NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLY
Republished January 12, 2006 (first published May 18, 2005) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) -
The following is from the Way of Life Advanced Bible Studies Series title on Hebrews. This important book opens the veil and invites us to gaze upon the throne in the holy of holiness on high more plainly than any other book of the New Testament. Hebrews “presents the only full discussion in the New Testament of Christ as the believer’s High Priest.” We show that the blood was not merely symbolic for death but was itself a crucial part of the atonement. The book of Hebrews teaches us anew that the Bible is a self-interpreting Book. In the book of Hebrews we have a divinely-given interpretation of the Old Testament tabernacle and priesthood. These were types of Christ and prophecies of the future and we are not left to imagine what they might mean. We are given a definite key to their interpretation. Hebrews, of course, is not only for Jews. It is for all of God’s people throughout the church age, and it is a very practical book. Scattered throughout are exhortations to everyday Christian living based on the doctrine that is taught. Hebrews contains essential instruction about sanctification, backsliding and apostasy, Bible study, prayer, the exercise of faith, chastisement, the ministry of exhortation, church attendance, church leadership, hospitality, and worship. 307 pages, 7X8, perfect bound. $14.95, available from Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061. 866-295-4143, email@example.com.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
1. The “assembling of ourselves together” is clearly a reference to the New Testament church of which every believer is to be a faithful member. This is the example that is given throughout the book of Acts, beginning with Acts 2:41-42. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and has been commissioned to fulfill the Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). The Commission was given to the apostles, who were the representatives of the churches.
Such a great and glorious work requires faithful workers, and those who neglect the church are neglecting their spiritual duty. No human institution can be successful apart from committed and faithful members. This is true for a business, a football team, or a government agency. And it is equally true for the church. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). “As spiritual declension sets in, one of the first things to fade is faithfulness to the assembly of the local church. Observe that even then, wavering Christians were sporadic in attendance to their local churches” (Sorenson).
2. To neglect the assembly is spiritually dangerous. As the church needs every believer, every believer needs the church. Every believer needs the church’s ministry of teaching and shepherding. It is a matter of spiritual wisdom and safety. Just as a child needs his parents, a believer needs pastors and fellow believers. The church is the local manifestation of the family of God, and it is where the child of God finds shelter and assistance in a dangerous world
3. We see the importance of the ministry of exhortation (“but exhorting one another,” Heb. 10:25). The believer should not attend the assembly merely to be a spectator or even merely to learn; he should attend to contribute something. He should be there to exhort his brothers and sisters in Christ, to encourage them, to challenge them, to speak a word of warning as needed. The word “exhort” is from the Greek “parakaleo” and means to “to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, exhortation or consolation” (Strong). This Greek word is also translated “intreat” (Lk. 15:25), “desire” (Acts 8:31), “beseech” (Acts 13:42), “comfort” (Acts 16:40), “call for” (Acts 28:20), and “pray” (Acts 16:9).
4. Faithfulness to the house of God will be increasingly important as the coming of Christ draws near (“and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,” Heb. 10:25). The New Testament warns that apostasy will increase throughout the church age (2 Tim. 3:5). Apostasy is likened to tares which the devil sows and which will grow up together with the true seed throughout the age (Mat. 13:24-30). Apostasy is likened to leaven which a woman hides in the loaf of the true churches “until the whole was leavened” (Mat. 13:33). Paul warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Therefore, it is incumbent upon God’s people to be increasingly cautious as the day of Christ draws near, and a necessary part of spiritual safety is faithfulness to the New Testament church. This reminds us, of course, of how important it is to be in a strong, godly, Bible-based church as opposed to one that is morally careless, lukewarm, or based on man-made tradition (e.g., sacramentalism, infant baptism, amillennialism, etc.).
5. This verse says God’s people can see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25). Though the return of Christ is imminent and could happen at any time (Mat. 24:42-44) and though the rapture is not preceded by specific signs in the same sense of those that will precede His glorious appearing at the end of the Tribulation, the age will grow increasing evil and increasingly like the days of Noah so that the believer can have a general idea that Christ’s return draws nigh.