Spiritual Advantages at the Gates of Zion

Are there more advantages that are spiritual in public worship not found in private devotion?  If so, would that make public worship preferable before private devotion?  Yes, because Jesus is most interested in public worship.  Case in point, the purpose of the ascension outlined in Ephesians 4.  Christ ascended “far above the heavens” that he might give public officers to the church, “For the perfecting of the saints” (v. 12).  He gave these men, “for the work of the ministry” (v. 12).  Their purpose is, “for the edifying of the body of Christ” (v. 12).  Many churches seek to obtain unity by removing doctrine.  It is doctrine, however, which Christ actually uses to unite the church through public means,  “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13).  He gave public officers to protect the church against error and apostasy, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (v. 14).  Jesus also gave public officers to produce fruit in the church, “But speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (v. 15).  Christ gave public officers for these ends because he is most interested in public worship, and guarantees his presence when “two or more” officers gather (Matt. 18:20).  When they do, every local church becomes a microcosm of the only holy, catholic, and apostolic church.[1]

[1] Horton, People and Place, 216.

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