Friday, February 24, 2012

Hebrews 10:25

"... not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some..."

What an interesting peek into first-century church attendance (!)... then, as now, the flesh cooperated with the enemy to oppose gathering regularly with other believers for worship.
And the flesh is amazingly adroit when it comes to excuses & reasons for staying away---
"I don't get anything out of the sermon." "All the people down there at the church are hypocrites, anyway." "Sunday is the one day I can get everything done I couldn't do all week." "All that preacher talks about is money." "I can worship better in the privacy of my own home, with the televised service." "They don't miss me, nohow." "After what they did, I wouldn't go back there if they begged me!" "I have my radio preachers." "It's just a country club over there." "It's too big." "It's too small." "It's too far." And a multitude more beside these...
These expressions of the flesh, with its selfishness, wounded pride, laziness, and arrogance, work hand-in-glove with the enemy of our soul in his hatred of the assembled saints known as the church.
Why would he bring to bear such incessant pressure against the body of Christ, both from without and from within? Better than we, he knows the spiritual impact in the unseen realm that is unleashed when God's people meet in worship of their sovereign King. Gauging by how much opposition our enemy puts forth, we can be assured the regularly-assembled church does some rather serious damage to his kingdom, and he is not amused.

Is there spiritual warfare going on every time the body of Christ gathers in His Name for corporate worship? Absolutely. Indeed, the enemy is already at work before folks ever leave their homes, seeking to dissuade them from even coming to God's house of worship, lest his kingdom of lost souls sustain even more damage. Were we to catch but a glimpse of that realm on a morning when believers are preparing to gather, how much more diligent we would be to put on the whole armor of God in prayer, with a keener awareness of what's at stake in the heavenlies when the Word goes forth from the pulpit! May the living God of all that is, grant a genuine awakening among His people, restoring a zeal for gathering in His Name faithfully, regularly, joyfully, encouraging one another as the day of His return draws near.

4 comments:

Renee (Faithwalker) said...

People will always fail us. The key is to forgive when they do and continue to love them, not always an easy task. I love to go to church and yes, I have been hurt by many "churches." God never said Christians were "perfect" but what I experience in the presence of fellow believers has a powerful impact on my walk with Christ. I've tried the "alone" approach. Thankfully, God reminded me of His way and I am back in a church and oh, what a difference it makes!

Grace said...

I was raised in churches where there was great emphasis on church attendance. I never questioned those teachings as it was made clear that attendance was vital to our beliefs.
I do believe that the most important reasons for church attendance are because for us as Christians the fellowship of other believers, the discipleship and the accountability are very vital to our spiritual health and well-being.
I saw a painting many years ago that I believe illustrates your point, doc! I cannot do it justice, but it was a young pastor preaching holding his Bible as a sword in battle. The congregation listens, while overhead the viewer sees the non-visible battle between angels and demons for the souls of man.
What a powerful image. To think, it has stuck with me well over 20 years!

Eric said...

In fact, the Biblical pattern is meeting together every day (end of Acts 2) - but we must not forget there are genuine reasons to not attend a church:

1) It preaches heretical doctrine
2) God has called one to go somewhere where attending a church is literally impossible (someone is out in a forest walking in the power of the Holy Spirit in deep communion with God, for ex.)

Dr. Mac said...

Eric,
"Though there is no explicit NT statement authenticating Sunday worship, there are plenty of verses dealing with Sunday, the first day of the week, as being special, a day of breaking bread, and of gathering collections.

Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1-7; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first day of the week (John 20:19).
Jesus appeared inside the room to the eleven disciples eight days after the first day of the week. The Jewish way of measuring days meant that it was again Sunday
(John 20:26).
The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, the first day of the week (Lev. 23:16; Acts 2:1).
The first sermon was preached by Peter on the first day of the week (Acts 2:14).
Three thousand converts joined the church on the first day of the week (Acts 2:41).
The three thousand were baptized on the first day of the week (Acts 2:41).
The Christians assembled broke bread on the first day of the week.
The Christians also heard a message from Paul on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Note: the reference is until midnight which is not the Jewish method of measuring days, but the Roman system.
Paul instructed the churches to put aside contributions on the first day of the week
(1 Cor. 16:2).
Jesus gave the apostle John the vision of Revelation on the first day of the week
(Rev. 1:10)." -- CARM.org
Thanks for your comment regarding exceptions such as heresy & isolated surroundings. Those are to be the exception rather than the rule. Heb. 10:25 is warning of a habit some ease into.
Dr. Mac