Function of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

Before us is the subject of Shepherds … Servants … Saints

1Ti 3:1 This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being [found] blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

As a young Christian reading this you may think this chapter has little relevance for you.
However the relevance of this Chapter is to communicate the tremendous responsibility borne by the leaders and it should get you to want to pray for them in seeking for God’s help and preservation of them.

We are considering here the authority and the functioning in the House of God.
We have already mentioned previously that one of the things that mark the house of God is – ORDER.
Order requires leadership.
And so Paul is giving Timothy instruction as to the character of leaders.
Verses 1-7 are for those who would lead or shepherd the assembly.
Deacon work is not just about counting money and arranging chairs.
Deacon work involves anyone who represents God publically for the assembly.
Deacon work is teaching the Word of God, Preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday school …
All this carries the idea of public service of God for His assembly.
So verses 1-8 describe deacon work.

Verses 14 and 15 broaden the topic: Paul speaks here on how one must behave or ought to behave in the house of God.
So consider verses 1-7 and consider the requirements of men who lead God’s assembly.
The first and the most important qualification is found in verse 1.
It is a man in whose heart God has put the care of His people in the assembly.
Unfortunately the Authorized Version has used the word ‘office.’
That word does not appear in the original.
It is not an office but a work that a man desires to do for God.
It is a hard work that he undertakes for God, and the Spirit of God says it is a good work to do.
It is going to be sacrifice; it is going to be criticism.
When all is going well the saint s will praise God for His blessings.
But when things get bad, it will all be the fault of the overseer.
It is not a popularity contest. It is a difficult work done for God and love for His people.

In verse 2 a bishop must be blameless.
Some young believers may sit back and say I am not going to recognize the overseer as he does not measure up to the standard as stated here.
This verse was not given to you to criticize the overseer.
This list was given to leaders as a standard that they should seek to keep.

Now there are times when there are men who want to care for the people of God and for one reason or another they may feel that they do not measure up in these areas.
So now we face the question – Does this disqualify them?
The word ‘MUST’ is used several times in this chapter.
It is used relative to the deacon and in verse 15 it is used relative to every believer.
So if you cannot lead because you are weak in one of these areas, then you cannot be a deacon, and then it also means that you cannot be in the assembly as you are weak in one of these areas as mentioned in the epistle.
I am NOT lowering God’s Standard.
What I am saying is that what we have in this epistle is for each believer and deacon to strive to be holy to THIS Standard.
We cannot each just sit back and say no one is perfect.
In which case then no one can be a leader and then you are left with a:
House with NO ORDER, a Flock with no Shepherd and a Company that has no leadership.
And this is NEVER God’s intention.

A bishop must be without reproach and all that follows is an explanation of what it means to be blameless.
There are many ways of dividing these qualifications.
There are traits of character.
There is the training you get in your home.
There is the test of time – he is not a novice.
There is the testimony that he bears before the world.

So taking just a few of these verses as there is not enough time …
A bishop must be the husband of one wife – literally a one woman man.
He must have a purity of affection for his wife.
Likewise he is to have a purity of affection for the Lord he serves.
He does not need to be married and if married he must have the purity of affection for his wife.
There is no teaching in Scripture that if his wife passes away he cannot remarry.
That would be going beyond the Word of God.

The bishop is given to hospitality. Hospitality marks the people of God.
The man who seeks to lead keeps his home open.
Hospitality never depends on the size of your home, but the size of your heart.
So opening your home and your heart to the people of God is what hospitality is all about.
Notice now that hospitality is linked with being apt to teach.
Much of the teaching done by leaders is not done formally like this but in their homes.
In their homes the Word of God is opened and it is discussed.
This ‘apt to teach’ does not mean he has the ability to stand and teach the Word of God publically, but it is speaking of a man who opens the Word of God with believers privately and individually.

Verse 4 reminds us of the need of order in his house:
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

If he is unable to maintain order in his own house how can he maintain order in the house of God?
Also – it is NOT the thought that his children must be saved.
Titus 1:6 speaks of having faithful children – children faithful to their parents.
This is NOT in terms of being saved.
A person is never held responsible for saving their children.
However, by maintaining a house in order, parents make it possible for their children to see their need of Christ and to come to Christ.

Note verse 5
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Older brethren know that this expression ‘take care’ is found in only one other place.
And the place where it is found, it has tremendous meaning of what it means to be a shepherd among the people of God.
It is found in Luke chapter 10. It is in the story of the Samaritan.
When the Samaritan found the wounded man he cared for him, then took him to an inn and left him with the innkeeper giving him instructions to “take care of him’.
And so taking care of assembly is same as taking care of the man who was left half dead and taken to an inn to be taken care of.
It means meeting all the needs of the people of God.

Notice now verse 6 and the need for the test of time:
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
The bishop is not a novice newly saved. He has been proved over time.

His testimony before the world is important:
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
No one in society should be able to raise or substantiate a claim of wrong doing against him.

Now we look at requirements of overseers.
Think now of recognizing this issue of overseers:
First of all it is always in the plural.
The only time it appears in the singular is when it is talking of the requirements of an overseer.
Whenever we see an assembly functioning, there is always a plurality of elders.
When Paul went to Jerusalem, he went with the elders.
Paul called for the elders at the church at Ephesus.
Peter wrote to the elders who are among you.
This is the wisdom of God in giving the plurality of overseers.
It is for the purpose of balancing each other.
Some men are very hesitant and slow.
Some men are all heart and all feeling.
Some men are all brain and thinking.
(Many women now will be thinking … men don’t think.)
However there is a balance made here as many men seek to lead the assembly.
No one person can meet the needs and relate to all the believers in the assembly.
Scripture knows nothing of one elder. Not even of a leading elder.
And so we have elders in the plural.

Now for young believers … there are 5 words used for describing the SAME person.
We read of elder, overseer or bishop, shepherds, your guides, rulers or leaders.
Let me show you that they are all one and the SAME person.
In Acts 20, Paul called for the elders at the church at Ephesus.
And then he said – feed or shepherd the church of God whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseer.
So elders were shepherds or overseers.
Titus speaks of appointing elders in every city.
And an overseer must be blameless.
And Peter in chapter 5 speaks of the elders among you to feed or shepherds the flock of God taking the oversight.
So why does the Spirit use different words to describe the SAME man?

  • When you look at elder – you are looking at his worth.
  • When you look at overseer – you are looking at his work.
  • When you look at shepherd – you are looking at his watchfulness.
  • When you look at guide – you are looking at his walk.
  • When you are looking at leaders – you are looking at their wisdom.
  • When you think of elders – you think of their maturity of life.
  • When you think of overseers – you think of their manner in which they labor.
  • When you think of shepherds – you think of their motive and love for their sheep.
  • When you think of guides – you think of their method in which they lead the people of God.
  • When you think of leaders – you think of their wisdom, the means by which you learn from them.

Put all these together and you begin to see the guiding and care of the flock of God.

What are the responsibilities of these men?
This is not to give rise to criticize and say they are not measuring up.
This is for you to pray for them that they have the wisdom and the ability to discharge God’s requirements.
In 1 Peter chapter 5, Peter commands the elders to feed the flock of God.
So this is the first and most important responsibility of the leaders.
When the Lord Jesus took His disciples fishing, He fed them.

Being a leader is not being a detective to look for what is wrong.
Neither is it being a police man to punish everyone.
Nor is it being a General – ordering everyone around like in an army.

The first responsibility of a leader is to feed the flock.
When sheep are fed they are very content.
Remember Psalms 23?
Sheep are brought to pastures of tender grass.
And the shepherd leads them besides quiet waters.
Sheep do like troubled waters.
And when we allow trouble in the assembly, sheep begin to starve.
So it is very important that leaders feed the people of God.
It means I teach or I bring others to teach the Word of God.
So providing food is the first responsibility.

Paul writes of being vigilant for wolves that would come.
He tells of men coming in from without and he speaks of men rising up from within.
So leaders must be vigilant to protect the assembly and encourage fruit from individual believers.
They should maintain close relationships and know the needs of believers to help them.
They need perception to see their needs …to praise and encourage them as they take steps.
God is easily pleased but hard to satisfy.

An everyday illustration to explain this statement of fact:
When you have a child of close to a year of age, you are waiting for him to take his first steps.
You have your camera and recorder all ready for that moment.
And you are thrilled at those first steps that your child takes.
But this is NOT want you want for your child for the rest of his life. You have higher goals for him.
And then you have the mother all upset while the child is climbing and running around.
God is pleased with at the first steps in our Christian life.
But He is not satisfied if those first steps are our final goal.
And so it goes too for those who encourage the people of God that they should be pleased with the first steps a new Christian takes and then to encourage them to take the next steps toward maturity.
So leaders provide food, encourage fruit, and guide the flock.

How do overseers guide the flock?
They guide by example.
I have to ask myself an important question.
If every believer was as spiritual as I am, how spiritual would the assembly be?
Leaders set The Standard.
Thank God there are believers who rise above us.
But I have no right to expect people to rise above the level we set.
Another important responsibility of the bishop is to recover those who have fallen.
Shepherds do not wait for sheep to come back; they go out and look for the lost sheep.
Sheep by nature do not return on their own.
One of the greatest condemnations God has for leaders is found in Ezekiel chapter 34.
They did not recover that which was driven away.
God expects shepherds to seek those who have gone astray and bring them back.

Recall Luke chapter 15. We read of the Good Shepherd here.
He went after the lost sheep and returned only when He found it.

In Matthew chapter 18 too, we find a shepherd searching for a lost sheep.
But it does not say he searched till he found the sheep.
Matthew 18 is different from Luke chapter 15.
This is very telling and it is solemn.
Luke 15 – is seeking for the sinner.
Matthew 18 – is seeking a straying brother.
It suggests that it is easier to see a sinner saved than save one who has fallen restored.

There are many occasions when the Jews criticized the Lord Jesus for doing things on the Sabbath.
And He would answer them in a similar way.
In Luke chapter 14 He spoke of a man who owned a donkey and it fell into a pit.
And then He spoke of pulling out the donkey from the pit.
In Matthew 12 He speaks of a sheep fallen into a pit.
And here the sheep is LIFTED out of the pit.
Lifting the sheep out of the pit required the shepherd getting very close to the sheep.
The shepherd felt the weight of lifting the sheep out of the pit.
So God expects us to be interested in those who have fallen.

There is one other responsibility placed on me:
I am not just to provide for food and look out for wolves … encourage fruit, guide the flock and recover the lost … I am also to look to the future.
A leader who does not plan for his absence is not a good leader.
A leader is to look into the future for the care of the people of God after his absence.

Psalms 40 reminds us of the Perfect Shepherd.
He gathers His lambs in His arms.
And He gently leads those with young.
And so I must seek to emulate the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Relationship among shepherds:
First question – Who should shepherd the shepherds?
There is no leader that is above the Word of God.
And so each shepherd is accountable to the other.
Shepherds are not only accountable to each other but are to be also mutually respectful to each other appreciating each other’s strengths that need to come together to help the assembly.

There needs to be unity among the shepherds.
It is not a matter of majority rule – that evaluates by vote to get to do what you want to do.
You may say you have scripture for that as Acts 15 teaches that.
“It pleased everyone and the Holy Spirit and they made a decision”
A divided leadership will cause a divided assembly – So unity and harmony is critical to the well being of the assembly.
So when differences arise there need to be a time of pray and a waiting upon God.

Let me close by turning to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 – The Reality of Leadership:
Look at verses 12-15 and know how difficult this can be, so you can pray for your leaders:

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Verses 12-13 are your responsibility to pray for the overseers.
1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

And verses 14-15 are their responsibility:
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Notice the different kinds of problems among the people of God.
There are saints that are distressed.
Some are weak and faint hearted who give up easily and get discouraged.
Earlier in chapter 2 Paul was like a nursing mother to them.
There are believers who need long term nursing care needing support for most of their Christian life.
It is the responsibility of leaders and it is very difficult to care for these and not to get discouraged
Then there are the difficult ones – unruly and always causing problems.
These have to be admonished.
In chapter 2 of this epistle Paul was not just a nursing mother but a father too.
So there is the need for wisdom.
If you are a stern father to the one who needs nursing care, you have destroyed that believer.
And if on the other hand you are a comforting mother to someone who is fighting, you can see where
that will lead to.
So there is a need for great wisdom and discernment on the part of the leader for there are some saints that have fallen and some who are weak and faint hearted, others who need much patience and yet others who will at times do evil.
So it is little wonder that at the beginning of this chapter the Spirit of God says that it is a GOOD WORK!
But if God has not put it in your heart – DON’T TRY IT, as you will be tested as to if you are doing it for yourself or for God.
But Peter reminds us that for all the grief and difficulty you have to undergo, there IS compensation.
To the shepherd is promised a crown of glory.
So the Lord help both – those who have this responsibility and those who aspire to have the responsibility.

