But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”1 Corinthians 14:24-25 NLT
I’ve been in the church business for a long time. Ove the last 40 years I have been in myriad meetings where we discussed what our services should look like. The consensus on this subject has gone through many morphs over the years. In some seasons we decide that worship should be long and there should be random bizarre behaviors to demonstrate the Presence of God. In other seasons, we decide that the worship should be upbeat, downbeat, popular or professional. We should or shouldn’t speak in tongues, and the sermon should be long or short, doctrinal or practical. Who knows? We just want people to come.
The Bible never really tells us exactly how we should order our gatherings. It does, however, imply some things about the purpose and content of meetings in the early churches. The book of Acts depicts large meetings where the Good News is proclaimed as well as small gatherings where the Word is shared and discussed by all. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is correcting some excesses in their local church when he gives us a clue as to what the impact of our gatherings is supposed to look like.
The Holy Spirit is among us when we gather. He abides in each of us for the edification of all of us. The gifts and manifestations of the Spirit in our gatherings are supposed to be powerful and convicting. If unbelievers or Christians with little knowledge come and go without some visceral response, we have missed the point. They are supposed to be convicted by the obvious presence of God in us and through us. I want to encourage you to make this your expectation as you head for the assembly of the saints. Let it be said, “God is truly here among us.”