November 4, 2007 / Volume 11, Issue 44
Not Forsaking The Assembling Of Ourselves Together
The importance of assembling with the saints cannot be emphasized enough. When we gather together as a body, we have opportunity to give praise and glory to God, to encourage those who are of like precious faith, and to receive instruction and admonition to help us remain on the straight and narrow path. Consider the teaching of Scripture regarding the need to attend the assembly of the saints.
HOW DOES A BODY FUNCTION WITHOUT IT'S MEMBERS?
The Bible often refers to the church as a body. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12). Paul compared the church to a physical body. It is recognized that though the body is one, it is comprised of many members (arms, legs, nose, ears, eyes, etc.). Paul states, "...so also is Christ" (ie. there are numerous parts).
Paul goes on to illustrate that all parts of the body are necessary. He says, "If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you'; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.' No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary." (1 Corinthians 12:15-22)
Every member is necessary. This is true both of the physical body and the body of Christ. Consider, how effective would you be in your daily activities if you were missing your left leg? Or perhaps your right arm? What about an eye? Indeed, it is good to have all our members! Every saint – young or old, male or female, strong or weak – is needed. The body of Christ, like our physical bodies, functions best when all its members are present. When a member is missing, the body is not complete. When a member is missing, there is a void.
Furthermore, there is reason for concern for the missing member. When in an accident and a part is severed from the body, time is of the essence. If the patient is tended to quick enough, doctors may be able to re-attach the dismembered part. However, if the part is separated from the body too long, it will die. So it is with the members of the body of Christ. And thus, the great concern over members who are not consistently at the assembly of God's people.
WE ARE COMMANDED TO ASSEMBLE
In the letter of Hebrews, it is written, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25). The writer mentions two responsibilities of every Christian to his fellow saints. We are to "...stir up love and good works..." We are to be a source of encouragement to our brethren, cultivating love and good works in them, and they in us, by our association together. Immediately following this admonition, the writer makes mention of attendance.
If we are not present at the assemblies of the church, then we cannot "...stir up love and good works..." in our brethren. We disqualify ourselves from being able to do that which we have been commanded to do! Rather, we become a source of discouragement by our absence. Furthermore, consider that the writer has given a command to assemble together. In verse 25, it was written, ‘Thou shalt not forsake the assembling of ourselves together...' We are commanded to assemble.
168 hours, the local church meets together for just 3 hours. That amounts to less than 2% of our time!!
|The Hebrew writer is clear about how serious an error it is to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. He continues, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." How important it is that the child of God establish correct priorities. We might be able to satisfy our own conscience when we place other things before the assembly of the saints, but the Lord will not accept the feeble excuses which some put forth. Those who willfully sin by forsaking the assembly ought to have "...a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation..." Indeed, they have transgressed God's command!
Here in Kingston, we have three services which the saints locally have agreed to meet together at. Every saint should determine to be at every service. Do the math on the percentage of your time being at every service will take. A week has
When we forsake the assembly, it brings nothing but disappointment. Consider:
We have disqualified ourselves, having become a bad example to members and the community!
- Jesus is disappointed, for we have put Him in second place (Hebrews 12:1). With great joy, He put us first!
- Our brethren are disappointed, for we have not encouraged them (Hebrews 10:24), but have discouraged instead.
- We ought to be disappointed, for we have "...trampled the Son of God underfoot..." (Hebrews 10:29)
THE BENEFITS OF ASSEMBLING WITH THE SAINTS
Beyond the fact that the children of God are commanded to assemble together, there are so many benefits to faithful attendance.
FOR YOUR DIED, AND YOUR LIFE IS HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD
- It gives us a blessed opportunity to gather with the people of God, that we might worship the Creator of all things, the One who has redeemed us from our sins!
- In the assembly, we have the opportunity to learn more of the word of God, and to share in the gospel of Christ with others of like precious faith.
- The assembly of the saints provides the opportunity to be encouraged by our brethren, and to give encouragement in return.
- Therein, we are able to blend our voices together in song, rendering praise to the God of heaven.
The above words were written by Paul to the saints in Colosse. Paul revealed to them the amount of commitment which the Lord requires. Of himself, he wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20). O, that all God's people would give Him all! Jesus demanded that "...if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up is cross, and follow Me."
Consider what our condition would be if Jesus had given as much commitment to us as many saints do to Him. What if Jesus decided to visit with family members rather than go to the cross? What if He was too busy to die for our sins? What if He were too tired? What if He'd been invited to a party? Jesus gave 100% for us; dare we think he will be satisfied with anything less of us?
Click here for this week's Answering The Atheist
Who succeeded Jehoiakim as king, was it his son Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6) or no one (Jeremiah 36:30)? Is there a contradiction?