Fellowship of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

Rom 12:9 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Rom 12:10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

*** *** ***
1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
1Co 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

*** *** ***
1Co 11:17 Now in this that I declare [unto you] I praise [you] not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
1Co 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, [this] is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

*** *** ***
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
*** *** ***

Subject of this meeting is:
(7) Fellowship – Its Blessings and its Burdens

We read in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that there are 2 differences in the way Paul writes of the breaking of bread.
In chapter 10 Paul mentions the cup before the bread and notice, the bread stands for two things and not one.
The reason he has reversed the order is because he is not talking of what we do at the Lord’s Supper, but the results of what we have done at the Lord’s Supper.
And so the cup and the blood that is the basis of everything we do, is mentioned first.

The partaking of bread too has two meanings.
First of all it is my participation of what Christ has done at Calvary.
And second, as we each partake, we are together confessing that we are One Body and One Fellowship.

Now if we were just preaching the Lord’s Supper we would make this distinction between chapters 10 and 11.
Chapter 10 tells me when I am part taking the Lord’s Supper; it should control what I do when I am not here.
Chapter 11 tells me when I am partaking the Lord’s Supper how I should act when I am here.

And so in Chapter 10 the problem was other fellowships that they were going to, that was contrary to the Word of God.
And so when they were partaking of the Lord’s Supper and breaking bread, they could not belong to two fellowships at one time. It shows how inconsistent it is to go to the table of idols and also to the Lord’s Table.
And so chapter 10 controls what I do when I am not here.

But chapter 11 deals on how they were behaving when they were there:
Putting others to shame and despising the assembly.
So breaking the bread also controls our behavior towards others.

Now the misunderstanding of this passage:
1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
Some believers read this and think they are not worthy to part take the Lord’s Supper as they are not living as they ought to, or that they had a bad week and therefore not worthy.

I do not part take of the Lord’s Supper because I am worthy.
I part take because He is worthy.
What Paul is saying and is referring to here is, part taking of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner.
They were not realizing what they were doing.
So Paul was warning them of the danger of viewing it as just another meal.

So, does it mean stay home? No.
Let him examine himself and so let him eat and drink of that cup.
None of us are worthy. But He is worthy.
And He deserves my confession and proclamation of His death till He come.

But others may say – we don’t get along, and so we cannot part take of the Lord’s Supper.
And so if I do part take I am hypocritical.
This is a poor excuse and unbalanced.

The Lord Jesus has told you what to do.
If you bring your gift to the altar and worship and then remember something against your brother, then first be reconciled with your brother, then come and worship.
So you are responsible to go and try to be reconciled.
But if he will not be reconciled, that does not matter.
You have gone with a forgiving spirit and you are freed of the burden of the problem.
So we cannot sit back and say I cannot get along with that brother.

In some parts of the world it is tragic.
Should a brother come into an assembly where there is someone who neither gets along with that brother and the assembly that he comes from … and although the over seers do receive him and read out the letter of commendation, that brother who that does not like the visiting brother will not part take of the Lord’s Supper.
Now what is this brother saying in the light of 1 Corinthians 10?
He is saying – I have no part in the death of Christ, and I am no longer in this assembly.
He has essentially put himself out of fellowship.
It is a tremendously serious thing to refuse to take the emblems
You will not find a single Scripture to support disciplining yourself with another brother.
Discipline is always an assembly matter.
It is never what I decide to do with another brother.
If the assembly has received the brother I do not like, I should submit to his acceptance into the assembly fellowship.
I may privately express my concerns, but it should never evolve into a major issue in the assembly.
So the Breaking of bread has tremendous implications for our lives.
Paul told us we declare and proclaim the Lord’s death and if you refuse to part take of the emblems, you are saying that the Lord’s death means nothing to me.
So you can see the seriousness and the solemnity of what we are doing at the Lord’s Supper.

Burdens and Obligations of Fellowship:
• It speaks of a fervent consecration to Christ.
• A full commitment to the gathering of the assembly.
• A flawless testimony in godliness
• A fragrant life of growth.

It is growth that I want to speak of now.
We can speak of growth in many different spheres.
Certainly there must be growth in our appreciation of Christ.
Recall the instructions given in the meal offering in Leviticus chapter 2?
When the offering was brought, he took a handful and put it on the altar for God.
The question is: Did God fit as much as his hand could hold?
Is my hand growing every year so I have more to give to Christ?

There should be growth in my Christ likeness too.
You remember the story of Hannah and Samuel?
Every year Hannah went to visit Samuel and every year she made a new coat for him.
She expected growth in her son every year.
So it is not just my hand growing, but am I growing more in Christ likeness?

Now our Greatest Need:
I don’t want to minimize growth in my appreciation of Christ likeness.
I don’t want to minimize growth to be more like Christ.
But I want to talk of my growth in my relationship with other believers.
You may not think this as an important subject, but problems that arise in assemblies rarely arise over doctrine but they arise mostly in the problem of getting along with each other.
The Word of God is so crystal clear in how we are to treat each other, and we can hold on to such truth for the rest of the Word of God and fail to carry out what is definite.

There are 4 things I want to leave with you before I leave Singapore:
1. Finding beauty in other believers
2. Fostering the good and the blessing of other believers
3. A forbearing in blemishes of other believers
4. And the most difficult of all – Forgiving the bruises of believers.
These are the four things we fail in as believers in carrying them out.

1 – Finding beauty in other believers:
It means looking for Christ likeness in other believers and looking for things in them that God finds pleasure in.
But then you may say: “But you don’t know them! And I can’t see anything in them!”
There are 2 possibilities for this:
1. Most likely, there is something wrong with you.
2.There maybe something wrong with them, but most likely the beam is in your own eye.
Remember, God finds something to appreciate in every believer.
They may have a weakness, but God appreciates them, and so I should strive to find that in other believers. It may not be easy … and it might mean having to get closer to them to begin to appreciate them.
So if I look for Christ instead of all the defects, it will help the assembly.

Fostering the Blessings of others:
Come to Romans chapter 12 to discover how many times Paul writes “one another … one another?”
Well over 30 times!
Paul expects Christianity to be lived in community together.
He expects us to be a blessing to one another.
Notice verses 9 and 10 – First of all in the practice of love: Actually in the compass of these two verses, he uses three different words to describe love and one is not superior to the other.
Rom 12:9 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Rom 12:10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

They are all different and each of them has their place.
Agape – Is the causeless and unconditional love.
Brotherly Love – Philadelphia Love
Kindly Affection – Family Love
We are reminded that we have an obligation to love each other and to love in every way possible.
• I love you for no other reason than the command to love you.
• I love you because you are my brother
• I love you because I find things in you that in the family we can enjoy together.
And so let your love be without hypocrisy or pretense.
1 Corinthians 13 is a fitting commentary on the way we should love.
Love covers faults and failings
(Here it is not talking of the sins that the assembly needs to deal with)
But rather we do not publicize to the unsaved the little inconsistencies of the believers.
Love always credits others with the best motives.
Love always expects change.
Love always perseveres and continues to seek what is lost.
Have you ever heard a believer saying I am leaving the assembly because you do not love me?
What is wrong with that statement?
Nowhere in the Bible do we find that I am to look for love from you.
The Bible commands me to love you.
So if I am complaining you do not love me, I am just thinking of MYSELF.
My response is to love without conditions, and to love without ceasing and to persevere in that love.

Some may ask – what it means to credit others with the best motive?
So often we assume that people love for the wrong reason.
And then we think we are so discerning because we have detected a wrong motive for what they are doing.
Paul says love not only bears all things but believes the best of others.

I have 60 years of practice of doing that exact thing.
When something goes wrong, I always make it seem not so bad.
I can always make it seem less bad.
So Paul says … instead of thinking this way for yourself, THIS is the way you should think of other believes.
So the First Command and this is not a suggestion…
THIS is a Command by the Holy Spirit and Paul to LOVE.

The Second is the Priority of others.
In verse 10 you find ‘ preferring one another’.
Rom 12:10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
This means to outdo another person in order to advance them.
The idea is no competition or rivalry or manipulation so that I can have an important place.
So it is my responsibility to help every believer to be a Christian.
It is especially my responsibility in the assembly. I am to foster the good in others.

THIS is what it means in Philippians chapter 2:
The Lord Jesus esteemed others better than Himself.
This does not mean HE thought I was a better person than He was, because that would be false.
To esteem others better than ourselves is to put the welfare of others before my own welfare.
The Lord Jesus did this to preserve us form going to hell. He took our punishment at Calvary.
That’s how far the Lord Jesus went in honoring me ahead of Himself.
And so you should be marked by this SAME PRINCIPLE of putting others ahead of yourself.

In Verse 11 ….
Our Authorized Version poorly translates:
Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

It is not slothfulness rather being diligent and burning hot in my spirit in serving the Lord.
So in my diligence I am not slothful – it is the measure in which I do it.
Fervent in spirit – is the manner in which I do it.
And Serving the Lord is the motive by which I do it.
If YOU serve Christians you burnout and get discouraged.
But if you serve the Lord, He directs you to serve His people and He gives you the grace.

The Lord Jesus was a bond slave.
But He never was a bond slave of men.
He was a Servant of Jehovah, and as He served Jehovah, He met the needs of men.
So here we are reminded to serve the Lord and as we serve Him, we will serve His people.
Because if you try to put verses 9 and 10 into practice, you will get very little appreciation and if you are not serving the Lord, you will give up quickly.
So we are reminded of the persistence that is needed.

Now ask a practical question:
When was the last time you thought of someone in the assembly in how I can help that Christian?
Or how can I advance them in some way?
The writer of Hebrews used a word to describe this – Consider one another to provoke them to good works.
The word he uses for ‘consider’ is to study someone … to try to understand what would be a help to them. And so we need to be persistent and not give up easily.

But then there is also Perception that is needed:
Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
: 12 is all about pray and persistence.
:13 is about sympathy of material needs
:14 is about spiritual needs
:15 is about emotional needs
So we need to be available to believers to meet all the above things.
If all we do is preach truth and never love this truth, we are failing to carry out the full truth of God.
We must learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.
We need to know when to rejoice and when to weep.

In Galatians Chapter 6 we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

There are some believers who bear tremendous burdens in life.
They are not burdens of a day or a week or even a year, but the burden of a lifetime.
And we need to be there to bear them.
But if you are NOT praying and NOT studying, please DO NOT go to comfort them.

There were 3 men with good intentions who went to comfort Job.
They were very wise. For 7 days they said nothing.
The problem started when they opened their mouths.
If you don’t understand people do not try to comfort them, because these men who came to comfort Job when they were finally done with their talking, God told them – You have NOT spoken a single thing that is right about Me!
The many things that they said were true.
But it had nothing to do with Job.
So don’t just quote Scripture and think there are easy answers.
It is far better sometimes to weep with them same as like Ezekiel did.
He sat with the captives.
It is sometimes better to comfort them by just your presence.

Forbearing for Blemishes:
Both – Ephesians chapter 4 and Colossians Chapter 3 remind us of forbearing in love.
So the beginning of verse 12 will help us differentiate between ‘infirmities’ and ‘sin’.
Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

They are little things about our personality that may bother someone else.
Example– the way a person coughs or may be the shaking of a leg that may be distracting or just being fidgety …
Spirit of God says, learn to forbear them.

Below are some things to keep in mind to help us learn to forbear:
1 They are elect:
God has chosen them. They are God’s nobility.
They are holy in God’s sight and He loves them and you are instead all occupied with the little things.
So you be careful of what you do of someone God loves.
It is our responsibility to see them in that light.
Learn to have mercy. We tend to be quick and hard on people.
Be merciful, humble and meek. This is power under control.

So what does all this mean?
First of all it means respecting others and valuing them as fellow-heirs of eternal life.
Appreciate the beauty of Christ in them while also recognizing the differences in personality in the way God has created each one of us.
None of us are the same.
If everyone in the assembly was like you would there be anyone you would not be able to get along with?
You probably would.
God made some people shy, others bold …Some always looking sad while others are always joking.
There are a multitude of personalities and we must learn to live with each other.
And so we must learn to live with each other in our differences that are not sin but just personality traits.
We need to learn to forbear by recognizing our differences and restraining ourselves.

The Lord Jesus taught His disciples for three and a half years.
How many times did He rebuke them during His teaching ministry of three and a half years with them?
Remember, the Lord Jesus is the perfect man, with no beam in His own eye.
He had perfect discernment to see into hearts and actions that we could not.
Yet in his three and a half years He rebukes:
• Peter “Get thee behind me Satan”
• James and John who wanted to call down fire from heaven with:
“You do not know what manner of spirit you are.”
• And in the Resurrection in Mark 16, He unbraided his disciples for their unbelief.
So in the three and half years of teaching them, the Lord Jesus rebuked them 3 times.
Most of us do it 3 times a week.
Learn the lesson from the Lord Jesus. He was very slow to rebuke.
Does it mean He overlooked what was wrong?
He was constantly teaching them and moving them forward.
He did it by grace. He never had a whip for His disciples.
So we need to learn to restrain all out displeasure.

