Perhaps you have searched for a group of people who endeavor with all their hearts to remain true to the Bible.
Many will tell you that they are that group. Just check any newspaper “church page” and you will find a plethora of churches advertising themselves as giving, caring, sharing, and Bible-believing. What more could one want? How about … the truth?
The problem with many is that instead of looking into Scripture with an open mind in search of the truth, they seek out a group that is teaching the doctrines they already believe. And those tenets do not necessarily need to come from the Bible.
Tradition is the most popular teacher, which is why doctrinal errors and many nonBiblical teachings continue to abound. Basing their belief on the fact that they have always believed them, people accept such doctrines as truth.
Others are not as concerned with the teachings as they are with the group’s prestige, its comfortable sanctuary, gifted choir, handsome minister, or any number of other reasons that have nothing to do with what is taught there.
For many, a religious affiliation is a marriage of convenience, a compromise for the sake of the spouse or children. For others it is used to enhance their worldly status.
Just as perilous is the person who believes he or she is justified in worshiping Yahweh alone. Maybe some problem in their former affiliation prompted them to go it alone. They may even pride themselves with going solo.
Should we reject organized worship when problems arise? Are we given the Scriptural alternative to worship separately from everyone else? Is that the arrangement we find taught in the Bible? What does Scripture reveal about becoming part of a group of worshipers and working with and through the Body of Messiah? Could private worship signal spiritual defeat or does it have Yahweh’s complete blessing?
‘I Will Build My … lndividual’?
Scripture is clear on the subject of worship. It also has much to say about group affiliation. Clearly, the command to assemble is there: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:24-25.
We are directed to join in fellowship, encouraging and exhorting one another to good works and sacrificial love by word and example. We must seriously consider the Savior’s words about those called out from the world to be a part of the Body of Messiah. It is obvious that He expected His followers to become a part of a greater Body of believers who would be close to one another and who would help guide one another.
Jesus said there would always be a group of True Believers on earth teaching the truths he magnified and brought to light: “And I say also unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly; and the gates of [the grave] shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16: 18). He established an organized worship based on Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Messiah.
If we seek salvation, we must become a part of that Body. His assembly was to continue until His return, 1Peter 4: 17. Teaching the truth of Scripture, His Body would be the physical representation of Him on earth. This Body would be the repository of His truth and mirror the example He set.
The writers of the New Testament, and especially Paul, shared the belief that Believers must congregate as a body whenever possible. Acts 2:42 relates that after Jesus’ death that the early apostles continued steadfast in fellowship and prayer. The apostles were in constant fellowship with one another throughout the Book of Acts. They were aware that persecution was soon to fall on them and they used every opportunity to encourage one another and to preach the Word wherever they could.
It is up to all who have been called to proclaim the Good News and encourage others in the truth of the Name, Sabbath, Feasts, clean foods, and other truths neglected for millennia. These are the bedrock teachings that must be reintroduced before the Savior returns, Jude 3. Those who have this knowledge are to be teachers and guides of others searching for it, 1Peter 2:9; Romans 2:21.
The only real way to get the message out effectively is through a united effort!
Message Through the Body
For a number of important reasons God’s people are to congregate to study His Word. The overriding concern is to help sinful lives change to lives of righteous obedience. The Book of Acts is filled with examples of conversions to Messiah. The Apostle Paul himself was struck down on the Damascus road in Acts 9, where he actually heard and spoke to the risen Messiah (vv. 1-6). Although Jesus spoke to Paul, He did not tell him the entire plan at that time.
Rather, the plan of salvation was to be found in going to the city and letting those in the ekklesia – the Body of believers – tell him what had to be done. Jesus had given the keys of the Kingdom to His called-out ones, and although He could just as easily have told Paul what to do for others directly, that was the job of the Body. It still is today.
The early assembly was busy showing the path to those who were seeking the strait gate and the narrow way. For example, the Ethiopian treasurer was trying hard to understand the Book of Isaiah (Acts 8). Philip explained the Scriptures to him and brought about his conversion and desire for baptism. This is a prime example of God’s Spirit working through His people to help others find the way of salvation. That truth is lodged in the Body of believers.
God could just as easily have spoken to, or in some way moved, the people He was dealing with to do His bidding. Instead, He used those who had prepared themselves and were qualified, to help others seeking truth. It is up to the Body of Messiah to preach the Good News of salvation as Jesus said in Matthew 28: 19.
Although signs, visions, and miracles were used on occasion by God in the New Testament Assembly, the message of salvation was given and expounded to others by those in the ekklesia, the called-out ones.
Notice specifically in Revelation 14:12 that the True Worshiper keeps the faith OF Jesus, not the faith IN Jesus – but the same faith He had. Part of His faith was that He was obedient in all things, 1Peter 2:22. He kept all the commandments. All the Sabbaths. He is our example, our model, and our goal.
Another characteristic setting apart of True Worshipers is that His people will know and use His Name, Isaiah 52:6. His people will also be hated because of His Name, Matthew 24:9, but they will never deny it, Revelation 3:8.
The way is narrow and the gate is strait that leads to the Kingdom, and few will find it. The closer an organization follows the truth the fewer there will be in that group. But seek the Kingdom we must, and with all our determination follow the Savior. This is not just a hobby for the Truth Seeker, it is his and her very reason for living.
May you also join with us as we endeavor to fulfill all that the True Assembly means in these final days.