A church becomes a church in the gathering. It is where we as believers learn what we are, become what we are, rejoice and give praise to God for what we are. We are God’s people, Christ’s body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Shepherd’s flock, the vine’s branch, the kingdom’s citizens, the demonstration of God’s wisdom and grace. And the assembly enacts and illustrates all of this. So it’s not surprising that the principalities and powers of this world have targeted church gatherings!
Satan is in the scattering business. His very nature is to divide, polarize and conquer. He has taken full advantage of every opportunity to do so. This year is no exception. He has used the plague of COVID-19 and the politics of 2020 to scatter the church and tear friends, families, and a nation apart.
THE FATHERS PLAN HAS BEEN TO GATHER FROM THE BEGINNING
* Originally, God dwelled with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—a geographic plot of land. When they sinned, he cast them out. They could no longer dwell or gather with God.
* Through Abraham God would then call a people to gather once again and fulfill the mandate he gave to Adam (see Gen. 28:3; also 35:11, 48:4)
* Eventually he would gather his Abrahamic people to the land of Canaan, where he would, from time to time, call them to assemble— actually and physically assemble. The word used by the Greek Old Testament to describe these physical, shoulder-to-shoulder assemblies is ekklesia.
* When God exiled Israel and Judah from the land, he effectively disbanded the assembly. Yet the prophet Joel, in the same breath in which he promised the outpouring of God’s Spirit (Joel 2:28–32; Acts 2:17–21), also told Israel to “gather the people” and “consecrate the congregation”—the ekklēsia (Joel 2:16).
* It is against this Old Testament backdrop that we need to hear Jesus arriving on the scene and saying, “I will build my ekklēsia” (Matt. 16:18)
Today, as we stand at this time in history it’s imperative that we’re not only aware of Fathers plan, but we become participators of it. We must choose to gather to represent heavens rule, establish a visible outpost of Christ’s kingdom, to form and mobilize a people, and to exalt our King!
1. Review the scriptures listed and add to them as you see fit, explaining how the Father business is to gather.
2. Scripture gives us clear indication of the enemy’s plans as well. What are they?
3. Why is the gathered unified church such a threat?
4. How can you help to gather? Is God calling you to another level of faith? How can we help you get there?
Please discuss the big event coming up in two weeks. Contact Nicole MacDowell if you have any questions.