Sydney Holt - Mellowdale - Sunday Morning, July 7, 2002

Hymn 381

John 20:19-24, maybe this was the first Sunday Meeting. It probably was held in the late afternoon. It was the day of the resurrection. A little group was gathered in a home, perhaps it was the same home Jesus had eaten the Passover with them, a few days earlier. There was much they didn’t understand, but they felt a need to be together. The disciples were questioning a lot of things, but felt a need of gathering together. The Holy Spirit of God directed them together.

In Ireland in the early 1900s, the servants of God came to a district and had meetings every night. Then after several had made their choice to serve God, the servants left. Sunday came — those who made their choice wondered what to do. They wanted to be together so decided to gather in one home to sing hymns. Then one said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we prayed together?” After they prayed, someone said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we shared some of our thoughts with each other?" The servants came back to establish a meeting, but the Holy Ghost had already established it. 

When we gather on the first day of the week, we close the door to the sanctuary.  When we pray, we also need to do this or the cares of the day come in, and you never know a close relationship with God. Twice, Jesus found moneychangers and animals in the courtyard of the temple. “You have made My Father’s house a den of thieves.” It was not wrong to buy that little lamb in Jerusalem — but not in the courtyard. Often in prayer it is not the wrong things, but things out of place that hinder. When we sing the hymns, does our mind wander? I have made it a habit to keep my eyes glued to the words or my mind wanders. When people give their testimonies, concentrate on what they’re saying. If you’re thinking about what you will say instead, be the first to stand up and give your testimony, then you’ll be free to listen to others. Get that door shut.

Your appetite determines how much you enjoy your meal. As a boy, I got into a candy bar. Mother checked my to see if I had a fever when I didn’t want supper. Then she said, “What have you been eating?” Sweets aren’t bad in themselves, bur rob you of an appetite for good food. When we come to a meeting, we can feed too much on other things, and we won’t have an appetite for the royal dainties.

Jesus saw a weakness in Peter that Peter didn’t see in himself. How do you think Peter felt when he came to this meeting? Maybe like the worst person on earth. Four days earlier, he had said he would die for Christ, but now he had denied Jesus. Mary Magdalene brought a message to the disciples and Peter. There was an empty chair at that meeting.

Judas had been numbered with the twelve, but had an obsession with money. The others didn’t know what was working in his life. I don’t think Judas believed that Jesus would die. Many times, he had seen Jesus slip away when they wanted Him. He was just obsessed with money and didn’t die to that obsession. I wonder if the other disciples may have buried Judas. If they did, it would be a very sad funeral for them.

Luke 22:26, “But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” The way to be great in God’s way is to be a servant to others. Mary Magdalene was at this Meeting. She’s the one who had been forgiven much and she loved much. She stayed at the tomb till Jesus came to her.  He gave her a message to give the others in the Meeting

Luke 24:13-35, two others – Jesus walked with them. He showed them where he fit in the big picture – the Christ. He made Himself known to them. They returned to Jerusalem and went to the Meeting and gave the message.

Verse 33-35, “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, 'The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.' And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Imagine what they had to bring to this meeting! We appreciate those who have spent time in the presence of Christ, and have a revelation for us. As a jigsaw puzzle starts to come together, you begin to get the picture. As it becomes complete, there are no parts missing and no parts left over. Jesus took every prophecy and put it into its place. Imagine what they had to share in that meeting. After spending time in the presence of Christ, they brought revelation to see the big picture.

John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,………….came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, 'Peace be unto you.'” The one who makes all the difference in a meeting is the presence of Jesus. Jesus must be in the meeting. God speaks to us in the following various ways:

1.Through the hymns. Our hymns have such depth of meaning compared to hymns in other churches. There are gospel hymns, some to start the meeting with, hymns for the emblems and some hymns are prayers. They can mean so much. We should all choose hymns. 

2.Through prayers – it should come from our hearts. Listen to the prayers of others and pray one prayer together. If someone has already mentioned the workers, you don’t need to mention them again.

3.Through testimonies. I remember one man’s short testimony after he had been watching in a blacksmith. A man was trying to bend metal by using pressure, but it didn’t work — it always sprang back. However, after the heat was put to the metal, it stayed in the new shape. The man said he felt he needed God to do that with him.

4. Calvary. Luke 22:19-20, “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.' Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.'” The emblems are in the center of the meeting — our whole meeting revolves around that sacrifice. It was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world. This is of God. 

Also I Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.' After the same manner also, He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come.'” It can become a form.

Verse 25 teaches to look-up. We should also look back — are you really letting it affect your life as you should? Gladys Porteous said she wanted to take in the emblems with a deeper meaning, so she made it a practice to read about the crucifixion in all the Gospels before the Sunday morning meeting. You could also read Exodus 12, Leviticus 16, or Psalm 22 (David’s account), or Isaiah 53 (Isaiah’s account). These will help me have a fresh appreciation of Jesus’ sacrifice.

We should look forward — verse 26 “...till He comes.” He’ll come as a thief for those not ready. He’ll come as a bridegroom for those who are ready. Look ahead. We don’t know what even the rest of this day will bring out. Partake of that bread and cup. It can give us strength. Two examples of what there is to look forward to:  one couple that had left the truth was out on a trip in a plane and crashed in a canyon. Another couple was faithful with a meeting in their home. Their plane engine failed and they crashed. One couple living for the here and now and the other couple for eternity. Same story, but very different endings.

Looking in is a very important part of the emblems. We need to be ready to live for living what Jesus taught — “walk in the light as He is in the light.” Looking out for one another. Verse 33, 1 Corinthians, “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.” Be considerate of others in the meeting — if  you have a cold, pass the wine by — take it last.

John 20:21, “Then said Jesus to them again, 'Peace be unto you; as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” Nothing has changed. Receive ye the Holy Ghost — fresh anointing. Thomas wasn’t in this meeting — he had a lot of doubt and questionings that would have been answered had he been there. Richard Meek, an Irish worker, told about an experience when he was growing up. He was helping empty the winter’s manure out of the barn and spreading it on the land. It was clouding up — there were a few more loads to make. He told his father maybe he’d better stay back from the Wednesday meeting and finish up. His father said that he had made a vow that none of his machinery would be out working on Wednesday night or Sunday. Just imagine this could have been a child of God missing an appointment with God for an earthly task.

Aren’t we glad God doesn’t wait till the Judgment Day? He examines us weekly. Think of each other and look out for each other. Look up. Look back. Look ahead. Look out. John 20:22,  “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost.'” Every Sunday morning, we have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. When we miss the opportunity God has made for us, we won’t get strength. We’ll answer for it in eternity.

Hymn 385