On Forgiving:
This is NOT about infirmities and blemishes … But we are reminded that if any has a complaint …
This is about bruises.
It is sad to confess that believers do bruise each other at times in ungracious actions and hurtful words.
So what do we do?
What is the meaning of Forgiveness?
First of all forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
We do not have the ability to forget.
But this is what it says about God:
“Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
So while we cannot forget, we can choose not to remember.

What is the difference?
The difference is that we do not allow what had happened to affect how I look at that believer today.
But on the other hand, I do not nurture the hurts that I feel.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love thinks no evil.
What it means is that love takes no thought of the evil done to itself.
The expression we use in the west is that love does not keep score.
If you got a goal … just wait till it is my turn to kick. I will get even when I get a chance.
Believers are not to keep score of who said what … and when.
Forgiveness means all that has not happened!

What is the manner in which we forgive?
The Lord Jesus explains in the parable of the debtor.
He frankly forgave them both.
That means that there was a total clearing.

Now someone may say … But they have not apologized.
I should always have a forgiving spirit – regardless.
I should be willing to go and confess my part of the problem and ask for forgiveness.
It is never 100% one person’s fault and zero the other person.
Even if it starts out with one person, the response of the other person often aggravates the problem.
So you will never lose by taking ownership for your part of the problem.

But then, should he not come to me?
Listen to the Word of God. The Lord Jesus said:
“If you come to the altar with your gift, and you remember that your brother has something against you – YOU GO TO HIM.
In this case, I have done something wrong to my brother and so I GO TO HIM.

Now what about Matthew 18?
My brother has done something wrong to me. And now what do I do?
So, either way I GO TO HIM.
The one who did it and the one who was hurt by it, BOTH obey the Word of God.
And both are ‘gone’ – This is God’s plan …that both seek forgiveness.

There is a principle found in the Word of God that you have to face.
Spiritual men ALWAYS took the lead to seek reconciliation.
• Abraham with Lot
• David with Saul
• The Lord Jesus with Judas
And so if I sit back and say they must come to me, I am saying I am NOT spiritual.
Spiritual men want to make things right.
And so the manner of forgiveness is – FRANKLY AND FULLY.

The Motive of Forgiveness?
Matthew 18 is about – Have I gained my brother?
Do I value him as a fellow believer?
Do I value his fellowship?

Now, there is something greater involved.
In Ephesians 4 we read:
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It means that we rise to our highest spiritual level when we forgive another person.
We are acting as God acted towards us.
So please don’t say – you don’t know what he did to me or said to me.
Was it MORE than what you did to God?
So the STANDARD is:
As God did for Christ sake, forgive you.

And remember the Ministry of forgiveness is COSTLY.
It cost God everything to forgive you.
You may have to sacrifice something to forgive your brother.
You may not get your rights or a public apology in front of all.
You may lose … but God paid a tremendous price.
I would almost say that a forgiveness that costs nothing is NOT forgiveness.

So we have spoken of:
• Finding the Beauty in others
• A Fostering of Blessings for others.
• A Forgiving of bruising of others
If these things can mark us, most of our Gospel Halls will be full of people we have driven away.
May God Bless and Preserve us.

Fruitfulness of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness.
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

God will bless His Word.
You will notice immediately that chapter 4 presents us with 3 possibilities for ministry for the assembly.
Verses 1-4 tell us about teaching.
Verse 7 talks about empty or useless teaching.
From verses 12 onwards we are told of the edifying that can be done.
So what we want to see is how there can be profit and usefulness in the assembly.
So the mandate for exemplary living is:
That you need to be the right person before you can find the right work for God.

When the Lord Jesus called His disciples He said “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
So for believers, especially for young believers who want to be helpers in the assembly – the first thing to do is to ‘Follow Christ.’
And the next thing we will have to look at is the example he will have to be.
We read of the requirement of the deacon who serves in a public way in the assembly that he must be the husband of one wife.
Now, all of us think that we are the best husbands in the world.
And this is what I have learnt in my 46 years of being married …
Back in our 25th anniversary, I made a big mistake in asking my wife what I could do to make our marriage better.
I thought she would say I was the perfect husband and there was nothing I had to do.
However, an hour later after having told me what I can do better the ambulance had to be called to take me to hospital.

We as husbands are usually good at providing material needs for our families.
We may also be fairly good at leadership and giving directions.
But I learnt that I was failing in giving the love and warmth that a wife needs to feel.
So since those 21 years that have gone by I hope I have got better.
But I guarantee that if we make it to 50, I will ask no more questions.

Paul tells Timothy to be an example to the believers.
It is your character that gives weight to your ministry.
Notice that there are some things that work outward while others work inward.
Timothy was to be an example to the believers in how he acted and in what he said.
Then there were inward qualities that would characterize his life.
He was to have love, faith and purity.

Speaking of just one quality for lack of time – speaking of just faith …
When we were young we had the idea that faith was for the preacher and the missionary to live on.
However, everyone who serves God must know the principles of faith.
Faith does not mean that I do not know where my next meal is coming from or where my next pay cheque is coming from.
Faith means I depend on the promises of the Word of God in my service … to serve with nothing before me but pleasing God.
This is serving God by faith.
It means being faithful to the Word of God without seeing results.
This is serving God by faith.
And so Timothy’s service to God was to be marked by this kind of faith.
So we have now the mandate in verse 12 that Timothy was to be an example to the believers of what a Christian ought to be.

Now speaking to young believers – of the means of finding a place of usefulness in God’s assembly.
Many young Christians spend much time worrying and praying in wanting to discover their gift.
Could I suggest a different approach?
Let me first of all mention the need for us to first acknowledge that whatever I can do comes from God.
It is NOT a matter of natural talent.
It is NOT a matter of what I want to do.
But rather am I looking to God to direct me and use me with whatever He has enabled me to do.

There is a difference between natural ability and gift.
I believe God gives every human being certain abilities.
He is doing that with a view to adding a gift to it.
The ability itself is not enough to serve God.
A man may be eloquent but that does not fit him to be a teacher.
A man may have great management skills but that does not fit him to be a shepherd
So what we are reminded is that, God gives gift to ability.
And in Romans chapter 12, we learn that God now gives Grace to gift, and gift to ability.
So all our natural ability we owe to God.
All our spiritual gift too we owe to God.
And the grace that comes to use the ability, we owe to God.
Therefore we cast all our crowns at His feet.
Anything we have done or we do is only because of the grace of God given to us.

Second Principle:
What needs to be done in the assembly where I am found?
I can either complain or I can contribute.
I can either add to the problem or I can become part of the solution.
So you complain meetings are slow and boring.
So do I come exercised for the meetings?
And then you complain Bible readings are not relevant.
Do I come with something to contribute … maybe even a good question?
And you complain that Gospel meeting is small?
Do you yourself think of bringing people to meetings?

If God has given you insight to see a problem, it is not for you to complain about it, but rather that you exercise yourself in helping to find a solution?
We all like to be consultants, to give advice.
However God is looking for commitment – for people who want to work and help in the assembly.

Third Principle:
Am I available to meet that need?
Am I so tied up with my work that I do not have time to serve God?
I need to be available to serve God from where I am.
If you cannot serve right now from where you are, it is unlikely that you will ever serve God anywhere else.

People ask me now that I am retired if anything has changed.
Most people do not do a lot of changing after retirement.
If you have not had time for spiritual things before retirement, then rarely will you find time for them in later years.
The entire bent of your life is framed in your early years.
The reason why preachers at Conferences address young people is very obvious … it is because as you get older entering into your 40s and 50s, it is very difficult to change habits.
So the pattern of your life in the service of God is frequently developed in your teen years and in your 20s.

Be aware if God puts a burden in your heart.
The next thing for you to do is to be active in it and to do it.
Think of the man named John; He stood by the cross of the Lord Jesus.
Then the Lord Jesus looked down and saw His mother, and He said to her “Woman behold thy son”
And then turning next to John He said “Behold thy mother”
Scripture very definitely says of John – From that hour he took her into his own home – John 19:27.
John could have so easily said but I have the gospel to write … the epistles … the Book of Revelation …
But take home a widow? That is not big enough!
John displayed no hesitation or delay.
John was available and he acted on what he was called to do immediately.
Perhaps committed into your hands is the teaching of a few children.
Or maybe the service God has for you is to bring in unsaved friends.
There is not any minor service for God.

Notice in the story of Solomon:
He had a vision and God asked him what he wanted.
Solomon responded by asking God for wisdom to guide so great a people.
So God gave him wisdom.
What was the first place Solomon exercised his wisdom?
It was not in an international crisis or during a national disaster or in balancing the budget.
His wisdom was displayed in a controversy between two harlots … a dead baby and a living baby!
Most of us would have thought that this was too unworthy a place for the display of my wisdom.
Yet the gift that God gave him he was willing to use it in a very small place to start off.

Whatever God gives you to do, do it in the best of your ability.
You may look back from eternity one day to discover that the small thing was really the BIG thing in your life.
Then think of those people who appear in Scripture in just a verse of two and then they just vanish away never to be mentioned again.
Joseph of Arimathae is one such person.
He comes along from nowhere to bury the Lord Jesus and then just disappears from the scene.
That probably was the reason for his birth.
You don’t know the value of the little service you do for God.
God has no minor roles for anyone to play … and on top of that if you do what God has called you to do faithfully, you will get as great a reward as someone who had a great gift.
Reward is not based on size or success but on faithfulness.
So if you are faithful with your small gift, God will honor you in the same way He will honor the one with a big gift.
So be aware of need and be available to meet that need and be active in that need.
Be approachable by others as you serve.
Be open to all brothers and sisters who come along to help and guide you, and then be appreciative that you have the opportunity of serving.
Remember that God needs none of us.
We have a great privilege and honor if we have a little part in the work of God.

Let me give you an example from Scripture as to what his means:
Remember Ruth when with Naomi she came back from Moab?
God had great plans in store for her.
However, she did not know where her road was leading her to.
She began just by being aware that there was a need.
The need was to eat. And then she had the responsibility of her mother-in-law.
So she began by being aware and she was responsible.
Then she went and she was active.
She was approachable by Boaz and the others in the field.
And so by the time the story is done, she moves from the field to famine and from the famine to the fields of Boaz and into the future where God wanted her to be.
So finding a place of usefulness is all about being available, being aware and active in whatever place God places you in.

1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

What the above verses tell us of the motivation for the exercise of the gift.
Paul reminds Timothy of his public responsibility in the reading of the Word of God.
The reading here is not of Timothy’s day by day private reading of the Word of God, but the reading of the Word of God to the people of God.
He is to seek to give attendance to the Word of God as a priority for the Assembly of God.
It is to be marked by Exhortation and Doctrine – one is the teaching of ‘Why’ and the other is the teaching of ‘What’ and to be responsible for both.

One of the best illustrations of the teaching of the Word of God is found in the book of Nehemiah.
Neh 8:8 distinctly tells us that he was reading out of the book of the law and caused the people to understand the words.
THIS is the responsibility of the man who stands to minister the Word of God to God’s people.

1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
The verse above is Timothy’s personal responsibility.
He is NOT to neglect the gift given to him. He is to seek to stir it up.
So it is possible for a believer to have a service for God and not fulfill it.
And so it is possible for me to neglect my sphere of usefulness.

You recall the sad days back in Egypt that you read in Exodus chapter 1.
There were 3 things that marked the Children of Israel under Pharaoh.
There was Burden … there was Barrenness … there was Bondage.
When Egypt could not kill the male Jewish babies, they made life miserable for them making them serve under cruel bondage.
Satan cannot ‘unsave’ Christians.
But he can do all he can to keep you from growing to stop you from being useful for God.
It may be long hours at work or increasing responsibly and demand on your time.
Or it could be a hobby to get involved in.
And you are spending more time on yourself than helping the people of God.
Distractions and detours in other areas result in tragic neglect of your usefulness to God.

Peter was detoured by Satan … but he was eventually restored.
John Mark got discouraged and did not accompany Paul, possibly because he was anxious not wanting to go into Gentile territory.
But he too was restored.
But Demas loved this present age. He was a man who was commended by Paul and who had accompanied him previously but now had deserted Paul.
So we see here both Peter and John Mark who got side-tracked by Satan had their usefulness nullified temporarily but were eventually restored.
And in the case of Demas we learn that not all who get away from God get restored.

