We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Purpose of the Assembly

Nowhere in the New Testament is there any indication that the church met to preach the gospel.  Rather the church met to worship, to teach the word, to pray, to have fellowship.  The meeting of the church was to edify believers and to glorify God.  But it was not to preach the gospel to unbelievers.  Rather the saints went out into the world to preach the gospel. . . . 

The practice of preaching the gospel in the church meeting developed when many unbelievers started attending church.  It was a convenient time to present the claims of Christ.  But there is no biblical mandate for an “evangelistic service” when the church comes together.  There is a mandate to equip the saints to preach the gospel.  The work of Christians is not to invite unbelievers to church so that they might hear the gospel.  It is to preach the gospel themselves.

John H. Fish III, “The Life of the Local Church.”  From the book, Understanding the Church, compiled and edited by Joseph M. Vogl and John H. Fish III, p.132


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a good post. The church today has made a chronic error out of bringing unbelievers into the assembly to present the Gospel to them, rather than the correct concept of gathering to worship the Lord and feed the saints meat.

Saints gather to worship, scatter to evangelize the lost. The lost are to be brought in AFTER they are saved, not before.


ali said...

Absolutely a fantastic admonition to the body. We are called to share the good news, but sadly we have left that to the pastors and what a mess the church is in.

We have forgotten what we were instructed to do.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

"the correct concept of gathering to worship"

Whoops, I forgot the word "believers"...

...the correct concept of *believers* gathering to worship...


Doug Evans said...

Amen! This is something we are slowly starting to hear more and more of every day among the Evangelicals - we go OUT to spread the Gospel (Mark 16:15) When you make it a habit of bringing unbelivers into a worship service you water down your service to make it appeal to the unbeliever, and not to God. This is what Paul was warning us against in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 when he spoke about being unevenly yolked with unbelievers.

Joe said...

Equipping the saints to preach the gospel is the greatest area in which the church falls short. The attitude has become, "Let the pastor do that. It's what he gets paid for."

Come to think of it, equipping the saints for almost every area of ministry has fallen by the wayside.