SUNDAY, JUNE 15, 2014
THE GATHERING OF BELIEVERS
‘…the place in which they were gathered together was shaken,’ Acts 4v31.
In the early Church, it was an essential habit for believers to gather primarily for the purpose of fellowship and building up one another in the Lord. In this instant, we saw the believers come together to pray to God and to be filled by the Holy Spirit for the work of mission. It is an eye opener to the Church of today for its members to seek genuine fellowship that will help to build each other up to the glory of God. Our God assures us: ‘for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,’ Matt. 18v20. The presence of God gives joy, peace, happiness and confidence. He is always in the midst of His people no matter what the situation may be. The devil is aware and is not happy, because God’s continued presence with His people will keep him at bay.
It is interesting to note that the New Testament Church regularly met together in different places, sometimes in people’s homes, churches or cities, Rom. 16v3-5, Philippians 4v32. When God’s people gather, they strengthen one another and this is in tandem with scriptural demand: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,’ Prov. 27v17. Through such gatherings, believers share burdens together, thereby uplifting one another in the presence of God.
However, it is unfortunate that today, some do not value the idea of coming together from time to time, as believers. Some see it as a waste of time, there are some others, who exhibit an air of ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude and there are some others that stay away, as a result of ignorance, pride or arrogance, thinking they have nothing to benefit in the midst of God’s people. But such is not true and should not be encouraged. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us better: ‘not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,’ Heb. 10v25.
The New Testament Church did not joke with the idea of coming together and we saw how the Holy Spirit was attendant in all their activities and more number of persons to be saved was added to their fold daily. Yes, the beauty of this coming together is the strengthening of God’s people. More so, the promise of Christ is essential to the gathering of believers: ‘Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,’ Matt. 18v18. People of God, time has come for a rethink and a deeper reflection on the need for believers to ensure that they meet regularly. The devil has not given up and may not likely give up and the only weapon we have is to come together in fellowship and fervently pray with one another in order to keep him at bay and free those that are bound by him.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.