One of the more puzzling lives in Scripture we find is the life that of Samson.
Samson was a man who had a unique and supernatural gift.
But most of the time he used it for his own necessities.
Three times he was turned aside from what he saw.
First he saw a woman …Then he saw a harlot … And then yet again he saw another woman.
As a result much of his usefulness was nullified by his behavior.
And so it is puzzling to find his name listed in the 11th Chapter of Hebrews where all the heroes of faith are mentioned.
So it must probably be that Samson was a very ordinary looking man.
He probably did not have those bulging biceps or look like he would have had steroids for breakfast.
He might have been a very puny little man and hence every time he used his strength, he would have been completely dependent on God.
And this being the case, it would have been good cause for the Philistines to enquire as to where his strength lay as there was no evidence of such strength in his appearance.
Someone once said that one of life’s greatest tragedies is what a man could have been.
Don’t look back at your life with regret.
Don’t think of what I should have been or could have been.
Be what God wants you to be RIGHT NOW.
God does have greater things for you and He will bring you to them.
So Timothy here is exhorted by Paul not to neglect his gift.

Notice now Verses 15-16:

1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Think of the degree of involvement he had to have in what he was doing for God.
He was to meditate on those things.
They were to be in him and he was to be in them.
This is the idea of a man totally immersed in what God wants him to be.
This is a reminder for you that if you are going to be useful to God; it is going to be hard work.
Gift is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
So to develop in usefulness for God – Time, hard work and commitment are the necessary ingredients.
Timothy is reminded of the need to be involved in it, and let it get involved in him and to look forward for God.

See also the display of his growth: That thy profit may appear to all.
The reason for being approachable is a single reason.
A man or woman is a very poor judge of his own gift.
We either over estimate or under estimate our usefulness.
Therefore others will see your growth and usefulness that you have and as a result they will come to either to encourage or discourage you.

Notice the duration in which he is to manifest these things:

1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
This is not referring to the Lord’s coming, but to Paul’s coming.

1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Continue in them … So God intends you to keep at it.
It is so easy to get discouraged, laboring and not seeing any results.
Serving and not seeing any fruit.
And so the tendency is to think is there any value in what I am doing?

There is a proverb that speaks of plowing in winter.
It says that a man who does not plow in winter is not going to eat and drink.
Plowing in winter does not appear to be profitable or useful.
Nothing is grown in winter. But it is something that needs to be done in the light of future fruitfulness.
So it has to be kept at constantly and consistently.
You may spend hours studying the Bible, and end up having only one minute to say something.
But everything that you have gleaned will one day have opportunity to help the people of God if you have plowed in winter.

Reaping a harvest for the future:
I just had an e mail from home.
A girl who attended Sunday school 15 years ago called on the phone. She wanted her husband and her children to come for meetings.
The sister, who taught her, never thought she would ever see her again.
So the need is to keep at what you are doing and not to be discouraged.

Now see how this chapter ends:
Paul tells Timothy:

1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

You may respond by saying – but Timothy was already saved! And so too all in the assembly!
So what really does Paul mean?
In Chapter 1 of this epistle, the Lord Jesus came to save sinners – This is personal salvation.
In Chapter 2 – women were saved by child bearing – this is not the salvation of the soul.
But by the problem Eve got into, by being out of place.
In Philippians Chapter 2 we read: 2
Phi 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
There was a problem in that assembly between 2 sisters.
And this problem had the potential to destroy the assembly.
So Paul exhorts them to resolve the problem and working out your own salvation is what is in view in Philippians.
So coming back to verse16 in our chapter:
It began with evil teaching.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Verse 7 was about empty and useless teaching.
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
And now Paul says what is going to save and preserve the assembly is this kind of teaching and service for God.
So how can I be a blessing in the assembly where God has placed me?
First of all be an example to the believers of what a believer ought to be.
Secondly, find out what God has given you to do and do it to the best of your ability.
It may not be public and visible, or important and significant.
But the salvation of the local testimony depends on every believer putting everything they have into the Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So just to summarize what we have looked at here:

  • Paul has stressed the character of the servant.
  • He has stressed the centrality of the Scriptures.
  • He has stressed the need to cultivate the gift.
  • He has stressed the need of consistency to just keep at it.

If we want to be fruitful in God’s assembly – this is God’s formula.
May God richly bless His Word and raise up believers who will serve and honor Him with their lives.

Fragrance of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

The subject of the chapter above is the Assembly Prayer Meeting.
May God add to the blessings of the public reading of His Word.

This is not about praying is general. This chapter addresses the Assembly Prayer Meeting.
Three things will help to establish that.
Remember Paul is writing with instructions for the Church of God.
And what should happen in the local testimony.

Secondly verse 8 speaks of men everywhere and in every place.
This expression ‘in every place’ occurs 4 times.
It refers to local assemblies.
Remember how Paul begins 1 Corinthians chapter 1?
1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Reason number one – Paul is writing to local churches everywhere about church order.
Reason number two – Paul speaks of everyplace and every local assembly.
Reason number three – Paul refers to sisters being in silence.
This is not speaking of life in general – that women should not speak – while it might have some advantages … but then the earth would move off its axis should this be the case.

So the first thing we establish is that we are looking at the local assembly.
Last night we mentioned the ‘House of God’ conditions.
And when the Lord Jesus went to the Temple He said “Take these things from hence …”
He said My Father’s House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations.

So in this chapter Paul is telling us of things we have to remove.
And he is also telling us that this house will be marked by prayer for all.
Linked to this chapter is also the reference to the Tabernacle.
Recall as you approached the Tabernacle there was a gate.
This gate was wide – it was for all to enter.
And so Paul says to pray for ALL men.

As you pass through the gate you come to the brazen altar.
It reminds us that Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all.

Then you come to the Holy Place and the Altar of Incense.
This speaks of prayer.

Finally you come to the Most Holy Place where God is revealed.
Here God lays His heart bare and we see what He desires.
These pictures give us the background for the chapter that is before us in our study.

Look now what the Spirit of God mandates – What He commands.
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
This is listed FIRST among the many instructions for the local assembly.
So we are reminded of the priority that God places on the assembly prayer meeting.
We tend to give different importance to different meetings.
We might think that the Breaking of Bread is the most important meeting or that the teaching of the word comes next in importance or may be even the gospel meeting …
But the Spirit of God says the importance I WANT to impress upon you is the importance of the assembly prayer meeting. So we are reminded of the importance of the assembly prayer meeting.
But notice now it is not just the priority of the prayer meeting but the variety of prayer described.

Paul uses 4 different expressions:
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

  • When I think of Supplications – I am coming to a God who is Sufficient.
  • Why would one want to come to God and request for something if He cannot give it?
  • When I think of Prayer – I am coming to a God who is Sacred and I come in reverence.
  • When I think of Intercession – I am coming to a God to speak to Him of someone who has a need and I recognize I am speaking to a Sovereign God who can do what I cannot do.
  • When I think of Thankfulness – I am speaking to a God who satisfies.

So when I come with my Supplications, I come conscious that He is a God of Grace.
When I come, thinking of the Greatness of God in prayer, I think of His Glory.
When I come with requests for someone else -I am reminded of His Greatness.
And when I give Thanks – I am reminded of His Goodness.
So that as I pray I am revealing to God and to you what I think of Him.
The more I know of what God is like, the better will I pray.
The smaller my concept of God, the more poverty stricken will my prayer be.
We need to pray intelligently.

When you read about Abraham in Genesis 18, you see here of a man who knew God.
He says –“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Abraham had learnt that God was not only a God of Holiness but that He was also a God of Justice.
He had also learnt that God was a God of Compassion and as a result Abraham learnt how to intercede intelligently.
So the reason I need to read the Bible and learn the Word of God is so that I can pray better.

Now God hears the prayers of the simplest saints.
But I should strive to get to know God better.
So Paul reminds us here of our priority of prayer and the liberty we have in prayer:
That we can pray for all men … for kings and those in authority … for our neighbors and our families.
We never ever have to wonder if it is the will of God to save people.

In :4 we find God’s great desire.
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
So the Spirit of God mandates and commands that pray be made for all men.
Now we have the heart of God motivating us to pray:
Having knowledge of God helps me pray better.
Having knowledge of what is in the heart of God, I learn to pray for what God desires.

This chapter tells us of the unquestioned desires of God.
If it were possible for us to ascend into heaven and peer into the heart of God, we would find that at this very moment we would find the heart of God wanting to bless people with Salvation.

How unlike the heathen deities that people once worshipped.
We are reminded of what it was like in Ephesus when Paul went there in Acts 19.
The crowd rioted because their god Artemis was being dishonored.
These men would spend money on these gods to understand what these gods wanted.
To these men Paul reveals by the Spirit of God not just what our God desires but also His unique Will.

The Heathen were used to many gods and each of these gods had different desires.
One wanted to send rain, another wanted to send destruction.
One was a god of peace; another was a god of war.
Life was all about playing one god against the other god.
Paul says away with all that – because there is only ONE God, He has only ONE desire, so we can know exactly what He desires.
Paul here links the unique Desire of God and the unique Will of God with the Unlimited Work of Christ – That He gave Himself a ransom for all.
Christ could have given no more at Calvary than He already did by the giving of Himself.
And so Paul says in the light of the Unique Will of God and the Unlimited Work of Christ that you can pray for all men.
So here we have the heart of God motivating us in our pray life.

Now we come to :8
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
This verse does not negate closet prayer. Closet pray is important.
If you do not know how to pray at home, you will not know how to pray in the assembly.

In Matthew chapter 6 the Lord Jesus teaches us of secret prayer – go into your closet and shut the door and speak to your Father in secret.
And so there is private prayer and public prayer.
In fact there are 3 types of prayer that comes to mind.

  1. Matthew 6 – Closet prayer
  2. 1 Tim 2:8 – Collective prayer
  3. Crisis prayer of Nehemiah – when something happens and you lift up your heart to God for help and deliverance.

Nehemiah had prayed for 3 months in private, and in the crisis when he prayed God answered his prayer.

But what we have here is the Collective Prayer of the assembly.
Now notice the 2 things that change in verse 8.
When looking at the Will of God, the word in verse 4 – is God’s Desire.
When it comes to verse 8, the word for will is not Desire – but what I Intend to Happen.
This carries the character of a command.
So God says an assembly is to be marked by Collective prayer.

The second thing that changes is the word for men.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul speaks of humanity in general – men and women.
Here in verse 8 the word is for MALES.
So the public expressions of prayer in an assembly are the responsibility of men.

God wants the men to pray – not some men.
The assembly pray meeting should not be left to one or two men.
It should be the exercise of all brothers when they come together

There are two things that will destroy an assembly’s pray meeting – long prayers and long pauses.
Some pray for 15 minutes and then there is a silence of 10 minutes.
Some men pray so long that eyes have to be kept open just to pay attention.
A new believer wanted to pray and was nervous as to what to pray about, and as he was pondering …
Another brother stood up to pray. His prayer coved the whole globe that left little else to pray about.
And so the new believer rose up and prayed “God we do not know what else to pray about as Jim has prayed it all. Amen”

It is good to come to a prayer meeting with one or two real burdens in your heart.
No need to pray for all every time you rise to your feet.
Look at what we pray about here:
We pray for people to be saved
We pray for the prosperity of the gospel.

Now think of the normal assembly prayer meeting.
Then compare our prayer to that of Paul’s prayers in Ephesians …Philippians … Colossians and you will notice:
We pray for our health, for our jobs, for our material needs.
Paul hardly prayed for material needs.
Paul majored on praying for the spiritual welfare and growth of the assembly … that their eyes would be opened to appreciate all that they had in Christ … he prayed for fruitfulness and for perseverance …

It is not wrong to pray for the sick or the need of a job when there in need for one, but I am suggesting that our concers need to be focused on the spiritual welfare of the assembly.

So believers should be praying for the guides of the assembly – the over seers.
It is very easy to criticize leaders, but far more important is to pray for them.
We should pray for gospel blessings … for the growth of the assembly from within and for God to add to the assembly without.
There is so much need to pray for the local assembly. Pray for the unity of the assembly.
Pray for the harmony of the assembly, and that God would preserve the purity of the assembly.
In all the above we have the truth of God measuring us.
We have the character of men and the conduct of the sisters.

What Paul is referring to from verse 8 downwards are not just rules and regulations.
Men are to life up holy hands without wrath and without doubting.
We are praying to a God who is holy so we need to lift up holy hands, hands that are free of defilement and sin.
Notice Paul spoke of without wrath and without doubting. So what are we praying for?
We are praying that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives.
We are praying for peace without – so we cannot have war within.
We cannot be having problems and strife within and expect to have answers to prayer for peace without.
What Paul is saying is that my life within the assembly must be consistent with what I am asking God for.
If I am angry and at war with my brother and with believers how can I expect God to answer my prayers for peace with the unsaved?
If we want a quiet and peaceful life without, we have to provide a quiet and peaceful life within the assembly.
So God is saying I want men to lift up holy hands because they are coming before a God who is holy.

How can I pray for men to realize how awful sin is, if I think that sin is not important?
If I can approach God with my hands defiled by sin how can I ask God to forgive men who are sinners that they need forgiveness from God?

So what I learn as I look at God’s requirements for the men who pray is that character is MORE important than vocabulary.
I can stand up and have very nice words to say but if my life is not consistent with my prayer then that prayer means NOTHING.
So virtue in life is more important than being eloquent in speech.
Remember James? Elijah prayed effectual and fervent prayer.
It was the prayer of a righteous man and it availed much.
It is far better to have one righteous man pray for you than 10 carnal Christians.

