Sermon:  Reflections on our Assembly



1.  Great Time at Singing School

            a.  Oldest Singing School in our brotherhood

                        - School actually called the Texas Normal Singing School

                                    = Ever heard of a "normal?" 

                                    = A normal is a school not accredited

                        - Began in Sabinal, Texas in old Army training camp

                        - Produced many, many song leaders and church leaders

                        - There for many years until look for better facilities at ACU

            b.  Chorus directors used to always know who member of church was

                        - How did they know?

                        - Those who sang the best

            c.  A brother trained at singing school won state wide sight reading contest

            d.  So impressed, shaped note system now taught in elementary music in

    Texas schools

2.  Singing school not just deal with mechanical and technical dimension of music

            a.  Deals with biblical teaching of worship

            b.  Evaluate history of worship and trends in worship

            c.  Deals with understanding the nature of worship in the USA

            d.  School exist to serve the church

3.  That is my plug for the school - Encourage people to go

            a.  Programs for song leaders and church leaders

            b.  Programs for women and children in church music

            c.  Program for training song writers and singers as well

4.  Today I want to deal with two questions concerning our weekly assembly

            a.  What is the purpose of our assembly?

            b.  How can we strive for excellence in our assembly?


I.  What is the purpose of our assembly?

            A.  Almost everyone will say it is to worship.  Is this true?

            B.  Look at a couple passages

                        1.  Jn 4 - Samaritan woman at the well  (v. 19-20)

                                    a.  Her question - Where to worship?  Why this question?

                                                - Started with return from captivity

                                                - Samaritans not allowed worship in Jerusalem

                                                - Samaritans created own place of worship in Gerizim

                                    b.  (v.23-24) Jesus - Where worship will no longer be issue

                                    c.  Does this mean worship is not tied to a place?  Yes.

                                                - Don't need to go a designated place to worship

                                                - Can worship any time any place

                        2.  (Rom 12:1) - Speaks of your spiritual service of worship

                                    a.  Background - Think about the worship at the temple

                                                - Who performed the service of the temple?  Levites

                                                - Performed service at the altar

                                                            = How many sacrifices?  Twice every day

                                                            = Had to empty ashes and stuff

                                                - Light the lamps, bake and replenish showbread

                                                - Care for furnishings, clean and maintain them

                                    b.  That temple service, those religious rites called "latreia"

                                                - The same word is used in this passage

                                                - Performing religious rites, service of worship is not

   limited to a temple or sanctuary

- Bodies as living sacrifice - performing your intelligent

  or reasonable service of worship 

                                    c.  All of life is worship and service to God

                                                - You don't stop worshipping when you leave here

                                                - Your life is to be worship to God

            C.  Worship is not limited to our assembly

                        1.  Think of the all we do for God

                                    a.  If you prepare the communion trays, you are worshipping

                                    b.  If you clean the building, you are worshipping

                                    c.  If water plants, mow grass, straighten up, it is worship

                        2.  But it is even more than this

                                    a.  When help someone in need, it is worship

                                    b.  When share the Gospel, it is worship

                                    c.  When you work at job with excellence it is worship

                                    d.  Do you homework at school, it is worship

                        3.  You don't offer a thing on altar, you offer yourself

                        4.  All of life is worship to God

            D.  If worship not tied to a place, is purpose of assembly worship?

                        1.  Jesus said, "Neither on mountain or in Jerusalem shall you

                             worship, but you shall worship in the church" right? No.

                        2.  Paul said "Offer up worship at church" right?  No

                        3.  Worship is not tied to a place, especially not to a building


II.  So what is the purpose of the assembly?

            A.  If the assembly is not specifically and uniquely for worship, then what?

            B.  New Testament gives clear unambiguous purpose for assembly

                        1.  (Heb 10:24-25) - Nothing in this passage about worship

                                    a.  Consider how to stimulate one another to love and deeds

                                    b.  Encourage one another

                        2.  1 Cor 14 - What is this about?  About the assembly

                                    a.  Chapter mentions singing, praying, teaching, etc.

