Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 1, 1962

Reverence In The Assembly Of The Saints

Jesse G. Jenkins, Fort Worth, Texas

"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him." (Psa. 89:7)

It is a very grievous sin for one to show a lack of fear and reverence when gathered to worship God. It shows a lack of respect for Christ and brings reproach upon His name and church. It hinders those who earnestly desire to worship. And it renders one's worship vain. From 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 we learn that if in worship we display an unworthy manner, we bring, not God's blessings, but His anathema upon ourselves. Yet, many neglect to show fear and reverence in the assembly.

The absence of fear and reverence manifests itself in various ways. We allow our children to make entirely too many trips to the water fountain and rest rooms. On occasions such trips may be necessary. But as a rule if we will see to it that our children go to the rest room and get a drink of water before we leave home, they will not need to make these trips. Any normal child can go much longer than one hour without using the rest room or getting a drink of water; he does it every day. Many times the child gets tired of sitting still and uses the water fountain as an excuse to move about; in this, he is just out-smarting his parents.

There is too much talking during the assembly. Notice, I didn't say crying. Where there are babies there will be some of this. But I am speaking of the older children and adults talking. In worship there is no excuse for talking about things foreign to the assembly. And if something is said in the sermon that necessitates a comment from you, wait until the assembly is over to make it. Do not turn to your mate, or whoever is sitting next to you, and comment during the assembly. If it is important enough that you have to comment on it, you will easily remember it. I can think of nothing that is more distracting to those sitting by, as well as to the preacher or song leader, than to see some good brother or sister smile (sometimes smirk), turn to the mate, and make comment about what has been said. Why, it is nothing uncommon even during the invitation song to see some talking and laughing.

Chewing gum in public does not have particular merit, whatever the gathering. But to chew gum while attempting to worship God is certainly out of place. I know many have done this unthoughtedly. But answer this: What makes it right for one to chew gum while worshipping and wrong to drink his coke, coffee, or eat a piece of cornbread?

A refusal to enter into worship heartily also shows a lack of fear and reverence in the assembly of the saints. Some fail to sing, some fail to study attentively, and some fail to keep their minds free from the things of the world during the prayers and Lord's Supper. (Who hasn't been guilty of this?)

Without question fear and reverence of God is lacking when the church member willfully forsakes the assembly or when he is late to the assembly habitually. In this we fail to glorify God, discourage the weak, and sign our own spiritual death warrant.

Let us one and all do our best to properly fear and reverence God in the assembly of the saints.