The problem is, too many believers think that the Kingdom of God moves on without the interaction of people, though it is quite the opposite. The Kingdom of God is the people. God wants to reign in the hearts of man not in cathedrals. It is not some undefined nebulous entity that only functions in some ethereal plain out there.
Hence the statement that is made by many: that they "don’t need to fellowship because wherever they are is church" is made null and void by the sheer Biblical mandate to build community. “Church” is not something we go to it - is who we are. We are the family, the community of God and by the looks of it we are a pretty dysfunctional family.
Community can’t be built alone. The word does seem to denote more than one person involved. Every group realizes that in order to promote their agenda they must rally, plan, equip and encourage. The Boy scouts meet weekly, Alcoholics Anonymous, fraternal organizations, political parties, etc. So, how is it that those who call themselves believers always seem to find a reason why they are exempt from showing up. God is not impressed by our excuses. He has not given a different dispensation to any one individual.
We first have to look at the biblical mandate for the community of God and I believe we will also see the why, what and how.
We need to see the mandate for establishing community.
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
The act of making disciples doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There is a monstrous amount of work that goes into discipleship. How can we teach if no one shows? How is it possible to measure growth when there is no systematic approach to study? How do we train the next generation? Without a healthy vibrant Biblical community how will the young women receive instruction, Tit 2:3-4? How will we be able train faithful men to train faithful men, 2Ti 2:2? So much will not be accomplished for the Kingdom when the body refuses to unite and organize. Showing up is half the battle.
Showing up is 50%.
Just imagine if the disciples never showed up. Think about it, what if they never accepted the invitation of Yeshua to join in with his little rag tag group. Things happen when we do show up. Can you imagine what would have happened if Moses really said no, or if Daniel refused to be faithful and follow the Lord. How about that Esther, my, my, how things would have been different if she never went before Achashverosh. If Gideon had stayed in the wine press, we all would be singing a different tune and it would sound like a traditional Philistine folksong.
It seems like most of the great men and women of God struggled from the same affliction, dontshowupitis. It’s a disease that affects the frightened and lazy. We must not allow this disease to spread among our ranks; we must quarantine the infirmed and keep it from spreading.
The cure proves itself to be found in a very simple 2 step program.
- You show up.
- God proves Himself faithful.
- Don’t show.
- Watch nothing happen.
1. No Acts 2 (day of Shavuot or Pentacost.)
Act 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2. The lame man wouldn’t have been healed.
Act 3:6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Yeshua the Messiah the Nazarene--walk!"
3. All of the great testimonies of the first believers would not have happened.
Steven’s preaching to the Jerusalem council, Acts 7.
Phillip’s witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch. Acts 8:26.
Rav Shaul's coming to the Messiah Acts 9.
The conversion of the Gentiles after Peter's vision. Acts 10.
The debate over the Gentiles conversion, acts 15.
The Bereans call, Rav Shaul's sermon on Mars Hill, Acts 17
What great testimonies of ministry are we missing out on by just not showing? As I said above if you don’t show nothing happens. When we do show we must also have something to say. We learn what to say when we are in the presence of those who have gone before us and have the experience in their walk. In order to have the right to say something we must live it loud enough to earn that right.
We don’t have the luxury any more to look at the work of the kingdom as an optional event in our lives. This is not an intramural or Junior Varsity sport, this is Varsity baby.
The enemy doesn’t take a vacation from sin and evil. What makes us think we are going to win the war as a part time soldier? Aren’t you glad our military didn’t fight WW2 with the attitude we have towards the Gospel? Let me tell you who doesn’t have a (part time no show attitude) about their faith or mission; Moslems, Mormons, Moonies, Jehovah Witnesses, The KKK, The pro-death abortionists, homosexuals who promote their agenda to the point where we now have legalized gay marriage in our state, the Mexican drug cartel, illegal alien traffickers, gangs, rapists, thieves, adulterers, pedophiles, wife beaters, drug addicts. I could keep this list going on for sometime. All of these people in these groups, always, show up so that they can be faithful to exploit situations that are beneficial for their agenda. Do we have a problem - when the followers of God follow with less zeal than all the other evil or crazy fringe groups?
We are motivated to do the right thing by living in community.
23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Everything we do and experience as believers happens as a result of showing up and building community. The first believers became a community with the ability to meet real needs.
41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Because of the community they were able to encourage each other.
Phm 1:4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,
Phm 1:5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Yeshua and toward all the saints;
Phm 1:6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Messiah's sake.
Phm 1:7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Their fellowship in the community together kept them from going back to their old fleshly friendships.
2Co 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
2Co 6:17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
2Co 6:18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.
Our fellowship is made complete in Messiah.
1Jo 1:3 What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
This issue I am dealing with is not about going to a service, it is about living in service. What more can I or must I say? What is a legitimate excuse for not being in fellowship with the body and fulfilling your service to God? If you have one let me know or better yet, tell God. I am sure He wants to hear all of your good excuses. Maybe you can even get a note from your parents or the school nurse for your lack of attendance in the Kingdom of God. Aren't you glad Yeshua didn't take the same stance that we do when it comes to the Kingdom?