Now what about the value of the sisters in the assembly prayer meeting?
Sisters may think that they don’t have to come for the assembly prayer meeting as they have to remain silent.
What is the value of the sisters sitting silently through the prayer meeting?
Paul gives instructions to the sisters who sit silently.
He begins to address them … IN LIKE MANNER …
So Paul is linking the sisters to the prayers of the brothers as they stand up to pray.
There is something about the sisters that is going to add tremendous value to the prayers of the assembly.
Never forget that when a man rises to speak to God, he is rising up on behalf of the entire company.
He represents the assembly before God. He represents brothers and sisters.
Therefore we all say AMEN at the end of his prayer.

So now commenting on sisters on how their conduct will give weight to the prayers of the brothers:
What is the connection between verse 9, 10 and 11 and the intercession for all men?
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But which becometh women professing godliness with good works.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

  • We are praying that men will realize the value of the ETERNAL.
  • We are praying that others may submit to the TRUTH OF GOD.
  • We are praying that others will realize that the SPIRITUAL is MORE IMPORTANT than the EXTERNAL.

So bringing this back to the sisters:
Do you yourself dress up as if the EXTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT than the INTERNAL?
And so Paul speaks of braided hair and costly array … and all that goes with it.
And so if you are dressing up as if the EXTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT how can you possibly expect unsaved people to possibly think that the INTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE EXTERNAL?
If you are all taken up with the material and the physical how can you expect others to thinks that it is the SPIRITUAL that really matters?

note: The CD stops abruptly here.

Figures of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins

Figures of the Assembly

  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

We are going to look at what an Assembly is compared to and mention them as we find them in the different places of the New Testament.

In Acts Chapter 20, Paul called for the elders at the Church at Ephesus.
In :28 He says: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Paul refers the church here as a ‘flock of sheep’.

The Church is a laborer in God’s building
In 1 Cor 3:9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

The Church is the Temple of God
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The Church is the Body of Christ
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The Church is compared to a chaste virgin
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

The Church is the house of God
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The Church is compared to a lamp stand
In Revelation John receives a tremendous unveiling of the Lord Jesus
Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

With this description of the Lord a discussion between the Lord Jesus and John follows:
Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The 7 stars are the messengers of the churches.
The 7 candles sticks are the 7 churches or assemblies.

There is going to be a certain amount of repetition in these meetings covering the same truth from different angles.
As we look at these pictures we discover many similarities:
We discover that we are:

  • Sons in one family
  • Servants in a field
  • Subjects in God’s Kingdom
  • Sheep in a flock
  • Stones in a building
  • Stewards in God’s household

And when we look at the Dispensational Church we have other thoughts coming in as the Church Dispensational includes all saved believers from Pentecost till the Rapture – no matter from what denomination or group they are linked with – if they are genuine believers they are part of the Body of Christ. And so in that sense they are spoken of as the Bride of Christ.

But when we come to the local church, there are terms used to describe the local church.
One or two of these terms can be used in different ways.
For example:
The Temple of God – your body can be spoken of as the temple of God as found in 1 Corinthians chapter 6.
However in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 the local church is also called the temple of God.
And if we turn to Ephesians chapter 2, we find the church – the Dispensational Church also spoken as the temple of God.
So we always need to clearly know what we are speaking of when we speak of some of these pictures that speak of the local church.

We have read of 8 of them as found in the Word of God.
We want to now look at what makes each of them different and consider what each of them has in common and then consider what it all means today.

So we start with speaking with, what is unique to each to each:

  • When you think about a tilled field, you are thinking of fruitfulness.
  • When you think of a building, you think of the labor that has gone into it.
  • When you think of a temple, you think of sanctity and purity.
  • When you think of a lamp stand, you think of its radiance shining and its autonomy.
  • When you think of a chaste virgin, you think of her fidelity and chastity.
  • When you think of a body, you think of its unity and how it functions.
  • When you think of the house of God, you think of its Order and its Occupant.
  • When you think of a flock, you think of its need to be fed and the need of a shepherd over the flock.

So the Spirit of God has given us different pictures to make us understand the different needs and aspects of the assembly.
So let us look into each of these to help us understand them.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 that an assembly is God’s husbandry or God’s tilled field.
God is looking for fruit in this field. That fruit can appear in many different ways – it may be the fruit of worship or recall as it says in Hebrews 13 which speaks of the fruit of your lips – So one fruit that God is look for is the fruit of the worship of our lips.

Now John 15 speaks of another kind of fruit – remember of the story of the vine and the branches?
Here the fruit that God is looking for is the ‘life of Christ’ developed in me.
God is looking for Christ likeness in the life of each believer.
This carries the idea that God enjoys and feeds on the fruit found in this field.
It reminds us that it is God’s tilled field. It is He that cultivates it and He that prunes it.
He is at work to see the fruit being produced.

Remember John chapter 13 and John chapter 15?
In John chapter 13 we have the Lord Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and He says I am giving you an example to do as I have done.
In John chapter 15 the Lord Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches.
His Father is the husbandman, He prunes and He cleanses.
So in these two chapters we have a similar background, but there is a tremendous difference between the two of them.
When I am called to help a believer I am to take a basin and a towel.
But when the Father is at work He uses a knife.
I am not called upon to use a knife on my brother instead I am called upon to use a basin and a towel toward my brother and I am to make sure that that water is neither ice cold or scalding hot, so there is a clear difference in how we treat our brother and how God works to bring forth fruit.

Paul reminds us that an assembly is called a building.
In this picture of an assembly as a building, we think of the structure and the foundation and the development of an assembly.
We are building to please God and not to please man.

Paul also spoke of us being the Temple of God of which ye are.
Here we are reminded of the tremendous privilege of being linked with the assembly.
He tells us that as a temple, the Spirit of God dwells in the local assembly.
Now just think for a moment what is involved in all this?
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, the Lord Jesus is there and in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:16 we read that the Spirit of God dwells in the Temple.
And in chapter 14 we read that the men who come in here, make the confession that God is here!
So the assembly is home to the entire God head.
The Father makes His residence there.
The Son has promised to be there.
The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the local assembly.
So within this temple of God we are reminded of its sanctity.
That this is actually the dwelling place of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!
And that is why Paul gives a tremendously serious warning – he warns that if any man corrupts the Temple of God, God will corrupt that man.
So we are reminded that the assembly is not only a place of fruitfulness but also a Building going for God, and as a Temple the assembly is a place of sanctity.

If you or I were invited to meet the great men of the world, we would make sure us dressed right and acted properly.
So as we come to meet holy and divine Persons I must care that I come to meet them in the right way.

Now let us draw our attention to the Lamp stand of Revelation chapters 1, 2 and 3.
The English Bible uses the word ‘candle stick’.
But notice in most margins it changes to an idea of a candle stand.
Now this in itself is important.
A candle burns by itself, but a lamp needs to be supplied by oil.
We cannot bear testimony for God on our own power.
We know that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and so we need external power from the Holy Spirit to bear testimony for God.
So what makes the lamp stand different from the tilled field?
It is now not the fruitfulness but the radiance that is the focus here.
Remember in the Tabernacle the lamp stand shinned in the Holy Place.
There were three different kinds of light in the Tabernacle.
In the court there was the light of the natural sun.
In the Holy Place there was the light from the lamp stand.
In the Most Holy Place there was the light of the Glory of God.
The lamp stand gave light for the priests for their activity in the Holy Place.

However the Lamp stands in Revelation chapters 1, 2 and 3 appear a little bit different.
They appear here as shining in the world giving witness for God.
The lamp stand in reference to the local assembly signifies the assembly’s responsibility to bear testimony for God and shine for God.

There are also several things similar to the lamp stand in the Tabernacle.
If you have studied the Tabernacle, you know how specific the details are – measurements are given very very carefully for its construction, however there are NO MEASUREMENTS given for the lamp stand.
Instead of measurement God gave the weight for the lamp stand, so that the value of the lamp stand was not on how big it was but how pure it was and its value was placed in its weight before God.
Likewise the value of the assembly is not on how big it is but in its value in its character before God.
We would all like to have large assemblies. But we want assemblies that have power for God.

One other thing about the lamp stand in the Tabernacle:
It spoke there that it gave light against itself – it revealed its own beauty to the world.
So as a lamp stand giving light, we are to display the radiance of Christ to the world around us.

As we see the features and the figures of the lamp stand we learn of another important principle.
We learn the truth of the autonomy of the local assembly.
There were 7 lamp stands and the Lord was walking in the midst of them.
He will address each of the assemblies and in 5 of them He will point out their problems.
He will call upon 5 assemblies to repent and to change.
But He never tells one assembly to correct another assembly or to cut off from another assembly and have nothing to do with it at all.
Each assembly is responsible to the Lord and so we must be answerable to the Lord.

There is also desire to maintain respect for other assemblies.
And so as a lamp stand we are reminded of our value – in our character and testimony for God.
We are reminded of our purpose to be radiant displaying the radiance of Christ.
We are reminded also of autonomy – our responsibility before the Lord ALONE.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 11 Paul uses another figure for the church – that of a chaste virgin:
Paul is very concerned for the assembly at Corinth as he writes that just as Satan deceived Eve so they too would be deceived from their singleness of affection for Christ.
So we are reminded of fidelity and our faithfulness to Christ.
God is jealous with holy jealousy.
And we read how the assembly owes its single heartedness and devotion to Christ.
Satan made Eve doubt God’s Word and today Satan can distract us from our affection for Christ and delude us in his false ways.
God is looking for single heartedness and affection from His people
This is the first problem that Christ mentions as He deals with the 7 churches – that our affections for Christ can grow cold.

Let me begin to mention the Body and its Unity:
In 1 Corinthians Paul mentions the assembly as a body.
As a Body we are reminded of unity and harmony, interdependence one with another and how indispensable every believer is to the local assembly.
There are no unnecessary Christians in the local assembly.
The background of 1 Corinthians is rivalry and contention.
Everyone wanted the best gifts to be the most prominent.
In reality – believers may never be the most prominent or the best preachers, and yet they are essential in the assembly. These believers may very well be the very backbone of the assembly by their very faithfulness and their attendance, and by their persevering prayer and by their kindness to other believers.
The tragic fact of this is that we don’t miss them until they are gone.

Paul also likened the assembly to a Flock of Sheep:
We are reminded of the tendency of sheep to stray. So the assembly is dependent on shepherds.

All these pictures give us an idea of what a local church is.
There is one thing common to all these pictures – they all remind us of what God gets.
We tend to think of what we can get – Am I getting my needs met?
Do people love me? Is my gift recognized? Am I appreciated?
Such thoughts get us thinking backward.
Our focus instead ought to be on what we can give to God and not get.
God gets fruit from the assembly.
God gets worship from the assembly.
He gets our affections and honor as we bear testimony for Him.
So if I come to the local assembly complaining that I am not getting anything, I am getting it all backward.
I should come to give what God desires and if I do that then is the guarantee that I will get from God. We cannot give to God without getting back.
If I come looking for honor and love and respect instead of giving ALL the above to Him, I will get NOTHING.

We have been looking at what is unique to all and what we are all responsible for.
Do I come and give fruit for God’s field?
In the Song of Songs we find God coming into His garden looking to find fruit to enjoy.
Both brothers and sisters are responsible to bring fruit.
Proverbs 24 ends of walking by a field of a slothful of a man who is void of understanding.
His field was overgrown with thorns and his walls were broken down.

There is much need for walls for if there are no walls all that is outside will get in.
The assembly needs walls of separation from the world – if not the world will get in.
Weeds too have to be removed.
And then there is watering and work.
So the first question is do I bring fruit?
Secondly – What am I building into the assembly?
Are you building with gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay or stubble with nothing to build into the assembly?

Mr Higgins testifies that in his own assembly at home there were just about 20 believers in days gone by. Today the number of believers has risen to 60.
He gives credit for the increase in numbers for the prayers of 3 sisters who worked to open their homes … inviting people for meetings and people got saved!
So every believer has the responsibility to build into the assembly.
As a tilled field, do I bring fruit to the local assembly?
As a building, do I contribute to see the work of God progress in the local assembly?
As a Temple of God, do I live a holy life?
As a lamp stand, am I supplying any oil?
But you quickly – “Is not the oil the Holy Spirit?”
Yes it is. So how much of the Spirit of God do I bring into the gathering of believers?
Am I contributing spiritual power to the assembly?
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 3 – Here Paul writes of 3 kinds of people.
The Natural man – the unsaved man.
The Carnal man – not living for God
The Spiritual man – whose life is controlled by the Spirit of God.
Am I a carnal or spiritual Christian?
There is something very solemn about the assembly at Corinth – very likely there has never ever been such a gifted assembly ever!
In chapter one Paul describes this assembly as having lacked NOTHING!
And yet with all their gifting they were just about to self destruct by those very gifting!
So we learn that here is a lot more than just gifting that is required to see an assembly prosper.
An assembly needs spiritual men and women using their gifts for their God given purpose.

