As we consider the denominational world around us, many trends become apparent. Denominational assemblies focus on many worldly things in an attempt to be “seeker friendly”. One can go to a large “church” complex, obtain coffee from the coffeehouse, buy some books from the bookstore, and then sit in a pew or a chair and sit back and watch the “church service” and be entertained. This trend is extremely popular, and such complexes are growing very quickly. Is this, however, what God has purposed for the assembly?
The New Testament is very clear that Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36). Paul encourages us to speak and think in spiritual ways (1 Corinthians 2:11-13). As we assemble together, our minds are to be on spiritual things. The first Christians in Acts 2:42, “devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers”. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, the brethren are said to come together having something to present of spiritual value: a lesson, or a psalm, or a teaching, or some such thing.
God intends the assembly of the saints to be an event focused on spiritual matters. The assembly is designed for the saints; if unbelievers are present, well and good (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25), but the saints purpose to come together and to build one another up (Acts 20:7, Hebrews 10:24-25). The assembly is not a venue of entertainment, or of coffee, or as a bookstore; it is a time for brethren to build one another up in spirit. May it be that we are the ones whom God seeks, serving Him in spirit and truth!