Author Unknown - Sunday Fellowship Meeting - California

I would like to speak to you this morning about the fellowship meeting as we find it in the Scripture. I am thankful that God has arranged this meeting so His people can gather together, receiving help from Him and help from one another.  If I were to ask the children on which day of the week the disciples came together to break bread, I wonder if they could tell me? Acts 20:7. This tells us definitely that those disciples of Jesus came together on the first day of the week.

Over in North Africa, we have the Moslems that gather together on Friday, and the Jewish people that gather together on Saturday, and of course those that gather together on the first day. The Lord's people over there gather together on the first day. I am sure that it is the same here in California. We are thankful that as we travel around from one country to another that whatever we would say from the Scriptures, it is fitting no matter where we speak it. We come together on the first day of the week.           

Someone has said that it is better to come to the meeting with a prepared heart than a prepared testimony. The spirit in which we come to meeting is most important. I looked into the Scriptures and said, "I wonder if I can find an example of Jesus in this respect?" I thought of the last night that Jesus spent with His disciples, eating the Passover Supper. Jesus came to that meeting with a wonderful spirit. I looked into that upper room in Jerusalem and tried to find out all the things that happened there that night. These disciples weren't perfect, and Jesus knew that from that meeting Peter was going out to deny his Master. He knew that Thomas, a little later, would doubt. He knew that Judas had already gone and sold his Master. He told them that very night that when the Shepherd would be smitten, the sheep would scatter. Jesus showed a wonderful, kind, loving spirit to all those disciples that night in spite of their weaknesses.           

When you go to meeting, do you take that kind of a spirit? It can be a great help to a meeting. One of the best ways to have God's presence in the meeting is to take a measure of that spirit with us. Jesus said to Peter, "I have prayed for you." If we know there is going to be a weak brother in the meeting, or someone who is not all they could be, if we want to help that person, pray for him before we go there. Jesus rose from the table and took the water in the basin and gird Himself in a towel, and washed those disciples' feet.  He washed Thomas' feet; He washed Peter's feet; He came to Judas and He washed his feet. Although He knew Judas' heart, He was just as kind to Judas as He was to any of the rest of them.           

Just previous to this, Judas was at that little feast that they had made for Jesus in Bethany. Judas had a critical spirit there when Mary anointed her Master, and I don't suppose he had gotten over that.  Criticizing the testimony of another is an awful thing; this sacrifice had pleased Jesus so much-the way He saw it was so different from the way Judas saw it! When Judas was at his worst, Jesus was at His best. In that meeting, Jesus took that little piece of bread and dipped it into the dish, and gave it to Judas.  At a feast in that day, when the one that made the feast wanted to show love and friendship and special favor to another, he did it in that way. It was as good as telling Judas that His love would not fail, and His friendship would not cease. Jesus took a wonderful spirit into that meeting!           

Where do you go to meeting here in California? Wherever I have been, God's people have always gone to a HOME for meeting. Do you know what that suggests to me? It suggests that God would like to keep us ever in remembrance that this is a Family - a Family gathering.  Luke 22:10, Jesus gathered His disciples together in a HOME, and it was there that He established the breaking of bread. Over in North Africa, the Moslems go to a mosque to worship; the Jewish people go to a synagogue; the religious people have their temples or church buildings; God's people always go to worship in a HOME. (Luke 22:14)          

"When the hour was come Jesus and the twelve sat down." Do you know what that suggests? It suggests that these people were present at the time when the meeting was to begin. Over in Manitoba, I was in a little meeting, and one man was five minutes late.  The next meeting, he was five minutes late. When we arranged a Gospel meeting in the afternoon, we changed the morning meeting time to a half-hour earlier than usual. Do you know what time that man got there?  Just five minutes late! It would be too bad for meeting time to come and you're just a block away, hurrying to get there, or just entering the door.           

