Sermon:  Meeting our Purpose in the Assembly

1.  Great time at singing school.  This lesson is my reflection on some of the 
    insights I gained from there.
2.  Start with Question:  What is the purpose of our assembly?
3.  Is it Worship?  Religious Service?  No.

I.  John 4 - The Woman at the Well
	A.  Story overview and historical background
	B.  The question - Where is the place for worship?  Gerizim or Jerusalem?
	C.  (Jn 4:21-24) - Worship is not tied to a place
		1.  Nowhere in scripture does it say, "Thou shalt go to church in 
		      order to worship"
		2.  Jesus' point - You can worship God anywhere
			a.  In the woods, mountains, backyard
			b.  Why?  Worship is not tied to a place
			c.  It is in spirit and in truth
		3.  In fact - Rom 12:1 - Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice
			a.  This is your "spiritual service of worship"
			b.  Worship can be anywhere at any time
	D.  So someone might say - "I don't need to go to church to worship"
		1.  This is actually a true statement - Worship not tied to a place
		2.  BUT - Is worship really the primary function of our assembly?

II.  (Heb 10:24-25) - What is the purpose of assembling?
	A.  There is nothing in this passage about worship
	B.  Mentions two things - These are the primary purpose of assembling
		1.  Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds
		2.  Encourage one another
	C.  So, it is true, you do not need to come here to worship...BUT...
	D.  You CANNOT fulfill the purpose of the assembly if you don't
		1.  You cannot encourage in the woods, on the mountain, in back 
		2.  You have to come together to stimulate one another and 
		      encourage one another
		3.  HOW do you do this?  - Col 3:16
			a.  Teach and admonish one another in Psalms, Hymns, and 
			      Spiritual Songs
			b.  One way we encourage is through singing to one another
		4.  Next passage makes this more clear...

III.  1 Cor 14 
	A.  There was a problem in the assembly.  What is it?
		1.  Not just that there was disorder
		2.  Problem - The Church was not being edified
	B.  Take a closer look:
		1.  (v.14-17) - What you sing and pray, what is to happen? 
		2.  (v.26) - In you worship TOGETER, you edify each other
		3.  (v.40) - All things properly an in order.  What does this mean?
			a.  It does not mean be lifeless and dead
			b.  Remember, the text says to sing BOTH with the spirit and 
			     with the understanding
				- It is not just a cold intellectual exercise
				- You do it heart and sould
			c.  Things means to avoid chaos - No edification in chaos
			d.  When you worship orderly - the church can be edified
	D.  Q:  Purpose of the Assembly - For Edification
		1.  Text says that all things are to be done for edification
		2.  This includes scripture reading, pews, arrangement of seating, 
		      sermons, announcements, and especially our singing

IV.  One of the most edifying things in worship - The Church Choir
	A.  Shouldn't the church choir strive for excellence and sing well?
	B.  What Church Choir?  We don't have one and not trying to get one!
		1.  I heard the choir this morning and I am looking at it
		2.  Yes, YOU, the congregation, are the church choir!
		3.  Shouldn't the church choir sing well?
			a.  Answer with another questions 
				- Shouldn't the preaching be done well? 
				- Shouldn't the teaching and classes be done well?
				- Shouldn't the upkeep of the building be done well?
			b.  Yes - It should be done well
				- When it is done well, it edifies
				- When it edifies, it fulfills the purpose of assembly
			c.  ILL:  Singing in the Rotunda at Singing School
				- Where no one Stands Alone - Deeply moving, one 
			   	   woman moved to tears
				- Remember - Emotion and Enjoyment are not the 
				  same as entertainment
				- Entertainment is enjoyment for the sake of 
				- We are talking about edification, not entertainment
		4.  Does this mean you have to be expert musician to edify?  
			a.  No - My Dad sings, people are edified.  He not an expert
			b.  Why?  He does not sing just out of duty
				- He sings with his whole heart, and this is edifying
				- He doesn't lead singing, but he does edify in song
	C.  So, what will it take for excellence?
		1.  Training
			a.  Train song leaders and worship leaders
				- There are singing schools that do an excellent job
			b.  Train people to sing well
				- Singing schools also do this very well
				- They include programs for women as well
			c.  In my opinion, the Singing School at Abilene is the best
		2.  Choir practice
			a.  Any choir needs to practice in order to sing well
			b.  We ought to have a regular practice time
		3.  Sing from the heart
			a.  Leaders, don't be afraid to model heart felt worship
			b.  Congregation, encourage our leaders
			c.  Don't criticize when someone expresses heart felt 
			     worship, but encourage
			d.  If a song is joyful, sing joyfully.  If mournful, sing 

V.  Questions to ask concerning assembly (especially directed at us leaders)
	A.  Question 1 - Did we edify and do it well?  Or did we do the opposite?
	B.  Question 2 - Secondary question concerns visitors (1 Cor 14:24-25)
		1.  If worship is done well, visitors will respond
		2.  Not - "What a great show!"
		3.  But - 
			a.  They will fall on their face and worship
			b.  They will declare, "Surely God is among you!"  (inv)
		4.  Question:  Were visitors led toward God?   
	C.  When we sing with excellence, we can better meet the purpose of our 

1.  Consider the lesson carefully so we can edify 
2.   Aren't you edified by great singing?