Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25
Why are we commanded to assemble together? This pattern was established in the very earliest days of the church as the disciples met together and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. However, today we find many who have discarded this instruction. Is it still important to meet with other believers even though we can listen to great biblical podcasts, share prayer requests by text or Facebook and have access to Bible studies on line? At home, I can find a sermon which is more relevant to my current struggles and choose worship songs which minister to my spirit.
What advantages does participating in church offer? Can I maintain a close walk with the Lord without the complications? Why should I carve time out of my week to come corporately before the Lord with other people who may be difficult or view Christian life principles differently than I do?
I noticed as I was re-reading what I had written, the words “I” and “ME” appeared many times. When I am not in fellowship within a church, what I want and what I think I need gets prioritized over God’s glory revealed in community. In contrast to all those questions above, I recognize it is crucial to be a part of a local church. Since the church is referred to as the body of Christ, and He is the head, can one part (whether a hand or kidney), be detached from the body and fulfill its purpose?
Hebrews 10 describes a few reasons why we assemble together.
* God desires for us to partake of His goodness together (koinonia)– even if we cannot see the immediate benefit, we can affirm the words of Jesus, “not my will, but yours.”
* It enables us to hold fast to our confession, not wavering in unbelief. As the world bombards us with lies and compromise, we affirm what is true.
*Sharing testimonies allows us to remember God’s faithfulness and recognize His provision both in our lives and in the lives of others.
*It provides opportunities to encourage others to love and good deeds. We may not realize the effect just one word of encouragement or act of love conveys to the person who is struggling to keep faithful.
*It strengthens us to endure as “the day” draws near. As evil becomes more pervasive and followers of Jesus are mocked, we want to stand firm in Him, awaiting His glorious return.