House Church Talk - Final Debate
jesusislord343 at juno.com
jesusislord343 at juno.com
Sun Aug 29 10:33:53 EDT 2004
> ...The two had developed quite a habit of debating endlessly and
bitterly about things they knew either little or nothing about.
Jim's story brings to mind one passage of scripture in particular--the
assembly of saints gathered to break bread in Acts 20. When we consider
that this lengthy assembly through the night followed a work day (Sunday)
and preceded a work day (Monday), we see the priority given by the
Spirit-filled saints of the first century to gathering together in unity,
"in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 5:4). Just as Job
"treasured the words of (the Lord's) mouth more than (his) necessary
food," these saints sat together very gladly and attentively,
strengthened in the Spirit's power to hear the voice of the Lord as Paul
and his brothers dialogued (dialegomai) long through the night over the
mysteries of the faith of Jesus.
It would appear that rather than being ruined for work and productivity
by this physically challenging overnight assembly, these saints were
invigorated and refreshed, as powerfully built up by "the word of His
grace" (Acts. 20:32).
What led to this incomparably refreshing time, such as we today also are
to observe--and so much the more as we see the Day approaching?
First of all, we might well consider that in the larger families of the
first century, the many children present in the assembly times were not a
discipline problem. The New Covenant age is one whereby the Lord
powerfully turns the hearts of fathers to their children (Lk. 1:17).
Fathers led their families in continual spiritual training (Eph. 6:4), as
wives stayed home with their children as lovers of their husbands and
children (Tit. 2:5). From the strength of well-managed homes (I Tim.
3:4-5), the men continually exhorted one another to continue in the faith
(Heb. 3:13), and from the strength of this brotherly love relationship,
assembled as whole churches to build up the body (I Cor. 14:23-40; Heb.
10:24-25). The children were well accustomed to lengthy spiritual
conversations among the fathers, and were attentive to hear them, with
the boys in particular being nurtured to become to leaders of the
assembly in future generations as they considered the example and outcome
of their fathers' blameless lives (Heb. 13:7).
[To be continued, Lord willing...]
This is all the farther I have time to go into these themes this morning
as we prepare for assembly, but I'd like to close here by sharing the
wisdom a brother memorably shared with me on a recent trip. I arrived at
his home with my oldest son at 9 p.m. one evening, thinking we might
visit briefly before turning in. Instead we he and his wife, mother of
eight children, stayed up tirelessly visiting over spiritual things until
3 p.m., in advance of arising again at 6 p.m.--and resuming our fervent
spiritual conversations. Very simply, this brother's counsel afterward
was that over the years he has learned that to walk in the Spirit means
many times that we will we be led of the Lord to sacrifice some sleep
"for the sake of the elect"--as gladly did the saints in Acts 20.
Have a reverent Lord's day of joyful Spirit-worked obedience to His word,
one and all!
Grace in Christ,
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