How Best to Help the Assembly
God in His great mercy and goodness saved my soul when but ten. Six years later I obeyed the Lord in baptism, and then sought fellowship with a company of believers who gathered simply in the name of the Lord Jesus. The gatherings of these Christians were marked by sincerity, and I found them interesting, instructive, inspiring and refreshing. The Lord Himself seemed always to be the centre of attraction, and the Holy Spirit’s presence ever a reality. In the assembly there were men who had been taught of the Lord, and therefore were able to teach His Word to His people. Furthermore, the spirit of true evangelism was there and the gospel was preached to the unconverted. Most of the teachers and preachers were ordinary working men with experience in the school of God. Their lives were exemplary and their knowledge of divine things remarkable. They were like the disciples of whom we read, “They were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52).
As I grew older, I realized that not only were there privileges that I might enjoy but that there were responsibilities that I might assume in the assembly to which I now belonged. I learned that each member could be either a help or a hindrance.
My enquiring mind began to ask, “How best can I help the testimony?” “How can I make it a greater blessing to the people of the area?”
Perhaps there are some today asking the same question. May I suggest to them four ways in which they may assist and strengthen the assembly.
Certainly, if we love the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His people we shall find it delightful to attend the meetings and services. We shall aim to be present at all the services possible. In fact, we shall feel that God expects us to be there and that our presence is a help and support to the work.
In our attending the meetings, we should always try to be there on time. It is an encouragement to others when we are there before the service actually begins. It is better to be five minutes early than one minute late. If the few minutes we are early are spent in prayer; this extra time will be used to profit.
What we are in character and conduct reflects upon our assembly. We might well examine ourselves. Are we kind, gracious, helpful, and considerate to those around us? What we do and what we fail to do are very important in commending the assembly to other believers and to the world. Dishonesty, deceitfulness, or covetousness do not recommend our church life, any more than do gambling and drinking. The testimony of God’s people is enhanced when we display the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” To recommend our assembly to others we must follow our Lord Jesus of whom we read, “He went about doing good, and God was with Him.” We read, “By God, actions are weighed,” and we also should carefully consider our actions and attitudes lest we bring the testimony of the Lord into disrepute.
It should be the desire of every Christian in the fellowship to see the assembly grow in strength and number. If we have something that is of quality and value, undoubtedly there are others who likewise would like to know about it and enjoy it with us. We should be like the four leprous men outside the starving city of Samaria when they found that the enemy had fled leaving all his supplies behind. They said one to another, “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace; … now therefore come, that we may go and tell” (2 Kings 7:9).
You and I can extend the testimony by telling others about it, by letting others see that we really enjoy our portion in Christ, and enjoy the fellowship of the saints. We can further develop the assembly testimony by inviting persons to the gospel services, by showing a Christ-like spirit toward others, and by doing good to all men.
The assembly may also grow if we show a keen interest in our fellow-Christians, and if our under-shepherds direct the flock, especially the lambs, in the ways that are well pleasing to the Lord. Participation in Sunday School work, tract work, visitation, and in other useful activities contributes to the expansion of church testimony.
The enemy of souls is very active and busy; his work is to scatter, overthrow, and destroy the flock. Our church witness and fellowship are at stake for he will use every method of attack; therefore, individually we must defend them. Both Christ and His church are the targets of the foe; he is determined to spread false doctrine and divide God’s people. We must defend the assembly from carnal leadership (2 Tim. 4:3-4. 1 John 3:1-3). Moreover, the fellowship of the saints should be protected from the formation of parties and clicks, and everything should be done to preserve each member of the assembly from complacancy and spiritual pride.
We may guard the assembly by maintaining godly and scriptural order, by discipline, and by the repression of worldliness of any kind. Just as the good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep, we ought to be prepared to lay down our lives for the brethren.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).