June 27, 2021

Consider the Biblical Mandate for Christian Gathering

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Given the disruptions to the church’s regular gatherings for more than a year due to Covid-19, some of us may become dull and neglect our biblical duty to gather for worship, prayer, mutual care and edification. Becoming accustomed to and contented with listening to the livestreaming of our services and fellowship programmes is a real spiritual danger.

To encourage every church member to come together at every opportunity available, I would like to present in this pastoral exhortation the biblical mandate for our gathering, which none should forget or disregard.

  1. The Jerusalem church – immediately after the Pentecost – met together for fellowship, to learn from the apostles, etc.
    • Acts 2:44 – “And all that believed were together…”
    • Acts 2:46 – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart”.
    • Notice that the early Christians in Jerusalem sometimes even met together in the temple grounds: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple” (Acts 2:46a); “…and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch” (Acts 5:12b).
  1. The Spirit of God guided the New Testament church to meet on the first day of the week to hear the preaching of the Word and to break bread. The church, because of various constraints and the surrounding hostility, met in small groups in believers’ homes.
    • Acts 20:7 – “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them….”
    • Philemon 2 – “…to the church in thy house”.
    • Romans 16:5 – “Likewise greet the church that is in their house…”
    • 1 Corinthians 16:19 – “… Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
    • Colossians 4:15 – “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”
  1. God has warned us not to forsake the assembling of the saints.
    • “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb 10:25a).
  1. God’s Word expects the church members to gather to hear the teaching of the Word from His appointed servants.
    • Acts 20:7 – “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…”
    • Realise also that God expects His people to hear the admonitions and instructions of the teachers whom He has appointed for their edification: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17).
  1. God’s Word expects the church members to encourage and serve one another, to pray for one another, etc.
    • Heb 10:24-25 – “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.”
  1. God expects us to participate in the Lord’s Table (to remember Christ’s atoning death for our salvation) when believers gather in the appointed place by waiting for one another. In fact, when some Corinthian Christians did not wait for others when the church met to partake of the Lord’s Table, they were rebuked – as the following verses show.
    • 1 Cor 11:17 – “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.”
    • 1 Cor 11:18 – “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.”
    • 1 Cor 11:20 – “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.”
    • 1 Cor 11:33 – “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.”
    • 1 Cor. 14:23 – “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place …”
    • This waiting for one another is also alluded to in Acts 20:7 – “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…”
  1. God’s Word stipulates that His people should gather together when church disciplinary matters arise.
    • Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
    • 1 Corinthians 5:4 – “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Dear brethren, our church leadership and staff have laboured much, within the government guidelines for safe religious gatherings, to provide opportunities for brethren to meet together as Scripture demands. We thank God for His grace for all the safe meetings we have enjoyed. Let us enthusiastically gather to worship our God and for our spiritual edification, while adhering to the proper practices of safe-distancing guidelines. Please pray for those who labour to arrange for all our meetings, that they may meticulously and efficiently do all things needful.

We would like to urge members and friends who have been fully vaccinated (both shots) to attend the 11 am service, which is held at SingPost auditorium (Paya Lebar). At this location, we can presently accommodate up to 150 worshippers with all the recommended safety measures. Next Sunday onwards, we are considering the possibility of children’s junior worship at this location – for children who come with parents who are fully vaccinated. Please look out for information that will be sent through WhatsApp.

Those who are not fully vaccinated may attend the smaller gatherings of 50 at GMC (English worship services @ 8am, 2pm, 4pm; Chinese service @ 9:30am, and Evening Teaching service @6pm).

“Those that be planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God” (Ps 92:13).

“Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house
of the LORD” (Ps 118:26).

“I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Ps 122:1).

“Ye that stand in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God,
Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good:
sing praises unto his name;
for it is pleasant” (Ps 135:2-3).

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
Our Worship Address
SingPost Centre
Level 5 Auditorium
10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore 408600
(next to Paya Lebar MRT station)
Our mailing address
Gethsemane Media Centre
33 Ubi Crescent
Singapore 408584
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