Summary: We all have our idea of what Church should be like. This sermon looks at an Old Testament example of what should be found in a modern day church service.
The Ideal Church Service
I have been in church most all of my life; in almost 32 years I have attended several thousand “church services”. I have been to Morning and evening worship, Wednesday prayer and bible studies, Singings, Homecomings, Revivals, Bible conferences, Men’s conferences and many other events in the church I have been to churches that had an average attendance of 5, and I have been to churches that have several hundred in attendance on a weekly basis. I have been to churches that have traditional worship, some that have contemporary worship and some that have a combination of both.
I have been in some church services that were so amazing and the presence of the Spirit was so real that you just didn’t want to leave. Then I have been in some services that were so dead that I couldn’t wait for the last “amen” to be said so we could go home.
Last week while I was on vacation I attended a couple of different churches:Sunday morning I was blessed to visit Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola Florida where Bro. Ted Traylor is the pastor. That church averages over 3500 in worship each week. Then on Wednesday night I visited my friends at Seddon Baptist in Pell City. They have just moved into a new sanctuary and have added 40 new members in the past 5 weeks. (most of the growth has been through conversion) While at these churces I observed how things were done. God is blessing both of them… they are growing, they are having an impact on the Kingdom and I want Stockdale to do the same.
We must understand that it is not enough for us just to join together and sing some songs, pray some prayers, listen to a sermon and go home. I believe that there are certain things that God expects when His people join together. And I believe that format is found in these verses we have read in Nehemiah today. I want to look at our selected text and consider the subject “The Ideal Church Service”. The first thing that we will see is:
I.“GOD’S PEOPLE MUST ASSEMBLE TOGETHER V1-2
The reason for the assembly was the “feast of the 7th month” - (Nehemiah 7:73). This was also a time called "the feast of trumpets," which was celebrated over a 2 day period. It was the 1st day of the 7th ecclesiastical year, and also the New Year’s day of the Jewish civil year. As we examine this assembly we find some elements that will be found in “The Ideal Church Service”
A. WE MUST ASSEMBLE WITH UNITY - v1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate;
Notice - “They assembled as one man” what a great description of unity among the brethren. There were no cliques! There were no personal agendas! It was not about them! The New Living Translation says that they “assembled with a unified purpose”
At “The Ideal Church Service”... There will be no division! There will be no griping, grumbling or complaining! The main topic of conversation will not be…Where we are going for lunch. …How many more days until SEC kickoff…How dysfunctional our government is or what we did on Saturday night
There won’t be any arguments about …Which hymn book we sing out of or which translation of the bible we read out of! There won’t be people whispering about the things they don’t like about the church or the people they don’t like in the church
At “The Ideal Church Service” there won’t be any fighting or discord. Folks, people encounter fighting and turmoil at work, home and school. They shouldn’t have to deal with it in God’s house.
At “The Ideal Church Service”…People will get out of their cars… (Before they even enter the doors) and their hearts and minds will be 100% focused on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and this will only happen when they are prepared before they get in the car!!!
Every great move of God comes where there is unity among His people - This was seen at Pentecost - Acts 2:1 ¶And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. - So, if we are going to have “The Ideal Church Service” we will have unity among the brethren. Not only will we assemble in unity, we also see that:
B. WE MUST ASSEMBLE REGARDLESS OF CONVENIENCE– “into the street that was before the water gate”
These people were gathered “in the street at the water gate" . The Gibeonites brought water into the temple through this gate. There was a spacious area of land in front of this gate. These people did not enter into an elaborate building. This was not a beautiful sanctuary or cathedral, they weren’t even in the temple… they were in the street! But here “in the street at the water gate” these people experienced God in a powerful way!