Stewarton Bible School

SBS     Calendar

Sabbath Meetings

1. Introduction

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.
Leviticus 23: 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 approaching end.
Hebrews 10: 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:
Matthew 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.
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.

Suggested Programme

  1. Welcome all who attend.
  2. 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.
  3. Opening hymn. Stand for this hymn.
  4. Opening Prayer. Invite Yahweh's Spirit into your midst.
  5. Scripture Reading. Preferably by someone in the audience. Give him advance warning.
  6. Announcements. Tell them your plans and hopes about a regular Sabbath meeting. The true believers who attend will co-operate. Have no fear.
  7. Children's story if children are present.
  8. Second Hymn.
  9. SERMON: You will find many Sermon Notes at this site to get you started.
  10. Closing Hymn. If possible with words linked to the sermon just preached.
  11. Closing Prayer.
  12. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. Testimonies: i.e. We're marching to Zion.
  3. Evangelistic Hymns: i.e. What a Friend we have in Jesus.
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.

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.
Nehemiah 8: 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.

7. Conclusion

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 name's sake.

SBS   Calendar Page

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Updated: 1998