1 Corinthians 14:23, this teaches me that when the Christians came  together, they were each filling their place in the meeting. The WHOLE CHURCH came together; God would like all the members of the church to be present. What do you do in a meeting? 1 Corinthians 14:15.             

These Christians SANG in their meeting. How should we sing in a meeting? With the spirit, and with understanding? Singing with the spirit means it comes from the heart - you are thinking what you are singing. These Christians PRAYED in their meeting, IN THE SPIRIT and WITH UNDERSTANDING. I have been in meetings where people get their heads down and bury their faces and speak so low that I couldn't understand what they said. When you pray, be sure others can hear you. How else can those who are listening say, "Amen?" Every member in that little meeting was listening when the other one was praying. Did the servants of God ever teach you that? Listen to others and join in their prayers. Maybe you will think I am a sinner when I say that one time I was in a meeting and I was glad when the prayers were over. Quite a number took part in prayer - long, long prayers. Each one would repeat almost the same thing that was said before. It was tiresome. Were you ever in a meeting like that? We can have long prayers in the secret place, but God would like us to have short prayers in the meeting place. If we have prayed with our brother or sister when they were praying, then we don't have to repeat, do we?          

1 Corinthians 14:31, all these Christians had a part in the meeting - I wonder how many take part in your meeting? I heard some children playing meeting in Canada. The older boy was telling them:  "You be so-and-so, and you be so-and-so," and to one boy he said, "You be Percy." The little boy replied, "I don't want to be Percy; he doesn't take part in meeting." I think it should be encouraging to all of the young people to know that each one can and should have a little part in the meeting. I have been in meetings where some of the very youngest who took part fed my soul. What comes from the lips of babes in Christ is so pure and so precious! We should not be discouraged if we can only say two or three words; just a few words from the heart goes to the heart.           

You can talk fifteen minutes from the head and it just goes to the head. It costs everybody something to have a part which comes from the heart. There are three things I notice about helpful testimonies:  SINCERITY, SIMPLICITY, BREVITY.           

Before you close the meeting, what do you do? Break bread - this is something I fear doing in a formal way. This is to be done in remembrance of Jesus. God knows that we are so forgetful. By nature, it would be easy to forget the wonderful sacrifice of Christ and the cost of salvation. I was in a meeting lately, and asked someone to give thanks for the bread, and thanks was given by a brother in sincerity and brevity. I have been in meetings where the Lord's people have given thanks for the bread and they offer long, long prayers, thanking God for the privilege of this meeting, and for a lot of other things, and the kernel of giving thanks for the bread was almost hidden. We have already had a time for letting our requests be known. We should remember that at this time we are giving thanks to God for the most wonderful gift that the world has ever known - the gift of His Dear Son.           

All that I know about the Will of God has come because Jesus came to teach me and to show me how to live. When I look at the bread before us (often it is covered with a little white cloth), it reminds me of Christ, the Elder Brother who came and died and gave His life for me. Look upon that cup and think of that wine - I think of the drops of blood that were sacrificed when Jesus died between two thieves - He did that for me. If we could just get a picture of such love! It was just for you and just for me. If He hadn't made that provision for us, where would we be? Don't you think that you can look upon that cup and be thankful for that blood which cleanses you? It puts a purpose in my heart to do and to give my best.           

In a meeting where bread and wine are not used, it is nice to even sing a hymn to remind us of that sacrifice. Never go out of a fellowship meeting without being reminded of the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Some of you are saying, "I don't have a meeting to go to." My dear mother doesn't have the privilege of getting to a fellowship meeting. There are no friends close by. Sometimes the only meeting she gets are conventions and special meetings. She wrote me one time:  "Every Sunday morning I have a little meeting. I go into my room. I look at a hymn. I pray. I pray for others of God's people and for myself. I read a portion of God's Word." If it is impossible for you to get to a meeting, I believe that God will make up for that. If there is a place to go to  meeting, and we don't go, we are going to be the losers. These little meetings are God's plan for feeding His people.