fruitful again.
Second, the word translated as pure means free from the admixture of what is false. In other words, what is true. God wants our hearts to be true. The writer of Hebrews declared, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”(Heb. 10:22). To draw near to God, our hearts cannot have an admixture of what is false. Many of the Jews of Jesus’ day failed in this regard. Jesus declared, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Mat. 15:7-9). Their hearts were not free from error. They were defiled with the doctrines of men.
Third, the word translated as pure refers to that which is free from corrupt desire. As you know, God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He examines the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12-13). He knows if our motives are corrupt and will not receive our prayers or worship if they are. James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (Jam. 4:1-3).
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that our hearts are pure. Let’s cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Let’s burn away the impurities and prune them that they might be fruitful. Finally, let’s remove what is false and selfish from them.
Blessed Are The Meek
For several weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. “
Two men come to mind when we think of meekness - Moses and Christ. Moses was described in the book of Numbers as meek above all men on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). I believe that you will agree that this is quite a description. Eventually, One would arise like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15). We know from the New Testament that the One like unto Moses was Jesus (Acts 3:19-26). Of course, one of the ways that Jesus would be like Moses would be in His meekness. As you recall, Jesus described Himself as “meek and lowly in heart.” We read, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus invited men to come to Him for rest. He invited them to take His yoke upon them and to learn of Him. To take someone’s yoke upon you was a Jewish idiom that meant to take someone as your teacher. Jesus was inviting men to take Him as their teacher and to learn from Him . Unlike the yoke of the scribes and Pharisees which was hard to wear and heavy to bear, Jesus’ yoke was easy and His burden was light (Matthew 23:4). Jesus puts no unnecessary burden upon His students. He gives no busywork or meaningless assignments. What He asks is not grievous or burdensome, but reasonable (1 John 5:2-3; Rom. 12:1). Perhaps, you are thinking that this is all good, but what does it have to do with the attitude that we are to have in worship. It has everything to do with it. Every Sunday, we come to Jesus to learn from Him and to worship Him. Meekness is essential to both of these endeavors. Meekness is required in both teachers and students (2 Tim. 2:24-26; 1 Pet. 3:15). As a teacher, Jesus is meek and lowly. As students, we must be the same. James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). An attitude of meekness is essential to receiving the word of Christ. Without meekness, we will leave worship no better than we came.
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we have an attitude of meekness. Let’s make sure that we are ready to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn.
Blessed Are The Hungry And Thirsty (Mat. 5:6)
For several weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
The Greek word translated as hunger means to crave ardently and the Greek word translated as thirst means to thirst painfully. As you know, hunger and thirst are some of the strongest desires that we have as human beings. No doubt, that is why Jesus used them here. Perhaps, we have all heard someone say, “I am starving to death” or “I am dying of thirst.” In all likelihood, they weren’t. They were simply using hyperbole. They were emphasizing how hungry or thirsty they were. Jesus was using these very strong drives that dwell within us to describe the desire that should be in us for spiritual things. Jesus was not saying that physical and spiritual desires are equal. They aren’t. We should crave the spiritual far more than the physical (Job 23:12; Mt. 6:33; John 6:27; Col. 3:1-2). Sadly, many of us don’t. We stuff our bodies and starve our souls. If this is the case, then our appetites and attitudes need adjustment. We should come to worship hungry and leave worship full.
Two men come to mind when I think of hungering and thirsting for righteousness - Job and David. In the first chapter of Job, we find the patriarch offering sacrifices for his children (Job 1:4-5). Nothing all that surprising there. That’s what patriarchs did. However, as we continue to probe the context, we are impressed. Job was not offering sacrifices for the known sins of his sons and daughters. He was offering sacrifices for what his children MAY have done in their HEARTS. Furthermore, we are told that he did this continuously. These actions reveal a heart that is hungering and thirsting for God. Later in the book we read, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). I believe that this is a living definition of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Now, let’s consider David. Two times in the Psalms David spoke of thirsting for God. He compared his thirst to that of a deer running from the hunter and to that of a dry land where no water is. He wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? ….O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (Psalms 42:1-2; 63:1-2).
Both of these images reveal David’s deep and abiding desire for God.
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What a shame it would be if we are so full of the things of the world that we have no room for God to give us far better things in worship!