Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where Two or Three are Gathered...

It was a rare occasion to not have this passage quoted when I was in a prayer meeting.

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:19-20

A different passage is quoted almost as much to prove the need for regular church attendance.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:25

When a Christian asks me, “where do you go to church?” and I answer I’m at church right now, they look at me with a puzzled expression on their face. Why is that?

Somehow the definition of church has been morphed into meaning the place where I go on Sundays to hear a sermon with many others.

Whereas, according to Matthew 18:19-20 anytime I am with another Christian, Jesus will be in our midst. And according to Hebrews 10:24,25 the purpose of gathering together is

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

Jesus never commanded us to go to church on Sunday to hear a sermon. He does desire for us to get together with as little as one other person to see Him in our midst. The purpose of these gatherings is to simply love one another and to spur each other on to good deeds.

The only legitimate number that the New Testament reveals as an official gathering is two or three. Would we limit it to these numbers? Of course not. But we must guard against the lie that bigger is better. What can be better than Jesus in our midst?

When should we want this to happen? As often as possible.

Do we need multi-million dollar facilities to experience these vital gatherings? Of course not. Even though some leaders think that that they, their building and their large gatherings are essential. Some even give the impression that God thinks their building is of utmost importance. How else would one raise funds with religiously minded folks?

Doesn't it ever seem odd to you that God delights in diverting funds from starving children around the world so that we can build our edifices and make a name for ourselves?

Don’t be deceived by large numbers bringing more glory to God and definitely don’t be deceived by a leader that wants to call you together in his own name or in the name of his church. That may be important for their own ego but it is too small an understanding of the church that Jesus is building. It is also demeaning to the value of every member of the body of Christ when we exalt a few above the many.

Let us remind each other that there is only one church and Jesus said He would build it. His church is way bigger than anything we or any leader can personally envision.

Our only desire should be to experience Jesus in our midst. How many people does it take? Where two or three are gathered…

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