Paul Sharp - The Sunday Fellowship Meeting

I want to talk to you about the fellowship meeting. That's where most of you would be if you're not here this morning and that's where you will be next Sunday morning. In past conventions here in the Philippines, I had talked about the emblems. I won't be talking about them this morning except that the emblems are the soul of the meeting. It is the picture of the life of God in Jesus. I was glad to hear about the Sunday meeting. I would like to say more about why our meeting is so precious. In the Old Testament, we read about the offerings and those offerings could be brought to the meetings. In Exodus 29:38, we read about the offerings. They were offered everyday: 2 lambs, one in the morning and one in the evening. They were a picture of Christ, but each of us has a lamb to offer and God wants that lamb and He wants it everyday. I'm very sure that if those offerings were neglected, God won't be pleased. There was fire and that fire was from heaven. God gave them that fire from heaven but it was up to the people to keep them burning. It was never to die out. That fire was burning up above them and there below was also the same fire. The daily offerings has much to do to keep it burning. Without sacrifice the fire would have no meaning and it would be neglected. There can be sacrifice without love. But there cannot be love without sacrifice. I cannot bring your love, I can only bring my own love; but I can encourage you to bring your love. It was the slaves that brought the people the firewood. If I can have that spirit of humbleness, I can bring fire to the sacrifice. There were different types of offerings. Leviticus 1, was about the burnt offering. It wasn't offered everyday but sometimes people were moved to give that offering and all of that offering went to God, everything, nothing kept back for the priest or for another person. Everything went to God. A brother told about our offering to God as "It's All for All."  God gave all, there was nothing that He kept back. He gave His only Son. I'm empty as far as myself but I come with full blessing of God and everyone in the meeting would be helped. I may not say much and better if I don't say anything but it's God who gives the blessings to what we say in the meeting. Leviticus 3 tells us about the peace offering and the sacrifice. Part of that sacrifice went to God but much of it went to the person who brought it. I have something that God can accept but that meeting can mean all to me because I have a thankful heart. There's something else that we can bring besides a thankful heart. We heard about the sin offering. It also mentions about the "trespass" offering. A brother said that the sin offering is about what we are by nature and the trespass offering is because of the sin that we have because of having that nature. You and I do not bring a sin offering to the meeting. Those sin offerings in the O. T. were just a type of Christ. Now there is no more sin offering. We can just go to the meeting and be conscious of that sin because of our human nature. But we can be grateful because of Christ who has given himself as a sin offering. Leviticus 2 talks about the meat offering. They were not daily offerings. They were offerings from time to time as people felt moved. Of course the sin offering was a must. The sooner the person gave the sin offering, the sooner is the peace that the person will have. Whatever it was, it was everything. Someone said, "It is the savor of the offering, not the size of the offering that matters to God."  Everything has to be done to have that sin covered. But then there was the meat offering and no blood has been shed. They were always mingled with oil and they were never to be offered without salt and never was leaven or yeast to be added. They will "puff up."  There was never honey to be added. The pass-over lamb has to be eaten along with bitter herbs. Those bitter herbs would make the lamb taste sweet. If we suffer for Christ's sake it adds sweetness and that sweetness is from God. Sometimes the meat offering was late and it had the taste of fire but it would still be burned in the altar. And sometimes raw meat would be offered. But oil and frankincense would be added. The oil would be like the grace of God. Grace is the spirit of God's spirit. The oil would bind the meal together. Sometimes our words might go beyond our walk. A little of that offering and the meal mingled with oil would be taken out and all of the frankincense would be taken and the sacrifice kept on the altar. Frankincense is like sincerity. Young people come to the meeting and children profess in the meeting and have not tasted fire in their lives. But don't worry about that, when they are sincere it reaches to God. And that offering comes back to us. Another offering is the "meal offering," it also comes back to us. Seed has been planted. That crop has been cared for, it has been harvested and the grain has been dried and it has been winnowed. It has gone to the mill, it has been ground and it has been labeled as "fine flour."  We don't want to be careless about "grinding."  And then there is the "baked offering," it goes to the oven. There was another offering called the "first-fruits" and they were to be brought to God. There was a woman in our field who had newly professed. She had the looks of "Egypt."  But she had an offering that I know God must have accepted. It is called the "first-fruits."  She had changed her looks. 1 Corinthians 11 speaks about the fellowship meeting. The first half of the chapter is about how men and women should look like when they do their worship. Verse 3, the man is the head of the woman and therefore the woman's head is covered. We want the men to be hidden and Christ to be manifested. Christ is the head of the church, we don't want to hide Him. Verse 3-7, the man is a type of Christ. He is the image and glory of God. That's why men do not have long hair. The woman has long hair because the man is hidden. 1 Corinthian 12 talks about the body and its members. Romans 12 also tells us about the body, its members and about gifts, the gifts of the Spirit. There is no member in this body that has no gift. You also have a gift and your gift is important to the body and to the fellowship. It talks about the ear, the eye, the head and other members without naming them. And it makes it clear that every member is needed. God set the members in the body and He gave you a place. No member says, "I don't need you."  My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, I had surgery and my feet aren't as strong as they used to be. But they are all members of the body. The feet hold the whole body. Your hands, God has been able to fill them. Something from your experience has been so rich to you and you can share with others what God has done to you. And maybe someone in that meeting can be helped and maybe someone is touched in that meeting! We can use those hands to wash the feet of those that touched us. Sometimes my right hand needs my left hand and my left hand doesn't say, "You're so smart, you don't need me."  My left hand is there to help and strives to do what it can. God has appointed elders. And He has also appointed deacons. They help each other. Sometimes the other is gone, but glad that the one left can still do what it needs to do. There are members that are minor but much is done to honour those members so that there will be balance in the body. DON'T MISS THE MEETING! God wants you to be in the meeting. Your brethren need you in the meeting. Those meetings are like our LIFE and BLOOD!