Forsaking the Assembly
In Hebrews 10:25 believers are reminded of the importance of coming together. Christians agree it is God's will to gather together. Sadly, among Christians today, there is disagreement on what day of the week the gathering should take place. Some believe in meeting on the Sabbath and others the first day of the week depending on which tradition is followed. It's sad to see disunity fracture the body in this way because in John 17, Jesus makes it clear that through Him we are to be one body--unified.
Why We Meet
If we take a look at the early church historically and biblically, we learn that a rift over what day to meet does not need to exist. Let's go back to the passage in Hebrews 10. It tells us we are not to neglect gathering together, but what does it says about why we meet and when we meet? Heb. 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." As we come together, we are to:
- Encourage one another
- Spur one another on toward love
- Spur one another on toward good deeds
This is why we should not neglect assembling together. Note that it doesn't tell us to assemble together and sit next to each other, say very little and put our money in the offering plate. Unfortunately, this is the practice of many who gather—but the biblical unity isn't there. There is little one-on-one interaction to spur us on.
Early Church Meeting House
When we read about the Corinthian church, the church at Ephesus, or other churches mentioned in the Bible, we often interpret it through the filter of our worldview. For many years, I pictured a church building with people seated in neat rows listening to the letter being read by the leaders of the church.
In reality, the church met mostly in homes for the first few hundred years. This setting fostered connectedness and unity. It was the perfect environment to encourage and spur one another on. In Acts 2:42 we see that they shared meals together from house to house and they did it with gladness.
When to Meet
I know we could talk a whole lot more about why we meet, but to bring the topic full circle, let's look at when should we meet? According to Hebrews 10:25 the when is "all the more." It's not one day. Think about this, if they were being told to meet all the more back when Hebrews was written, how often should we be getting together today? In Acts 2 is says that they continued with one mind "day by day."
Something to Consider
Back before the church had big buildings, budgets and all the trappings we consider "church" today…they "turned the world upside down." They made a big, noticeable difference. How are we doing today? Maybe it is time to stop fussing about which day to meet and "practice all the more." We could gather on the Sabbath and the first day of the week, and even during the week. Just think of the difference it would make in individual lives. It could have a ripple effect in the world. And before you start hunting down the professional leader to organize it all, take a look at the last five verses of Hebrews. It wasn't written to the leaders, but to the brothers and sisters who were told to greet the leaders.
The real question is, if we neglect meeting all the more, are we forsaking assembling together?
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