What is missing when we neglect to meet with God’s people for corporate worship?
A part of the body of Christ is missing. Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you? Usually more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day. So, imagine, a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing. You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Such is one, Jerry, my husband, who had to have a leg amputated. He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.
So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness. True, worship is planned and carried on for those who are there; but let’s look at what this worship would look like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.
Paul’s prayer for the early church in Ephesians 1: 15-23:
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory. It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all of His body. His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ. In this prayer Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man.—–
—–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.
Can any one member receive all? Can any one heart conceive of the love of Christ? NO! It was never meant to be, nor could it ever be possible. No one person can know it. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love. Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16) For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ. It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.
When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.
And so the members of the body of Christ go limping through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be. We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs.
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
13To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love, and to move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence.
The Gift of God (agoldentreasury.com)