Going to the meeting?
Michael Penfold, Bicester, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
It’s meeting time.‘Let’s see . . . keys,mobile phone, Bible. Let’s go’. If that’s all the ‘getting ready’ you do before the opening hymn, this article is for you!
Though most believers know that assembly fellowship involves more than merely ‘turning up’ on time and filling a seat for an hour, truly ‘getting ready’ for the meeting is fast becoming a lost art. Yet the Bible outlines three obligatory pre-meeting activities.
Three words will help the memory:
For preparation, consider the Lord’s words in Exodus 23. 15, None shall appear before me empty.Worshippers at the annual ‘callings together’ of Israel had to come with an offering. None could simply arrive and feel they had done their duty.
Are there long gaps in the breaking of bread meeting where you gather? Do the brothers who take part repeat more or less the same words each week? Do a number of them never have anything to say at all? Surely, much of this poverty is due to a lack of exercise in preparation.Were we to regularly read and meditate on God’s word through the week, our hearts would automatically be full of material to present to the Father when we gather. The wise men did not pick up their gifts in the souvenir shops in Jerusalem. They brought them from the land they’d been living in. What will you be bringing this Lord’s Day?
For examination check 1 Corinthians 11. 28, Let a man examine himself and so let him eat. There’s a solemnity about handling emblems that represent the body and blood of Christ. To spend the week soaking up the world’s entertainment, language and company, and then to sit down and break bread without judging ourselves is to treat the Lord with contempt.How solemn, before going to the meeting, to kneel at the throne and ask the Lord to show us anything in our lives that grieves Him, and to confess it and clear it. Are you willing to respond to Paul’s earnest call for regular self-examination before taking the bread and the cup?
Regarding reconciliation we have the Lord’s words in Matt. 5. 23-24. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar,and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.This man had prepared something, but he still had a way to go. Perhaps as he examined himself he remembered an angry outburst against a brother; or a hasty cruel word he’d written; or a debt he hadn’t paid.He was aware that while he was outwardly professing all was well between him and his Lord, all was not well between him and his brethren.
Is there a bad feeling between you and another? Was your last conversation with someone a time when you walked away in anger or slammed down the phone in a rage? Would you be willing to apologise and make it right, even if you feel you are not entirely to blame? It’s a hard price to pay for an unhindered life of worship and a clear conscience – but it’s worth it. It’s worth it a thousand times over.
Are you ready for the meeting?
AUTHOR PROFILE: Michael Penfold was saved at 14 and is in fellowship in the assembly at Hebron Gospel Hall, Bicester, Oxfordshire. He is married with two young children, and is a director of Penfold Book & Bible House Ltd.