The “assembling together” of believers.
Recently I heard an exhortation over the radio for believers in Jesus Christ to remember the biblical directive to “not forsake the assembling together of ourselves…” from Heb. 10:25. The radio announcer was using a very common motivational verse (tool) to basically get people to “go to church” every Sunday. As if the embodiment of my spiritual life in Christ is meeting in a building on Sunday 10 a.m. with other believers.
Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not wanting to promote sloth or unfaithfulness. Not by any means! What I do want to promote is to search deeper into this famous verse.
“Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Heb 10:25
At first glance it does seem to be the main point of the verse: “don’t forget to go to church every Sunday”. It even goes on to say that it was the habit of some, evidently, to not go to church: “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some.”
At a second and third glance, one does wonder what those little words mean “assembling together”. Here is where I believe we settle for too little in our spiritual journey with God.
Assembling together is more than sitting in a pew for 2 hours a week and singing hymns or listening to the preacher.
Assembling together means just what it says: we “assemble”, each one using his or her own unique spiritual gift and discernment, so that “together” we can bring about the results and change God is intending for that gathering.
Long ago I read about this “assembling together” where the author said it is like “putting together a puzzle”. Each person has one piece of the puzzle. You don’t know what the picture will be until you assemble all the pieces, one at a time.
Assembling together is more than meeting once a week. Period.
The biggest case against Christ that the unsaved people of this world have, I believe, is that His disciples can justify a Christianity that says: “See you next week” Sunday after Sunday, year after year.
What? Is there not more to being a follower of the King of Kings than “see you next week”? Even the pagans are committed to their “gods” as little as that! The Free Masons in my town pack out their building once or twice a month with extreme regularity and great attendance. So do Weight Watchers and the Lion’s Club. You know what I mean. Add up your own list – 4 H, Boys and Girls Club, Fitness Club, Scouts, Fishing Club, Book Club…
Assembling together as the early church did it.
Would you take a few moments and reflect with me on a few verses that express how the church assembled together?
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. Acts 2:46
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. Acts 20:7
What I take away from these verses and the whole tenor of the New Testament is that this is more than a once-a-week-meeting-club. Discipleship in “the way” was costly. They did not say “see you next week”; the early church said “see you tomorrow!”
Here is one more look at what it meant for the First Century church to assemble together:
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb 3:13