Consider now the Assembly as a Body:
Do I realize that I need every other believer in the assembly?
The most gifted person needs every other believer.
Paul uses the imagery of the ‘body’ to make this clear.
My brain is very important. But it cannot function without my heart and lungs. So too are the tiny never endings that send messages along pathways. So every part of my body is needed for my body to function right.
Likewise, in an assembly setting I need you for my spiritual welfare.
And if you as a believer are not in assembly fellowship, you are depriving me of something I need, while also you are depriving yourself of what the rest of the body can do for you.
So we see we all have a need of each other.

In Caring for the Flock:
Do I value the flock of God? And if I am given the responsibility of leading them do I recognize the responsibility of caring for the flock of God?
It is God’s flock and He finds pleasure in it.
Every shepherd will have to give an account before God to his caring of the sheep.

We have looked at both what is unique and what is common in the pictures that describe an assembly.
We have also looked at each of our responsibilities.
It is the greatest privilege to be part of the local Church of God.
It also carries with it great responsibility.

May God Bless His Word.

Foundation of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

1Ti 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


Acts 28 ends with Paul in Rome. Subsequent to that he was released and he visited Ephesus and Macedonia.
He left Timothy in Ephesus for certain reasons and as a result he wrote to letter to Timothy this letter that we have before us.
These letters may be divided into 3 major groups:

  • Preaching Epistles during the book of Acts
  • Prison Epistles – Acts 28 and includes Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians
  • Personal or Pastoral Epistles – 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus

Interestingly, Ephesians is one of the assemblies we know the most about.

  • In Acts 19 we read of its planting.
  • In Acts 20 we read Paul meets with the elders and is concerned of their preservation and their progress as believers
  • In 1 Timothy Paul writes to the Pastors and Shepherds of the Ephesians’ Church
  • In 2 Timothy again Paul writes to them of their prevailing danger … Recall Revelation chapter – They had lost their first love.

So we have a long history of this assembly with many details.

However, the occasion for writing this epistle is made clear as we go through the epistle.
The theme of the epistle is what is known as the ‘House of God’.

Recall, on two occasions the Lord Jesus visited the Temple and cleansed the Temple.
In John chapter 2, the Lord cleanses the Temple at the beginning of His earthly ministry.
In Matthew (chapter 21) and Mark (shapter 11) the Lord cleanses the Temple for the second time.
This time it is at the end of His earthly ministry.

1 Timothy 6 deals with making – merchandise in the House of God, among other matters.
Mark writes the Lord as saying that His House will be called a ‘House of Prayer’.
It reminds us in chapter 2, there is prayer linked with the House of God.
And Mark adds it would be a ‘House for all Nations’.
And so Paul writes in Chapter 2, to pray for ALL men…
Recall John chapter 2 … the zeal of my House has consumed me …
Chapter 4 Stresses for teaching in the House of God.

What was the reason and objective for Paul to write this epistle?
There are three main reasons:
In chapter 1 – False teachers and law keepers were making inroads, and so Paul was going to confirm Timothy’s authority to deal with them.
Also Paul was writing to Timothy to tell him:

  • How an assembly should function
  • How prayer meetings are to be conducted
  • How sisters should be adorned
  • How leaders and servants should conduct themselves
  • How to deal and care for widows

In Chapter 2 – Paul writes on intercessory prayer in the House of God
In chapter 3 – on individuals who will function in the House of God
In Chapter 4 – the imperative to be fruitful in the House of God
In Chapter 5 – the importance of being fruitful
In Chapter 6 – the incentive – to be faithful in the House of God.

In each of the chapters the Lord Jesus is brought before us.
As mentioned in the first teaching, the Lord Jesus is the focus of the assembly. So remember:

  • In chapter 1 He is the Means of salvation and how He came to save sinners.
  • In chapter 2 He is the Mediatorbetween God and man.
  • In chapter 3 He is the Manifestation of God – God was manifest in the flesh.
  • In chapter 4 He is the Master of the House and we serve Him.
  • In chapter 5 He is the Motivation for everything we do in His sight.
  • In chapter 6 He is the Monarch. He is the King who is coming to reign on earth.

Turn back to Genesis 28:16 keeping in mind Timothy chapter 3.
In Timothy chapter 3, the assembly is called the House of God.
Here in Genesis 28:16 we find the FIRST mention of ‘House of God’.


Gen 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew [it] not.
Gen 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [is] this place! this [is] none other but the house of God, and this [is] the gate of heaven.
Gen 28:18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [for] his pillows, and set it up [for] a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
Gen 28:19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city [was called] Luz at the first.
Gen 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
Gen 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
Gen 28:22 And this stone, which I have set [for] a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.


Turn now to Genesis 35.
A lot has happened to Jacob between Genesis 16 and Genesis 35.
He had spent 20 years in the house of Laban, and now God was telling him to return to the land.

Gen 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
Gen 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

There is what is known as the ‘law of first mention’.
Whenever God introduces an important subject, the first time that it is mentioned has great importance attached to it.
God will establish principles in the FIRST MENTION that will be true in the rest of the Bible.

There are 5 things stressed in this FIRST MENTION of the ‘House of God’:

1 Residence and Reverence that is due to God:
Jacob said God is in this place. This is an awesome place.
So there is the Residence and there is the Reverence

2 Authority and Administration:
He said the House of God was the ‘Gate of Heaven’.
Does it mean the entrance to heaven? NO.
So what does it mean?
Remember Lot?
It was said that he sat at the gate of Sodom and the people said he was a judge.
Remember Boaz?
He went to the ‘gate’ to buy Ruth.
There he met with the elders of the city to make his intentions clear that he wanted to marry Ruth.
In Psalms 22:16 David writes …For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.
In Israel the ‘gate’ was the place of administration. The city was ruled from this place.

In Matthew 16:18: Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.
So the gate is linked with the ‘assembly’
The assembly is God’s Authority and God’s Administration in the earth.
There is NO higher Authority than the WORD OF GOD ministered by those in responsibility in the local assembly.

3. Presence and Purity:
After the Lord told Jacob to go back the first thing he tells his household to do is to put away their strange gods before going back to Bethel … change your garments … be clean.
So the Presence of God demands purity among His people.

4. Commitment and Consecration:
Jacob would say: He would make a commitment and consecration to God.

5. Revelation and Representation:
First – God revealed Himself to Jacob.
Then Jacob said God would be my God, and I will represent Him before the world.
And so when Laban spoke to Jacob, he could say “ I have learnt by experience that God has blessed me since you set foot in my house.”
Before the ungodly Jacob represented God!

These 5 groups are introduced in Genesis 28.
And so when we find God’s House in the rest of the Bible, these 5 things will be true.
God will add to the Revelation of the House of God.
He will add but never take away from these 5 principles.
At the Tabernacle He added Sacrifice
At the Temple we find Solomon praying … we find wealth and treasure associated with the House of God.
In the House of God in Haggai we find God taking Pleasure in the House.

But when we come to the New Testament we get the fullest revelation – the full display of the beauty of His House.

Display and Beauty of the House:
We all have observed while we drive along the road and see houses on either side that some houses are well maintained with beautiful gardens while others are neglected and unkempt.
Houses reveal something about their owners
Some owners are careful while others are not.

Drive past Bill Gates house and you see a beautiful mansion.
It tells you something about the owner of the house.
You know the man living there is wealthy.

So a house tells you something of the people who live inside.
So when you think about a house you think of the occupant – of who lives there.
You think about the owner – who owns it.
You think about the order of that house and then we will see that there is an obligation linked with that house.

These 4 things will be stressed tonight:
The Owner, the Occupant, the Order that should mark the House and the Obligation of the House.
We will also talk of the Resident of the House and the Reverence that He deserves.

Recall what Jacob said “This is an awesome place. This is none other than the House of God”!
And then suddenly Jacob who was careless becomes very reverent
What is your attitude as you meet together in the House pf God?
Am I marked by reverence toward God?
Do I recognize the awesome Presence of the One who is in our midst?
Every assembly has House of God character.
It means that God had taken up residence in the local assembly.

How often we have said “If I knew that Preacher would be speaking I would have been there.
How much more then when God Himself is present in His House and the Reverence that He deserves!
In chapter 2 Paul speaks of the Reverence that is becoming to the House of God – “that men should lift up holy hands and sisters …”
So we are told of what is fitting in attitude and attire before God.
He tells of our relationship with one another and how that should reflect on the Occupant in our midst.
So when we meet we are acknowledging the fact that there is an Occupant.

Owner of the House:
It is not your assembly or my assembly. It is the House of God.
It has been purchased by the blood of His Son.
Have you considered how valuable an Assembly is to God?
Paul writes of the value that God places on the Assembly:
Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

The value God places on the assembly is not based on its size, but that the assembly represents the Lord Jesus.
When the assembly gathers in His name, we have to represent the interests of the Lord Jesus.
It is God’s House. And He has a say as to what happens in His House.
So in this sense, it is the Gate of Heaven because His Authority is recognized and exercised in His House.

How is God’s Authority expressed in the Assembly?
There is the idea that the overseers are in charge. But it is not so.
It is the Word of God in the hands of the overseers that is The Authority in the assembly.
The Word of God is the ultimate authority -Always.
A good man may say a bad thing but that does not make it right.
And a bad man may say a good thing but that does not make it wrong.
Truth always stands on its own – the authority in God’s assembly is the Word of God.
It is in the assembly that the authority of God is administered and expressed.

This epistle is about administrating for God.
1Ti 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
Paul was writing to Timothy to place importance to ‘godly edifying’ … it means administrating for God.
We are administrating God’s authority in God’s house.
And so as far as heaven is concerned, there is no higher court of Authority than the local assembly.
One assembly is not over another assembly. Every assembly administrates for God and in reality it is a little picture of what is going to fill the whole world.
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians that believers are enriched in all knowledge.
This is what the assembly should be right now – be enriched in all knowledge.

What will the earth be like in the millennium?
The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
So right NOW the assembly should be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
In chapter 6 Paul writes that the saints will judge the angels in the coming day.
You should be judging in the assembly right now.
Chapter 11 discusses Headship and the head covering of the sisters.
We are reminded that this is what is going to mark the whole world in the coming day.
The Headship of the Lord Jesus will be recognized.

In Chapter 13 Paul writes on the fullness of love in the assembly.
This too is going to mark the world in the coming day.

In Chapter 6, is the assembly’s willing surrender in consecration to the Lord Jesus.

Psalms too remind us that in the coming day, man will willingly sacrificing to the Lord and there will be a continual reminder of the death of Christ.
This we do now weekly in remembering the Lord in the symbols of bread and wine every Lord’s Day.

So what will fill the whole earth in the coming day we do NOW in the assembly.
Do we realize what a privilege it is to be linked to the House of God?
You are God’s beta program before He rolls it out to the whole world and we have the privilege now to be linked with a rejected Savior, upholding Him and giving Him pleasure.

How is this Authority and Consecration carried out in the Assembly?
In the Assembly there needs to be fairness
The need to deal with widows.
To know how to deal with those who bring accusations.

What does Paul write to Timothy in 5:21?
1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
The strongest charges are in being fair!

God expects an assembly to be marked by fairness and honesty –
In Proverbs God spoke of hating a false balance – why?
Because when men make judgments they represent God. So when an overseer makes a decision, it is a decision that heaven has already made and we are carrying it out!
So Paul says it is very serious to make a judgment and then WILLINGLY make it wrong!

God’s Presence and Purity:
When Jesus went into the Temple HE said “Take these things out of my house”
These were things that did not belong in the House of God.
So this epistle written to Timothy reminds us that the House of God demands purity of life.
Paul also reminds Timothy to be an example of purity among other things.
He reminds him of maintaining the purity in relationships between men and women.
He writes of pious and holy widows.
So we see that there is a STANDARD that God has established for His house, and He has only ONE STANDARD for all. God places no difference between a leader or a follower, between young believers or old believers, if a person in sitting in the assembly or at the back seat of the assembly. God has ONE STANDARD for all believers and that STANDARD is to be HOLY.

Recall what Peter writes:
1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

So if we call him ‘Father’… then follows the incentive “Be you holy for I am holy!”
So the STANDARD for Christian living that is linked with the House of God is Holiness.

