The Call to Solemn Assembly
We are in a War of Holiness, a time when, as in every war, we are challenged by issues of Fear and Love. In this War of Holiness, we are in a Season of Preparation. This is our third message on the Season of Preparation. We have received an initial call to understand that we are in a Season of Preparation. Then, we studied Solemn Assemblies, and what they are and what they are not. And today we are going to consider our call to participating in a Solemn Assembly here on Dec 13.
This Solemn Assembly call is because of the problems we face, individually, in the natural and spiritual realms, as the world spins out around us.
Of course, the world has changed around us throughout our lives, but during the past two years, this has been especially so, and at a rapid pace. Now during this year, 2009, that pace has accelerated. More and more, people realize that they are not in charge of their lives – despite their perception of having American “freedoms” and “rights.” The economic crash, the power of the dollar – or the loss, or absence or weakening of it – and governmental changes made and discussed, and the power of governmental coercion, have bent the knees of many people, of many families, despite their free will. So many people have thought their freedoms and rights would enable them not to have to bend their knees to the economy and government, but yet they are finding their knees bent for them. So many have thought they would not be humbled by foreclosures and by governmental intrusions into their families and lives, yet circumstances have tumbled the households, and bent the knees and backs, of millions of people this year.
But as Scripture confirms to us, Isaiah 45:23 and Philippians 2:10, “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.”
And here is the question: are we going to be subjugated by our circumstances or are we going to choose to bend our knees to Jesus?
This is a personal question, of course, but it is a community and a national and a global question, as we face increasing financial pressures and increasing issues of governmental intrusions and limitations of religious freedoms. It is the existence of these pressures and intrusions, the power of this question of yieldedness to Jesus, that brings us the call to Solemn Assembly.
In the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple, the Solemn Assembly was part of the Dedication, as a time of consecration, or setting apart, and as a time of remembrances and thanksgiving. It was a time of re-looking at God’s provision and protection and provision, in the past, and preparing selves, and God’s people, and a nation, for the future, the times to come.
As we prepare our hearts and minds for Solemn Assembly, we need to be mindful of past and present and future. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is squarely in our times and in our lives, both in the natural realm and in the super-natural realm.
We need help from the Trinity to get through what is coming at us. Like an athletic, or military, or business team, we need to be focused, beginning with each one of us as individuals. We need to know God’s plans for us, individually, in terms of missions and goals, and we need to know God’s plans to knit his believers together as a team. We truly need a deeper and wider and refreshed insight into the will of God.
So, in our Solemn Assembly, we will set aside times for remembrances, and for evaluations of the present. And we will seek the Lord prophetically for knowledge of the future. We will set aside times for refreshing, and renewal, and re-dedication. We will consecrate ourselves, setting us apart from the natural world in which we move, and live and have our physical being, as we prepare ourselves for the future, both in the natural world and in the spiritual realm.
We will plan for an extended service on that day, Dec. 13, and then we will share a covered dish feast here to celebrate our Lord and His righteousness. And then we will go forth much better prepared for what is to come. Many of God’s ministers are preaching rather directly in this season on End Times Eschatology, but the Holy Spirit has not called us today to that message. The Holy Spirit has called us to be reminded
- that no matter what is forthcoming, we need to continue to be yielded to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and for some of us, to become even more so yielded to Jesus Christ;
- that we need to become more courageous in our faith, taking natural and spiritual realm risks as God directs;
- that we need to stir up, even more so, (II Timothy 1:6-7) the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands (see Acts 8:16-17), which is the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit;
- that we need a hunger, as in Acts 4:29-31, to speak the word of the Lord with all boldness,
- that by stretching our His hand to heal, that signs and wonders may be done through the Name of Jesus Christ;
- that in our times, our generation, we would be privileged to be on the cutting edge of what God is doing in the War of Holiness, in the struggle we have of Fear and Love;
- that, therefore, Ephesians 6:13-17, we would never be without the helmet of Salvation, nor the belt of Truth, nor the preparation of the gospel of Peace, nor the breastplate of Righteousness, nor the Sword of the Spirit, nor the Shield of Faith;
- that in living we would know, Philippians 1:21, that to live is Christ, and to die is gain!
Last evening, an older football coach, and Brother in Christ, shared with me a story of boldness in the faith and I want to pass it along to you: (Luke’s Story). God has His purposes, and His ways. He is sovereign. We are not sovereign. We are called to know and accept His will and to walk with the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, and to do so in complete obedience. The moral of Luke’s story is this: when one is afraid of His faith, He has not faith! Love conquers all, especially fear.
Winston Churchill famously said, in a Call to Arms in Great Britain during WWII, that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” as the Nazi Bombing of GB continued. If we fear only fear then a Solemn Assembly will do us no good. We need to grasp deeply ahold of the reality that we should fear only Him (Philippians 2:8) who calls us to be obedient unto death, yet promises us that He has abolished death (II Tim. 1:10), and brought life and immortality to light through His gospel.
Conclusion: God is calling us into preparation in the War of Holiness. He wants us to attain perfect love which casts out fear (I John 4:18), that we might move in His power to fulfill the good works which He ordained for us to do. The Solemn Assembly will prepare us for that, in His Grace.