The assembly of the believers should be important to the believers. The first disciples after the day of Pentecost were so excited about their salvation that they met daily (Acts 2:46). While I am not suggesting that you meet every day, don’t go to the other extreme and forsake the assembly, Hebrews 10:25a “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some.” At the assembly, activities include singing and praying and one or more individuals speaking. 1 Corinthians 14:26 “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” What impresses me is that all things are to be done for edification. The things that you and I do at the assembly should build us up and make us stronger and encouraged to be faithful and true. When we leave the assembly, we return to a different environment that can chip away at our faith and righteousness and can work to discourage us. Your fellow Christian needs you at the assembly for his edification.
The church in Corinth was blessed with miraculous spiritual gifts. Here is Paul’s instruction to them. 1 Corinthians 14:12 “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.” While you may not have the miraculous spiritual gifts the Corinthians had, you should still seek to excel in the edification of the church. You don’t have to be a leader in the church to find ways to edify your brother and sister in Christ.
When you come to the assembly, you interact with your fellow Christian. Paul told the Corinthians that love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1). Does your fellow Christian feel your genuine, deep love? Are you quick to overlook his mistakes and trespasses? Do you smile big when you first see him? Is your greeting from the heart to include your kiss, your hug, and your handshake? Do you seek to better understand what is going on in his life? Do you listen and empathize with his trials that he shares with you? Do you offer a word of encouragement and exhortation? Do you tell him that you are praying for him? How can you excel in your love for your fellow Christian? He needs your love so that he can be stronger in the Lord. If you fail to attend the assembly or fail to show him your love, he will miss your edification.
Those who speak before the church have a special responsibility. 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” If you are one who speaks, seek to excel in your edification of the church. The good speakers that I know spend hours in preparation – you can’t excel in speaking with just a few moments of preparation. Most of us need study, research, prayer and practice to be good at edifying the church when we speak. Accept constructive criticism. I think we all have heard speakers whose presentations provide little edification – don’t be one of those. Not everyone is going to speak before the church, but if you are one who does speak, seek to excel.
If you don’t speak before the church, do you realize that you can still edify in this area? You can edify the speaker! He is a brother who needs edification also. While he is speaking, give him your full attention. Afterwards, give him good feedback; thank him for his words. Encourage him.
Singing should be an integral part of most Christian assemblies. Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” It is most important to sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord. But you are also speaking to your fellow Christian. Can you excel in your singing to better edify others? Sing from your heart and mean what you sing; that will come through to those who hear you. Do you have trouble singing the music correctly? Practice and learn how to do it better. Are you too loud or too soft? Improve. Again, song leaders have a special responsibility. Don’t just choose songs just because you like them. Choose songs that edify and are appropriate for the time in the assembly.
Prayer in the assembly can also edify; it can build up those who listen to the prayer. If you are the one leading the prayer, you again have the greater responsibility for edification. First, be sure you are speaking to God your Father. Speak from your heart. Don’t preach in your prayers. Don’t use a lot of repetition. You should already be a praying person and have lots of practice in your private prayers to God. Seek to excel in the prayer you lead in the assembly. If you are not the leader of the prayer, you can still pay close attention and give a hearty “amen”, as appropriate.
I am not going to address everything done at the church assembly. But here is the picture I encourage you to have. Come to the assembly with a goal of edifying your brother and sister in Christ. Seek to excel in this goal. How can you help your brother so that he will be stronger in the Lord after the assembly because of your love and what you have done or said? Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”