I love a good sermon, don’t you? But if the sermon is biblical and helpful at the church’s main weekly meeting (typically Sunday), does that make the gathering a success? Not necessarily. It’s possible that we have emphasized the sermon so much at the church’s main meeting that we are guilty of neglecting other responsibilities we have when we come together.
What does the Lord want believers to do at Sunday’s meeting?
Before I answer that question, I’ll make five preliminary comments. First, some of these responsibilities can be fulfilled not just on Sunday, but at other church meetings and even each day as we interact with one another as believers. However, I hope you will consider incorporating all of these almost every week into your main weekly meetings—especially since that is the time when the highest percentage of members is together.
Second, some of these activities are not based upon commands, but precedent (the Lord’s Supper) or logic (e.g., the place of Bible teaching is partially based upon the Lord giving to the church pastors and teachers).
Third, I left out financial giving. Giving is vital to participation in a local church (see 2nd Cor 8-9), but it is not commanded weekly nor is there a strong precedent for it to be observed every Sunday.
Fourth, I will not offer specific ideas as to how to live these verses out. I’ve given seven commands based on the verses, but churches must think carefully about how they should apply this in their context.
Fifth, some of these actions typically happen as people arrive or disperse, not during the so-called “service.”
Back to our question: What should we do at Sunday’s meeting?
Greet one another.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Rom 16:16; cf. 1st Cor 16:20; 2nd Cor 13:12; 1st Thess 5:26; 1st Pt 5:14)
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:18-20; cf. Col 3:16)
Listen to the reading of Scripture.
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” (1st Tim 4:13)
Listen to Bible teaching.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” (Acts 2:42)
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-12; cf. 1st Tim 4:13)
“And they devoted themselves…to…the prayers.” (Acts 2:42; cf. 1:14)
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Col 4:2)
Participate in a variety of ways in order to build up the church.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1st Cor 12:4-7; cf. 14:12, 26)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Eat the Lord’s Supper
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7; cf. 2:42; 1st Cor 11:17-34)