This IM (Inspirational Message) is dedicated to all the "church goers" who quote Hebrews 10:25 according to their knowledge. It is my hope that by the end of this IM their view on assembling with the brethren will pull them from the building and to the word.
Not so long ago I was having a conversation with someone after finding out my daily assignment (teaching). As the conversation continued, I asked if they would be available on Sundays if I a need arose for their time. The request to excuse their behavior began before my question was answered as they explained that they did not go to church. This tends to be a topic that gets a rise out of many going to church. I leaned over with a soft tap and said, “I don’t either.” I could not tell if there was a sigh of relief or an unsound question that was displayed on their face. I do remember sharing that were assembling at that moment.
There has been this unbiblical ritual that many are following which is leading them away from righteousness to idol worship. It is my hope that we look at the word and gain knowledge that will lead us to assemble with the brethren and stop going to the building and calling it assembling with the brethren. I realize this may come with much ridicule, but if you will take time and make it to the end of this IM, there might be new information obtained.
“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the matter of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
Many quote the first part of this verse as they justify why thy 'go to church'. For the sake of this IM let us look at the next part and discuss that as the matter that some are because they are forsaking the assembling of the brethren. What does that mean? Who are they and how are they doing this?
In order to answer the two questions, we must discuss 'the assembling of the brethren.' From what has been passed down to us, it is getting up Sunday morning, going to a building lined with pews or rows of chairs, herded in like cattle to watch a musical performance, being coerced to sing along, and given prompt when to do so. At the end of all of that, you then have to listen to someone who will give a grand oration. This ritual may leave you with a feeling of contentment or confusion as you go your way. At least this has been my experience.
Now let's consider the early church. How did they assemble? As you read the following words, let your mind become vivid and see what you read. This is a reenactment of how it might have been.
Picture a carrier bringing a letter to Corinth, Ephesus, or even the apostles themselves entering into the region. Someone will recognizw the carrier or the apostles. They are greeted by one of the locals and others who see and a wave of excitement moves through the marketplace. Then a runner comes and verifies that there's a letter or the apostle. The runner begins to spread the word throughout the villages and surrounding areas. By now people are beginning to assemble at the home of whoever has taken the letter or the apostles to break bread with them. The people are waiting to hear the letter or the words of the one who has come. It may have been the third day of the week, the first day, or even the sixth day of the week. They gathered for the purpose of hearing what was expected of them as well as to get clarity.
Can you picture someone's home as a gathering place? Being able to ask questions? Learning exactly what God wants you to learn and not just getting what man is forcing down your throat? What an opportunity to build a solid relationship with God!
Can you imagine not having to show up at a particular time, looking a particular way? And let's not forget giving a particular amount of money. What a burdensome task!
When you gather with the brethren, it should not be for the sake of satisfying self, nor the people who are there. Assembling is meant for us to receive instructions, knowledge, and wisdom from the Head. It is imperative that the brethren know how to function as a well-integrated body of individuals gathered together with the goal of being a continuum- operating under one Head, functioning as one body, one Father, one Savior, with the faith.
Think about your body. It has different functions but it operates in unity and that unity causes the body to stay in sync. Paul uses the phrase 'fitly joined together.' When the brethren assemble, it is to do what is suitable or appropriate. There is a purpose for your body to stay connected. It is very simple: so that it won't fall apart! The people of God assembling together is the body of Christ staying connected allowing the body to continue with serving its purpose of being the body of Christ.
Today we see many bodies with no heads. There are bodies who are not fitly joined, some with not enough of a body and others with excessive body parts, but they have no head. The body will not survive without the head.
As far as the early church, here's what we do kno: there were no set buildings they met in. Where they met was not arrayed with pulpits, beautiful flower arrangements, crosses, nor pictures of Jesus. We know there were no keyboards, drums, or organs. There was no mention of hymnals, choir stands, or robes. They didn't have time to make sure the ushers were in place. Sunday school class and evening service was not on the announcements. Wait, there were no bulletins.
There are many who target those who d,o not "go to church" and they throw the phrase 'forsake not the assembly of the brethren' around so loosely. Every time you assist the brethren by sharing a word of encouragement, correction, or instruction, you are forsaking not the assembly of the brethren. Just for the record, it doesn't matter what day or time this is done and it does not matter if it is two or five hundred people there. What matters the most is that the assembly of the brethren is for the purpose of the brethren to function as an acceptable body of Christ. So as noted from the beginning, this IM should give you a different view for how you "do church" from this point on.