This passage reminds me of the time I went through during the Cambodian holocaust from 1975-1978. Everyday after the long hours of forced labor in the fields, everyone was also required to go to meetings at night. There we sat, soaked and sour with exhaustion and sleepy, finding little purpose or profit in these meetings. But the church meetings that the Scriptures exhorts us to do are completely opposite and different from the meetings the Khmer Rouge communist did. These meetings are about you and me helping other believers as God exhorts us to do continually until Jesus returns.
There are three important points of meeting for us to live by:
1. The profit of meeting together – “24 Let us think … and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” The purpose of meeting together is to think about other believers, to help other believers, to show love to other believers, and to do good to other believers. In order to do that, we must meet with other believers in the family of God, if we don't do that we would never have a chance to do all those things for other believers. To think of other believers in a way that builds each other up and watches each other’s back in times of dark days, downcast and difficult times, or in deep water. God designed us in a way that we can connect and care for each other as God’s dear children. Notice that when God created this universe, He created things to connect with each other. You and I and other believers need each other. As described in Acts 2:41-47, the early church would meet in homes, at public places, at churches, by the seashore, and at any other place they could meet. They learned together. They lived together. They loved each other. They looked after each other. They longed for Jesus’ return. They lavished God’s love on each other as they received it from the Father in heaven. They lived out the gospel each day among themselves as light of the world. Because of their faithfulness in meeting together, they turned the world upside down. What a powerful testimony of God to us. That is the profit of meeting together as God’s family.
2. The purpose of meeting together – “25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other.” Once again I am reminded of the harvest time during the holocaust in Cambodia. As the winter arrived at the rice fields we would gather up wood and start fires to warm ourselves up. While doing this, I noticed that the more the wind would blow, the stronger the fire would become. In the same way, when you and I meet together, either at home, at church, or at any other meeting about Jesus, it helps us become stronger in the Lord even when the storms of life hit. Do you know why? Because gathering with a group of people who know and love Jesus enables you and me to go with Jesus, to grow in Jesus, and to glow for Jesus. In December 1979, at the refugee camp in Thailand, I rededicated my life to follow Jesus. Ever since that moment, I knew my life would never been the same again. I am deeply and eternally grateful to God who has given me His amazing and abundant grace to live each day with Him and for Him. He granted me strength and the privilege of being the disciple of many leaders and followers of Jesus who love and care for my soul. By God’s grace, I became a student of the Word, so involved in ministry, serving people in need of Jesus. Each and every day I experience so much love and joy in following Jesus.
3. The priority of meeting together – “25 Do this even more as you see the day coming.” Meeting as the church body is biblical. God designed for His church to meet together. God knows and declares that, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18) God desires us to meet until His return. If you never do that, my friend, “This is the time”. It’s time to come back home. It’s time to draw near to your God. It’s time to prepare yourself to meet your God. It’s time to invest for eternity. It’s time to serve your living God. Jesus is coming soon! “9 People everywhere are telling about the way you accepted us when we were there with you. They tell how you stopped worshiping idols and began serving the living and true God. 10 And you wait for God’s Son, whom God raised from the dead, to come from heaven. He is Jesus, who saves us from God’s angry judgment that is sure to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)