Commitment and Consecration:
If the assembly is to prosper, then it must have committed believers.
What it means is that I cannot just come and go. I cannot expect others to bear the burden of testimony. If my heart has been won for the Lord Jesus Christ, then I will want to please Him.
If I value my life knowing that it has been purchased by the blood of Christ, I will seek to serve Him.
So then there has to be commitment if my gift is to be developed.
Does the way I serve God reflect how much God is worth to me?
Does what you pour into the assembly express what you think of God’s House?
Remember, what a house looks reflects the owner of the house and the occupant.
So if we allow the House of God to fall apart, then we don’t think much of the owner.
Paul urged Timothy to pour out his life and stir up his gift and develop it for God.
2Ti 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

In the assembly here we have young men with wonderful minds and sisters with intelligent minds.
Will you give your mind consecrating it to God to know Him and know His Word so you can serve His people better?
And then giving your mind to God for also the growth in your personal life?
Christian progress does not come by, by accident.
It is not like growing old … no matter how hard you try for it not to happen – it just happens.
So our Christian growth is not something that occurs naturally.
It requires commitment and consecration.
You have to make it priority in your life to get to know God better.
So commitment and consecration is needed for my gift to develop.
Commitment and Consecration is needed for growth in my Christian life.

To those given the Responsibility to guard the flock:
Shepherding God’s Assembly requires absolute commitment and consecration.
It involves tremendous sacrifice.
1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
The writer of Hebrews writes of those who are watching as though to give up sleep to pray for the believers.
Does the way I shepherd God’s assembly reflect what I think of the SHEPHARD?
Every shepherd must love the SHEPHARD. And as he loves the SHEPHERD, he will love the sheep.
The shepherd is not a man who is power crazy. He is a man in love with Christ.
So to guard the flock, the shepherd must love the SHEPHARD.

Back in Genesis 28, this love was linked to giving. And so Jacob made his commitment and consecration when he said, if God is my God then He will bring me again to this place in safety and I will give Him a tenth.
In Chapter 6 we discover what kind of God we have.
God is a God who gives richly and liberally and so He expects believers to give likewise.
There is no such thing as a stingy godly person. Everything we own belongs to God.
We need to be marked by the same character of God in giving liberally.
Practically speaking – Why do we have an offering every Sunday when we come to remember the Lord?
Why does the Bible frequently link worship with giving?
Keep in mind whenever you give, what you give reflects what I think of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My giving should be out of commitment and consecration to Him.
It is an expression of worship of what I think of Him.
My giving expresses my worship of what I think of Him.
So that poor widow with her two mites was worshipping God, expressing that He was worth all she had!
And so we must be marked in the House of God by giving liberally.

Revelation and Responsibility:
We represent God and Christ here on earth. We do this individually … but notice:
1Ti 3:15 … that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Putting this in another way:
The Lord Jesus when He was on earth manifested what God was like.
Today as House of God, we are to manifest what God is like here on earth.

If someone were to come into our meeting and observe … they should begin to understand what God is like just by the way we act and treat each other. It should be a revelation to them of what God is like.

  • Do we treat each other with love?
  • Is there kindness in our relationships with each other?
  • Are we marked by mercy or are we hard and cruel?
  • Are we gracious and gentle with each other?

Above all are we willing to forgive each other when problems occur?
This is what God is like.
We should represent God not just in our words but also in the way we treat each other.
We represent and reveal God to those who do not know Him and know what He is like.
We should be revealing His holiness and love, His forgiveness, mercy and faithfulness.
All that God is should be stamped on the local assembly.
We are not just ‘going to church’.
Gathering as a House of God is more than just ‘going to church’
We actually represent God in the world.
And by how the House is ordered we are telling people what God is like.

We are telling people about the Owner of the House. We are telling about the Occupant of the House.
We are revealing about the order of the House and we seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so as we think of this tremendous truth, we realize we ARE the House of God.
And linked with being the House of God, we ARE the pillar and ground of TRUTH.
As ground of TRUTH, we protect the TRUTH.
As pillar we PROCLAIM the TRUTH.
And the way we protect the TRUTH is to PROCLAIM the TRUTH.
And we protect the TRUTH not just by what we say, but by what we do – not just preaching but also our actions one with the other.

May God stir us and inspire us for the great privilege of being part of the local House of God here on earth.

Focus of the Assembly by Dr AJ Higgins


  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Act 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Act 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother unto
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.

1 Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

God will bless the public reading of His Word.

The New Testament speaks of the CHURCH in two different ways. There is the church that includes every believer saved from Pentecost till the Rapture when the Lord comes. We sometimes refer to it as the church universal or church dispensational. It includes every believer no matter from where they come from or where they are if they truly belong to Christ they belong to the Universal Church which is His Body.

The Bible also uses the word ‘church’ to describe a local church. There are many differences between the Church which is the Body of Christ and the Local Church.
Some examples:
There is no distinction or difference made between male and female in the Body of Christ.
But in the local Church there is difference between male and female.

No one can be put out of the Body of Christ.
But in the local Church people can be put out for various reasons.

Many people think the Church as a building … it needs painting … repair work …
Many local Churches do need the above at sometime or the other – they need to be painted and repaired over time but it is not really the same thing.

The word ‘Church’ here would have been better translated as ‘Assembly’.
One example – Paul is in Ephesus and the silversmiths who were making money through making images to Diana were very upset about the gospel and a small riot occurred. Look at:

Act 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Act 19:39 But if ye enquire an thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
Act 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

The word 3 times translated as assembly is the same word used for church
Notice they were confused, not knowing why they had gathered together.
Notice also it was not being gathered together as a lawful assembly and it was an assembly that could be dismissed and sent home.

We do not want to be in assemblies where people do not know why they come together.

What makes an Assembly or church lawful?
And what right do we have to gather as we gather?
With this background in mind look at the focus of the New Testament Assembly:

First thing to notice:
It is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as the GROUND and FOUNDATION for the Assembly:
We read in Corinthians – no man can lay any other foundation that the foundation that is IN JESUS CHRIST.
Now it is important to distinguish between not just things that are different but things that are similar.
Normally when Paul speaks about Jesus he speaks about Christ Jesus.
And Peter addresses Him as Jesus Christ.
Why the difference?
Peter knew the Lord first as Jesus Christ on earth and then as Christ exalted by God.
Paul did not know Him as a man on earth … he came to know the Lord AFTER He was exalted by God.
So Paul nobly refers to Him as ‘Christ Jesus’.

Yet in earlier chapters of Corinthians 3 times Paul addresses the Lord as ‘Jesus Christ’.
In chapter one – he speaks of himself as being an apostle to Jesus Christ
In chapter two – he speaks of wanting to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
In chapter three – the foundation for the local church is Jesus Christ.
We have to understand why he uses that title (Jesus Christ) as a Foundation for the local assembly.
As ‘Jesus Christ’ HE is a man – a man who was despised and rejected.
But as Christ HE was a man who was approved and exalted by God.

He was showing the Corinthians in the early chapters that what they valued was in contrast with what God valued.
Paul exposes in chapter one that they valued the wisdom of the world, the power of the world and the great men of the world, and so he says not many wise, nor many mighty, not many noble are called.
So, what did the wisdom of the world think of Christ?
The world in its wisdom crucified the Lord of Glory.

What about the power of the world?
It put Him on the cross.

What about the nobility of the world – the religious leaders and governors?
They despised Him, mocked Him, slandered Him, rejected Him …

And so he reminds them that the Foundation of the assembly is what the world despises.
The assembly is built on the Foundation of a despised man.
However, what the world despises God honors.
He impressed upon the assembly at Corinth that they would have this SAME standing in the world.
The world will think of them as insignificant and foolish.

To function as an assembly as we do the great men of the world will not be associated with it.
It is however that which is pleasing to God and what God honors.
So, as an Assembly we link with a despised man. And all that we value is folly in the eyes of the world. We take our character from the Foundation.
When we are building everything must square up on that Foundation so that everything is consistent with that Foundation.
It reminds us here that we must be building on that foundation of verse 12.
It talks of a Foundation of gold and silver…
… And wood, hay and stubble that would be burnt up.

Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

Now having been built up he reminds them that they are built on THAT Foundation.
The Person of Christ is the GROUND for the local assembly – we read of the promise of Christ in the gathering center where two or three are gathered in His name.
Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

God is everywhere, He is Omnipresent in essence.
However there is a major difference between God being omnipresent and God taking up habitation.
Example from Old Testament easy to understand:
In the Old Testament when Moses finished the work of building the temple according to the pattern given by God … and everything done by God’s instruction …. Then the glory of God Descended and took abode in the tabernacle.

Exo 40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
So God who is everywhere took up His habitation in the Tabernacle and HE dwelt between the cherubim.

God is everywhere, but He dwells ONLY where His Word is carried out according to the pattern in which He has given in His Word.

Matthew 1:23  Matthew begins his gospel with one of the greatest titles of the Lord Jesus – Emmanuel, meaning God with us.
And how does Matthew end his gospel?
It ends with the giving of the great commission and “I am with you always!”

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew begins with God with us – Emmanuel
Matthew ends with “I am with you”
In the middle is Matthew 18 – Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am!

So the One who is Emmanuel – God with us, and the One who was the great Commissioner who was sending out men was with them, and when two or three gather in His name, He is there in the midst of them!

You cannot blindly take Matthew 18:20 to say whenever two or three are gathered HE is in the midst of them …
First of all it is the idea of being drawn to something …
It carries the idea of something being continued and being permanent.

So when you meet in your homes to discuss something He is there as He is Omnipresent.
However Matthew 18:20 has to do with a local Assembly gathering in His name.
They are attracted to the Person Christ.
It is absolutely vital that our hearts be attracted to the Person of Christ.

We do not gather because of a particular doctrine or because you get to meet the nicest people or it is a church closest to where you live.
The gathering is for the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice when problems begin:
The Lord took up problems that existed in the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3.
In Revelation 2, the first church that the Lord deals with is the church at Ephesus.
We would think all was well in this church -they were active and busy and they had outreach works and were seeking to further the truth of God. Yet the Lord points His finger at one specific problem – YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE!
What they once did in love for Him, they were now doing in routine.
Something very solemn was linked with this church in Ephesus.
It is the ONLY assembly where the Lord Jesus says HE WILL COME AND REMOVE THE LAMPSTAND!

We would certainly think things were far worse in Pergamum or Thyatira or Laodicea … but here the Lord is pointing to something we have all to re-learn ALL the time – that failure to love the Lord Jesus will eventually result for failure in Testimony for God.
So we MUST be attracted to the Person of the Lord as a gathering center.
Think of the Lord Jesus as the Provision of Guarantee for all the needs of the Assembly:
To be gathered in His name means many different things.
It means to be dependent on Him … to represent His Interests on earth … reveal His Person by the way we function … to be regulated by His Word … and depend on Him for our resources.

In Philippians chapter 4 the assembly sent money gifts to Paul on at least 2 occasions. Paul ends his writing to them in these words “You have met my needs financially, and then he adds – My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Paul was not referring to the financial needs of the assembly, just that what the assembly needed to function would be supplied by the Lord.
It means if there was a need in the assembly for gift – God would raise it up.
If there was a need for men to guide the assembly as shepherds – God would raise them up.
And He can give blessing in the gospel as well.
We have our source in God who can meet every need of the assembly.
Now this does not mean we just sit back and do nothing. It is the responsibility by every believer that we should be praying that God will provide for the needs of the assembly.
At the end of chapter 12 Paul says something very important:
There was rivalry in the church at Corinth for prominence because of their gifting in speaking in tongues and other things.
So he tells them to covet earnestly the best gifts.
So instead of complaining for lack of gift, they should be praying to God to raise it up.
If there is need for men to preach the gospel or teach the Word – pray for it.

God intends the assembly to be self sufficient, to have all it needs to function and prosper. It comes as a result of our dependence on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who is at the center of our gatherings.

Recall how the Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself in the churches of Revelation 2 and 3.
In each assembly He presents Himself according to their needs.
So the Lord is available to every assembly to meet their every need.
Never be satisfied that we are good enough. There should be constant burdens before God for the assembly to be raised up for spiritual usefulness. This burden should be in the hearts of brothers and sisters and young and old believers for He is able to supply every need.

Preeminence of the Lord Jesus as the goal of the Assembly:
Many think that going to church is a good thing for them … sadly even some Christians do.
They complain I am not getting anything out of the meetings.
Is the purpose of the assembly to make YOU feel better or GLORIFY Christ?
If you come with something to give you will definitely get something in return.
The Person of Christ is the focus of the assembly.
We are to Worship, Witness and Work for Him.

In Colossians 1 we learn of God’s eternal purpose that Christ has the Preeminence.
He has it in creation, in the cosmos, and He will have it in His coming Kingdom.
God intends that NOW He have Preeminence in the local church and in our hearts.
So when we come, we come not in expectation what we are going to get, rather we come to GIVE something to Him – making Him Preeminent and MORE exalted.
So on the Lord’s Day we come to remember Him and to worship Him and praise Him and honor Him.
However, this is not limited to just the Lord’s Day because what we bring on the Lord’s Day depends on what we have gathered all week.
Hebrews 13:15 mentions the ‘fruit of our lips’ to be offered as a sacrifice continually.
Fruit is something developed, it ripens over a period of time and it matures … so the fruit of our lips is something we have thought over during the week … it has ripened and matured and now brought before the Lord on the Lord’s Day as a sacrifice offering of praise and thanksgiving.
In doing so the Lord is exalted and given the Preeminence in our Worship and Witness and Work for the Lord.

