Millions of professed Christians only attend a church gatherings at
baptisms, weddings and funerals. "We only see them," as one minister
put it, "when they're hatched, matched or despatched." In other
words, when someone is christened, married or buried. The public's
view on the other hand is, "There's no point in going to church each
weekend just to meet a bunch of hypocrites and listen to a boring
sermon." Good reasoning and very often true: but not good enough in
view of what you are about to read.
2. Holy Convocations
Millions believe that it is not necessary to meet with others on
Yahweh's Sabbaths. They are dangerously mistaken: and could harm
themselves and, where applicable, their growing families. The fact is,
church services involve (or should involve) far more than meeting
other people or listening to sermons. The Scriptures abound with
references to "holy convocations." Remember that a "holy convocation" is a
commanded religious assembly. In modern terminology, this means
an official church service. Attendance is not a matter of likes and
dislikes, of meeting with hypocrites or saints, of listening to good or bad sermons.
It is meeting and worshipping God. If two or more believers live in an
area, they are summoned by the Almighty to meet together with Him
on His weekly and annual Sabbaths. This is His command and His
Spirit will be present if they obey that command. Only illness and
isolation are grounds for not meeting with fellow believers each
weekend. Let me quote Scripture to make this point.
||1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,|
2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3: Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4: These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
(See also Leviticus 23 verses 7,8,21, 24, 27, 35; Numbers 28 verses 18,
25, 26, 29; Numbers 29 verses 1, 7, 12)
The dictionary defines the word convoke as a 'formal calling of
people to a meeting: a summons to assemble.' A summons as most
people know, is an authoritative call to attend a meeting; a call to
appear before a judge or magistrate. In other words, a "holy
convocation" is a divine summons, an authoritative call by the
Almighty God to His followers to meet Him. To ignore this divine summons
borders on insult: not to mention the enormous benefits that are lost in
the process of staying away. The New Testament advises believers
not to neglect this divine summons, especially in view of the
||25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, as the manner of some is; |
but exhorting one another: and
so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, made an amazing promise
concerning believers who meet together in his name. He said this:
||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. |
20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
3. Organising a Sabbath Meeting
Very often a believer will find himself in an area where there are no
Sabbath services. What, then, should he do? Who is he to meet with?
The answer is: he should seriously think of organising a meeting. The
following guidelines (remember they are guidelines - not rules) are
given to show how we in Stewarton have organised Sabbath services
since about 1968.
To begin with obtain a small supply of Sabbath tracts. These may be
purchased by writing to the Bible Sabbath Association: HC 60 Box
8 Fairview, OK 73737 USA. At this WWW site you will also find
lessons concerning the True Sabbath Day,
Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath? and
Is Saturday the 7th Day of the week?
Make copies of these and, together with the BSA tracts mentioned
above, pass them out to fellow Christians in your area. After a few
weeks arrange a Sabbath meeting, either in your own home or a rented
hall. You should have also obtained some hymn sheets for your
meetings. Most Christian book shops stock them.
- Welcome all who attend.
- Begin with choruses/hymns. Let those present have a choice.
Musical accompaniment on piano or keyboard, guitar, mandolin,
violin etc. are also very useful. In Stewarton we use these
instruments. Remain seated during this initial session of singing.
- Opening hymn. Stand for this hymn.
- Opening Prayer. Invite Yahweh's Spirit into your midst.
- Scripture Reading. Preferably by someone in the audience.
Give him advance warning.
- Announcements. Tell them your plans and hopes about a regular
Sabbath meeting. The true believers who attend will co-operate. Have no fear.
- Children's story if children are present.
- Second Hymn.
- SERMON: You will find many Sermon
Notes at this site to get you started.
- Closing Hymn. If possible with words linked to the sermon just
- Closing Prayer.
- Refreshments. Not always possible in a rented hall, but
always possible at home.
4. Music / Song
Music and song are extremely important in religious services. But
keep clear of the up-beat music of the world. Bear in mind that this is
a holy convocation, not a jazz session or let-your-hair-down party.
Special items, solos, duets, musical items, poems, testimonies etc
should be encouraged. Encourage the children to take part. Like all
fires, SBS started with small twigs (small children) and even to this
day they form an important part of SBS meetings. Broadly speaking
spiritual songs may be divided into three groups.
Allocate about a third of the time for singing. Make sure your choice
includes the first type of hymn. Remember a Sabbath service is a
worship session: not an entertainment trip.
- Prayers to Yahweh and His Son: These are the highest form of
hymns. We sing them to God. Examples are: Abide with me,
Break Thou the Bread of Life, Jesus Lover of my Soul.
- Testimonies: i.e. We're marching to Zion.
- Evangelistic Hymns: i.e. What a Friend we have in Jesus.
5. Scripture Readings
Make sure that at least one chapter of the Real Bible is read at every
meeting. The person taking the sermon should also include several
passages of Scripture. The Bible is the 'Bread of Life.' If it is
neglected your meetings will spiritually degenerate. Also, do not
neglect the Old Testament. Make sure it is read: especially the first
five books. They contain the Law of Yahweh: which is vital if sin is to be identified. Notice how Ezra the priest read large
portions of Yahweh's law to the people of Israel. He read from
morning till midday! You do not have to repeat his performance: but
it does prove how important is the reading of the Scriptures.
||2: And Ezra the priest brought the law before the
congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with
understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. |
3: And he
read therein before the street that was before the water gate from
the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and
those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were
attentive unto the book of the law."
6. The Sermon
The sermon is also a vital part of a religious meeting; though by no
means the most important. Scripture reading, prayer and singing are
equally essential. In SBS we have a team of speakers. Usually one
elder preaches the sermon, which lasts about 40-45 minutes. But
often two younger men will preach; each delivering a 20-25 minute
sermon. Our policy is that every man in the congregation should be
allowed the opportunity to either read the Scriptures or preach a
sermon. The Apostle Paul wrote:
|1 Corinthians 14:29
||"Let the prophets speak two or three, and
let the other judge."
7. Women Preachers
In SBS the men lead out at all holy convocations, religious meetings.
According to the Scriptures, women have not been given the authority
to preach or teach at the official gatherings of the church. This does
not mean that women have no place in Yahweh's work: or that they
are inferior to men. Oh no; they have an important part to play in the
work of the Most High; and in many areas of human endeavour they
are superior to men. It simply means that they do not have the right,
the divine authority, to take the pulpit and preach or teach in the holy
convocations of the church. It's not a matter of choice, fashion or
ability: it's a matter of divine authority. This is
further explained on another page.
As you can see, to organise a Sabbath meeting in your area is not very
difficult. With Yahweh's assistance, it is easy. But, if He is not with
you, then you will be wasting your time; however well meaning or
qualified you may imagine yourself to be. Important questions that
need answering before you even attempt to start are:
You will need to do a lot of praying before the answers to those two
questions become clear. Meanwhile, keep reading the files at this site. Who
knows, you may be just the person the
Almighty is looking for to take the
Everlasting Gospel to the people
in your area. "May He guide you" is my sincere prayer for His
- Does Yahweh really want me to organise a Sabbath meeting
in my area?
- Or am I looking for an excuse to stay away from an existing
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland