We were reading together recently Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians discovering some wonderful truths—eavesdropping on the reading to those saints meeting in Thessalonica.
We noticed how the authors, Paul, Silvanus and Timothy wrote to encourage their hearers as they sat and listened to the letter being read to them.
They were listening to the words of Paul who was a witness to the risen Christ! Clearly his testimony was critical to their life in the Spirit.
That’s how all of the letters to these young assemblies were received in the New Testament start. They listened together rather than read. The letters were composed to be read out loud to a meeting of believers. Never in their wildest dreams did the authors expect you and I could read this correspondence and gain so much insight into how they saw the application of the gospel.
To receive the word of God we have to hear the word of God rather than just read it. “My sheep hear my voice” said Jesus.
“Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts!”
Literally listening! Not just reading the print on the pages!
You have to be there. To be present.
Ekklesia (badly translated as ‘church’) means gathering or assembly. You cannot have a New Testament gathering unless actually gathered together. They came together and when they went back home they were no longer an assembly. They would eagerly look forward to the next time together, when they would assemble—to hear.
In the hearts of the authors, they saw in the Spirit the people to whom they were addressing when it would be read to them.
There is no way these believers could receive the word of God except they assembled. Right?
Each time together was unique.
No two meetings were exactly the time. Spontaneity. And as the Holy Spirit distributed his manifestations among them.
What is your gathering like? Is it a place where you HEAR His voice?
When we gather today, the living Jesus is with us to speak. But is He welcome? Does he have a voice in your meetings? Is He allowed to be Lord? Do we take seriously these living words?