There are many ways in which the assembly witness and testifies for Christ.
One way is through preaching – proclaiming the gospel to sinners telling them of the wonderful work of Calvary and the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ to save
In our Ministry we give Him preeminence by declaring His sufficiency for our life and the assembly.

  • We also witness for Christ in another way we may not have thought of before:
  • We witness for Christ in what He is like in the way we treat each other.
  • We witness for Christ in the way we gather. We give Him the place of Preeminence.
  • We take no other name but His name.
  • We do not take the name of any great religious leader or a particular Christian movement.
  • We gather to a PERSON.
  • The way we function is with multiple overseers giving testimony to His preeminence.
  • The sisters taking their place with their hair covered and submission are testifying to His Headship.

So all we do is linked to His Person.
These are NOT the rules of the church.
These are principles that touch on the Person of Christ.

We not only worship and witness but we also work and when we work we are working for Him.
We are serving Him. Now if we serve Him we will serve each other.
But the moment I think I am serving you I will look for appreciation and when I am not appreciated I will get bitter and angry. But if I remember I am serving Him and waiting for His day of thanks I will not get bitter or upset.
So all we do is done for Him.
He has to be the attraction that controls our heart’s affections.
The apostles thought it all joy to suffer for His name and they went forth for His namesake.
We have committed into our hands something to do for Him and we are responsible to serve Him.

Precepts or the Word of God as a guide for the Assembly:

  • Am I willing to have the Word of God control my life?
  • Am I willing to have the Word of God control the Assembly that I am linked with?

Paul tells Timothy in 3:15 that the Word of God is inspired and so it is profitable for Doctrine, Reproof, Exaltation and Correction so that the man of God may be fully furnished for every good work.
And so we are reminded that the Word of God is sufficient for our personal life.
The Word of God is also sufficient for my family life.
It tells me of my relationship to my wife as a husband … as a father to my children.
The Word of God gives us principles to cover every aspect of our lives.
The Word of God is absolutely sufficient for assembly life.

In Acts 20 Paul is leaving the assembly.
He thought he would not see them again so he commends the assembly to God and the Word of His grace.
This is the UNCHANGING WORD in a constantly changing world – God and the Word of His grace.
Paul tells Timothy to give attendance to the public reading of the Word of God.

So the focus of the assembly is the Person of Christ. It is all about Him.

  • The Person of Christ as the Foundation.
  • The Promise of Christ as the gathering center
  • The Provision of Christ for every gift we need
  • The Preeminence of Christ as the goal of the assembly to exalt Him
  • The Word of Christ telling us of how we should gather.

Presence of Christ with which we are honored:
What a privilege to bear Testimony for Him and uphold His name.
Recall the days of Joseph when he was in the land of Egypt:
Joseph was dying … he tell his people too carry his bone back to Canaan and 400 years later Moses takes his bones back to Canaan.
For 40 years in the wilderness the bones of Joseph were carried in a chest.
They were the bones of their redeemer.
Think of the honor the men had who carried the bones of Joseph, what honor they would have felt!
How much MORE us … who bear the Testimony of a LIVING Redeemer and Savior!

Then think what humility as well to realize that sin caused Joseph to suffer and go into Egypt.
So as we gather on the Lord’s Day, what tremendous humility ought to bear down on us as we realize we are ONLY SINNERS and our sin took the Lord Jesus to the cross to be crucified?

What holiness it should cultivate in us to think what sin meant and what it cost Him?
We should each of us rise with greater hatred for sin when breaking bread on the Lord’s Day.

Think also of the harmony created in the men who carried the bones of Joseph:
We are not sure if there were 2 men or 4 men who carried the chest
Four or two – they would have to keep in step, walk together at the same pace and walk in the same direction.

Christ in the Center should create Harmony in the people of God with every heart attracted to Him, every heart seeking to exalt Him and glorify Him and honor Him.

Christ as the focus of the local assembly – God help us give Him the PLACE HE DESERVES.

He is Precious – by Mr Flannigan

HE IS PRECIOUS – Mr. Flannigan

(converted to typed format from audio recording)

1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: where unto also they were appointed.

Years ago lived a lady a midwife by profession named Nurse Mac Neel. She was also a missionary. She was known as a ‘missionary on a bicycle’. She delivered many babies and then went on to deliver many of these children’s’ babies!
Many of these had heard the gospel message through her and were brought to Christ.

When finally at age 92 Nurse Mac Neel fell ill and was hospitalized Mr. Flannigan heard of it and went to visit her in hospital. She was in ICU when he came to visit her and he was denied permission to see her as she had been unconscious for the past 3 days and he was in no way related to her. However he persisted and he persisted and he persisted, until the nurse had no choice but to call the head nurse to tell him that permission to see her would STILL be denied. Not giving up, Mr. Flannigan now continued to persist – this time with the head nurse till she finally and very reluctantly granted permission for him to see her… but only for a little while.

And so quietly walking to the bedside of unconscious nurse Mac Neel, he saw her tiny frame … wasted, pathetic and jaundiced. And then to the amazement of all, nurse Mac Neel opened her eyes and spoke softly to Mr. Flannigan! “How I longed to see you … how nice of you to come!”
“Do you know me?” asked the surprised Mr Flannigan
“Of course I know you” she replied
“You must be suffering a great deal” Mr Flannigan enquired kindly
“Yes” replied nurse Mac Neel “But He is so PRECIOUS”
Mr Flanigan remained silent not knowing how to respond to her.
Then she continued “Is He not very kind?”
“Then you must have something special that you are thinking about?” enquired Mr. Flannigan
“Yes” she said, “He is kind because He hides the future from us, and when the future becomes the present, He becomes so very PRECIOUS in it – So Very PRECIOUS”
“You must know Him for a long time then?” Mr. Flannigan questioned her.
“70 years” she replied “but never as PRECIOUS as He is now”
He remained silent for awhile then asked her his final question “I am going to see some of your friends later, do you have a message for them?”
“Yes” she replied “Yes, Tell them He is very PRECIOUS, never MORE PRECIOUS than He is now.”
With that Mr Flanigan prayed for her commending her to the Lord and His care.
As he took her leave she once again repeated “He is PRECIOUS … VERY PRECIOUS.” Then she closed her eyes and never opened them again. Three days later they buried her.

Mr Flanigan felt very privileged as he left the hospital that day, to have travelled to the ‘Gates of the City’ for a while with one who would be remembered as ‘A Missionary on a Bicycle’. Her constant reminder to him that ‘He was very PRECIOUS, so Very PRECIOUS’ got him to wonder that there MUST be many things in Scripture about Him being PRECIOUS, that needed to be searched for, discovered, found, listed and then believed in … and so he searched the Scriptures.

In 1 Peter chapter 2 he discovers three occasions to ponder on the Preciousness of the Lord Jesus.

1. That Christ is PRECIOUS to God … and he wondered how had that become possible?
How did that happen? There must have been some kind of order as HE who has always been PRECIOUS to God, had now become PRECIOUS to him too.
And so Mr Flanigan puts in order as it was revealed to Him of just how PRECIOUS is Christ to the Father.
HE pondered …
If he were to ask of the Father how PRECIOUS He is, he wonder what the Father’s answer would be?
Of course it would be – He is My SON!
Then in the language of Zachariah it might be – He is my fellow.
In the language of Isaiah it might be – He is My Servant.
In the language of Psalms it might be He is my King.

As he dwelt on these thoughts, he was led to the 4 gospels … and in the gospels he found all the above in greater detail … ALL the loveliness of Christ as Son, as Servant, as King!

And then again … if someone were to ask him:
How PRECIOUS is He to you?
He wondered what he would say.
He thought he would borrow from the language of Thomas or Elizabeth or Mary Magdalene and he would reply – He is my Lord!
Or he could even borrow from David and Job and he could say He was my Redeemer, my Beloved, My Savior, my Rock …
It dawned on him that it would take a long, long time to exhaust even if you could exhaust the Preciousness of the ONE who is my LORD, My Redeemer, my Beloved, my Friend, my Savior, my Rock …

HE has indeed become very PRECIOUS to both you and to me – Him, Who was always PRECIOUS to God.

But then he thinks … it was not always so, so when did it all start?
David wrote:
Psa 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

David here is NOT writing of the preciousness of his thoughts about God, but rather the PRECIOUSNESS of God’s thoughts about him!
Can we look into the mind of God to comprehend His thoughts concerning His Son … you … and me?
How PRECIOUS are His thoughts?
Just how do we get to know God’s PRECIOUS thoughts about us?
Answer: By Wondrous Grace!
In other verses they come to us in the language of Psalms
Psa 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

The PRECIOUS seed is the Word of God and the PRECIOUS thoughts of God are all that have been made intelligible to you and me.

What are some of these thoughts?
Mar 11:28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Joh 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isa 53:5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

On and on we can dig deeper and deeper into Scripture to discover more … and more and more …
And then remember Sunday school?
Remember the teacher who put PRECIOUS seed into your heart?
And then watered that PRECIOUS seed with her prayer for you to bring forth fruit?
The thoughts of God come as PRECIOUS seed … the Seed of His Word.

As we study the Word of God we discover the Redemption of our soul. It is so PRECIOUS that only the blood of Christ can make that good for us.
Yes Christ died … redemption price has been paid so ask – Are all are saved?
No. There are many among us who are not in the enjoyment of these things and are not saved.
So how does one get to be saved?
Peter writes of a special prayer that appropriates these things.
It is in the first chapter, he speaks of PREIOUS faith.

1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.

How PRECIOUS is this faith the links us to these things.
Here we learn that by the PRECIOUS Seed of the Word of God, and the PRECIOUS thoughts of God together with the PRECIOUS blood of the Lord Jesus shed for us … how PRECIOUS is the faith that appropriates and grasps the completeness of what Chris has done.

And now is yet another discovery.
We are not only saved but we are also SECURE.
We are both saved and secure because we are built on the PRECIOUS Stone.
Both Isaiah and Peter make mention of this PRECIOUS stone.

Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

This is all that we need now, to be built on this PRECIOUS STONE.
It is in the goodness of God we make progress and get into ministry …

And now we come to Genesis 24, here we find another servant who comes looking for a bride for his master’s son. And when she comes by he brings out PRECIOUS things that displayed the evidence of the goodness of his master’s son. And this is how it was with us when we first came to know Christ – in the ministry that exalted Him … the ministry that told us of His goodness and we thirsted and hungered for more.
More of Jesus would I know!

As we grew a little more we learnt we were not only privileged to be saved and secure but we also learnt to bring back to God in appreciation all of what we have learnt of Him. It reminds us of the woman with the alabaster box.
John says it was very costly, another says it was very PRECIOUS.

What is this Preciousness?
This Preciousness is the FRAGRANCE of Worship – the exercise of those who know God and His thoughts – the thoughts that He has given to us and we bring them back to Him in Worship.
The Lord Jesus is PRECIOUS to God.

It may take us a while to discover this – the Fragrance of Worship but eventually we will find a local company of saints who are likeminded in worship. We will discover this assembly and become part of it.

Psa 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psa 133:2 [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
Psa 133:3 As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.

This is the unity of the saints.
How heavy a responsibility is borne by the man who would disturb the unity of this assembly as this unity is PRECIOUS to God!
Now being part of this Assembly what joy it is to be involved in ministry, to work for the Assembly and to build something into the Assembly.
Paul says make sure that what you build into the Assembly is of gold and silver and PRECIOUS stone!
A lasting work! … An abiding work … for it is the Assembly Testimony!

1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

Then one day you will realize that the years have run out.
Fellow workers and worshippers are going home. It is sad.
Probably the older we get the sadder it becomes?
But then not all of it is sad, for Ps 116 says:

Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

So then, what saddens our hearts is PRECIOUS to God!
It is after all the going home of those He has loved.
And so we must learn as we ourselves make our way there – during our time here to get WISDOM.
It is more PRECIOUS than rubies
For in doing so after getting wisdom when we finally arrive at City Four Square, we discover here that all the stones here are PRECIOUS STONES!
It has no night. Its gates do not shut and all the PRECIOUS STONES there reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!

To encourage us now in our journey toward Four Square City we have PRECIOUS PROMISES that Peter spoke of for us to hold on to:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And then we have the PRECIOUS “I Wills” of God in His letters given to John in Revelation 2 and 3.
Here are two examples of the 14 reference of God’s “I Wills”

Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

To us then who believe in Him – He is PRECIOUS.
Very PRECIOUS indeed!

57th Malacca Bible Camp 2015

The 57th Malacca Bible Camp 2015 will be held at the Malacca Gospel Hall, from 6-12 of December 2015 in the will of the Lord. We thank the Lord for the brothers who have taken time to prepare to teach the Word of God. We are grateful to brothers and sisters in Christ who continue to labour in prayer for the edification of the believers and salvation for those who are seeking Christ.