Dear brothers and sisters,
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are cancelling the corporate Lord’s Day meeting this week and encourage you to meet in your homes with your family all together or with another family if you feel comfortable. Let us do our best to limit the gatherings to 10 people or less.
We suggest doing one or more of the following whether you are by yourselves or have grouped with others:
- Read one or more chapters from the Bible
- Sing hymns
- Review this week’s material from Deuteronomy and from The Glorious Church
- Pray for the Lord’s will to be done in your family, in Denver, in the Rocky Mountain region, nationwide, and worldwide.
We will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and keep you apprised of the church’s meeting schedule in the days ahead. Please reach out to any of the elders at any time with cares, concerns, or exceptional hardships.
“Not abandoning our own assembling together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25
“And they continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42
“And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart” – Acts 2:46
“…but from the beginning it has not been so.” – Matthew 19:8
This past weekend we shared with the college students a basic principle for studying the Bible that was taught to us by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19:3–8: when you want to understand the principle of something, come back to its first mention in the Word.
To understand what the church life is, we should also come back to the beginning of the church life in Acts chapter 2. Here is how it reads, “And they continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers….And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:42, 46).
The early church life was “day by day” and “house to house,” with the saints gathering together in small groups daily to pray together, eat together, study the Word together, and enjoy the Lord together.
We have become very used to a congregational church life—meeting in large groups on Lord’s Day morning. But the Lord is looking for a church life where we meet together every day in twos and threes.
The CDC and CDPHE just issued a request that for the next 2 months we avoid any meetings that have 50 or more people. If we only see the “congregational style” church life, we could be discouraged by this. But it is actually a tremendous opportunity for us to practice the pattern of the church life that is in Acts 2. In Hebrews 10:25 the Lord commanded us to not abandon our own meeting together. Over the centuries (and even today in many places) when the church was persecuted or unable to meet publicly, the saints met in small numbers, connecting with one another intimately and mutually to enjoy the Lord together. Always when this happened, instead of shrinking the church would thrive, because meeting by twos and threes daily is actually the main way the Lord intended us to meet.
For the health and safety of the saints and for the public good we will comply with the request not to have large meetings in the coming weeks. However, this is not the time for us to shrink back. Rather, let us exhort one another to do the opposite. We have an unprecedented opportunity to practice what is in Acts 2, especially with the technology available to us today.
Using technology: We have apps and services that allow a large group of saints to meet by phone, to message everyone in the group, or even to meet by video on the phone so that it is almost like being in the same room togethere. We can use this technology to pursue the Lord by twos and threes. For example, a brother in the church may have several brothers he is related to. He can pray by phone in the morning with one brother, study the Bible over the phone with another brother during his lunch break, and read the Bible with a third brother by phone at night. A sister can have morning revival with her companion in the morning, read the Bible with two coworkers at lunch, and fellowship and pray with a group of sisters by phone at night.
Day by day and house to house: Nearby us there may be several other families in the church. We can have a couple over to our house for dinner on Monday, go visit another family on Tuesday to read the Word, and on Wednesday we can gather with a third family to pray for the Lord’s move.
Brothers and sisters, we are NOT abandoning our own assembling together by changing our meeting format. Rather, we are meeting “so much the more.” Rather than retreating, bunkering down, hiding, isolating, and distancing ourselves, we will be aggressive to connect with one another intimately and mutually in small groups, by phone, and over the Internet. Let us be even more aggressive to pray and fellowship by twos and threes during the week, much more than our usual meetings on Lord’s day. In other words, we will proactively connect with one another rather than disconnect from one another. Let us consider one another, exhort one another, and build one another up. Like the underground churches under persecution, we should turn the limitations of our current adverse environment into an opportunity to shepherd and build up one another and the church. This is also an opportunity for saints who do not often make it to the meeting, or who are not able to function in the large meeting, to mutually shepherd one another, build one another up, and to be built into the Body of Christ.
In these days, the church must not get into a survival or defensive mode, but thrive in a new, positive and unprecedented way. In John 4:21, the place where New Testament believers worship God is not a physical place, but the corporate spirits of the saints joined together, which is the true dwelling place of God.
To meet together in this way, we can take advantage of a wide variety of online messaging and communication platforms, as well as the traditional telephone or conference call. We can also meet in person in small groups. We trust the Lord that He will keep us safe as we meet in small groups with the saints. As we do so, let us observe a few basic commonsense precautions:
- If you are sick or anyone in your house is sick, or you have been around someone who is sick, do not visit the homes of the other saints. Instead limit yourself to calling by phone or online.
- If someone else is sick or has been exposed to the virus, rather than having them in your home, meet by phone or online.
- When we meet together, do your best to spread out your chairs so that you are at least three feet apart.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and teach your children to do the same.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze–with a tissue that you throw out right away, or into your elbow if no tissue is available.
The health and safety of the saints is extremely important to us, and we want to do our part to help limit the spread of any virus. Here is a helpful video on the best way to wash your hands in order to prevent anyone from getting sick:
And here is a video for your children:
While we must act prudently (Proverbs 22:3), we should also be at peace. The Lord is on the throne, and He is in control. Let us pray that the white horse of the gospel will run (Revelation 6:2), and that our friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors and classmates will turn to the Lord in this situation.
For the church in Denver
Casting all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you. – 1 Peter 5:7