Question: "Why do members of the church of Christ assemble together, and why do they assemble at various times?"
Answer: Members of the church of Christ assemble together because this is what is taught in the New Testament. And it is exactly what we find Christians doing in the first century. In Acts 11.26 we read of Barnabas and Saul of Tarsus, "And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." This was not just a one-time thing but went on for a year. Thus, we have an approved, apostolic example of the church assembling on a regular basis.
But why does the New Testament teach that the church should assemble? In Hebrews 10.24-25 we read, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching." Since we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, this necessarily implies that there must be an assembling of ourselves together not to forsake. The passage explains some of the reasons for this assembling, which are to consider one another, to stimulate to love and good works, and to exhort one another.
But why do members of the church of Christ assemble at various times? One time that is specified for Christians to assemble is on the first day of the week. We read in Acts 20.7, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." One of the purposes stated for this assembling on the first day of the week was to break bread or observe the Lord's supper (cf. 1 Corinthians 11.23-26). In fact, the only time that we read of in the New Testament when the church met to observe the Lord's supper or give of their means into the tresury of the church was on the first day of the week (cf. 1 Corinthians 16.1-2).
But since this assembling on the first day of the week is specified, why do members of the church assemble at other times, such as midweek services, special classes, and nightly gospel meetings? Well,in Acts 2.46-47 we read, "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." The church at Jerusalem saw fit to assemble, at least for a time, every day. Therefore, by this approved, apostolic example, we know that the church is authorized to assemble at times other than the first day of the week. While the Lord's supper and collection are limited to the first day of the week, other acts of worship together, such as singing, praying, and studying the Bible, are not so limited. Thus, each local church is free to set other times when members are supposed to assemble for praise and edification under the oversight of those men who are chosen to see that the flock is fed properly (Acts 20.28, 1 Peter 5.1-2). When we thus assemble, we can worship our God, encourage one another, and be built up in the faith. Brotherly, Wayne S. Walker
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