                                    b.  These are not the purpose, but ways to fulfill the purpose

                                    c.  (v.26-31) - All things are to be done for edification

                                                - Anything that detracts from edification to be avoided

                                                - Things that edify are to be continued

                        3.  So, purpose of assembly to edify, encourage, strengthen

                                    a.  Should leave strengthened in our faith and commitment

                                    b.  Should grow in love and devotion to God and each other

                                    c.  Assembly is one another time

                                                -  Someone share a Song, a teaching, a scripture

                                                - All things are for edification, to build up

            C.  Think about how much we do in our assembly is for edification

                        1.  Praying and communion is worship, but it is also edification

                        2.  Scripture reading, Sermon - More edification than worship

                        3.  How about our songs?  Look at what we actually sang

                                    a.  How many songs are addressed to God?

                                    b.  How many are addressed to one another

                        4.  Truly, purpose of assembly is for edification

            D.  So, to fulfill the purpose of assembling, two things required:

1.  Your presence

            a.  You don't have to come to assembly to worship

            b.  You DO have to come to edify and be edified

            c.  Did you know your very presence is an encouragement?

                        - The more brethren here, the more encouraging

                        - We put minds together to pray, voices to sing

                        - The visiting in foyer is also encouraging

2.  Your participation

            a.  Passage says we all participate in edification

            b.  It is mutual edification

            c.  You are not a passive audience, but active participants

3.  How do you participate?  Think of what passage said.

            a.  There is singing

                        = Passage speaks of people sharing a song

                        = Don't have to sing pretty, but feeling and sincerity

                        = If you have a song, talk to song leader

            b.  Sharing prayer requests, and prayer victories

            c.  Visiting in the foyer, words of encouragement

            d.  A message from scripture

                        = Obvious that listening to sermon and apply is one

                        = But if you have encouraging message, or insight,

   something edifying, please talk to me

= Can make sure all are edified by it

4.  Purpose to build up through presence & participation


III.  How can we strive for excellence in the assembly?

            A.  We want to make sure we render the best service to God right?

            B.  Desire for excellence should apply to assembly as well

                        1.  Understanding the purpose of the assembly

                                    a.  People not always understood purpose

                                    b.  Some thought it was worship similar to temple

                                                - Most holy place up front, that is where worship was

                                                - Priest presided over the worship

                                                - No congregational singing, only professional choir

                                                - Altar was there at most holy place

                                    c.  But as we have seen, purpose of assembly is edification

                                    d.  Need to understand we come not to watch others

     participate, but to participate ourselves

                        2.  Preparation for the Assembly

                                    a.  Obviously worship leaders spend time preparing

                                                - If giving table talk at Lord's Supper

                                                - Song leaders go over their songs

                                                - Scripture Reader practice

                                                - Preacher prepares sermon

                                    b.  Congregation should also prepare as well

                                                - Congregation are not audience, but participants

                                                - Prepare mentally and spiritually

                                                            = Some play Christian music before leaving for

   the assembly on Sunday morning

                                                            = Some go to bed early enough on Saturday

                                                            = Some set out clothes Saturday night

                                                - Whatever you do, prepare self physically,

                 emotionally, and spiritually for Sunday

            - Preparation is not just for worship leaders

                        3.  Participate

                                    a.  We all our professional Christians

                                    b.  We all are participants

                                    c.  We all are to have a share in encouraging one another

            C.  What is the effect of excellence in the assembly?  Think of 1 Cor 14.

1.  All are edified, encouraged, strengthened

                        2.  Even unbelievers are moved to worship God 



1.  Don't come merely expecting to receive, we are not religious "consumers"

2.  Come expecting to give

3.  Francis of Assisi wrote long ago, "It is in giving that we receive"

4.  (inv)