“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22,23).
There are relatively few large Christian congregations in the world where believers meet for fellowship, study, and prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most churches, both now and in earlier times, have been insignificant in terms of worldly standards, better fitting Christ’s “little flock” designation (Luke 12:32) than do the giant edifices so widely publicized today. The Biblical standard is not size, but motive. The small church at Philadelphia was promised an open door because, said the Lord, “thou hast (but) little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8).
The day is coming, however, when all believers in all churches of all times and places will be in one church. This will be “the general assembly and church of the firstborn,” whose members will be “just men made perfect” by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 12:23). Even on the cross, the Lord Jesus anticipated this glorious event. At the very height of His sufferings, He prophesied in His heart: “My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation” (Psalm 22:25). Already, by His word and by His Spirit, He has spoken to every future member of that marvelous assembly: “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: . . . I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9,10).
This was surely part of “the joy that was set before Him” as He “endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Members of that great congregation have great joy set before them! HMM