Not Forsaking Our Own Assembling
God gave to man two kinds of commands. There are moral commands. We are not to kill. We are not to lie. We are not to commit adultery. We could continue this list almost indefinitely. There is another kind of command. These that we have mentioned are commanded because they are right. The other kinds of commands are right because they are commanded. They are right because God commands them. Let us give you some examples: God commanded man not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). Certainly there was nothing moral about this command. It was a command that was right simply because God commanded it. Man violated that command and the result of that sin still curses mankind. God told the priests what fire they were to use on his altars (Leviticus 10:1). There was nothing moral involved in this act but God killed the two sons of Aaron because they offered fire "WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED NOT" (Leviticus 10:2,3). We shall give you another example of what happened when man violated a positive command of God. God had said that the ark of the covenant was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites (I Chronicles 15:2). Instead of that, David made a cart to carry the ark and the cart was pulled by oxen (I Chronicles 13:7-10). One of the oxen stumbled and one of the men that was driving the oxen, put forth his hand to stay the ark and God killed him. There was no moral law violated, but a POSITIVE COMMAND of God was broken. GOD KILLED THIS MAN.
What does all this mean to us? The Holy Spirit says it was written for our learning. It was written for our example (I Cor. 10:6, 11). God gave to us in Hebrews 10:25 a positive command. That command is that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). We may assemble at other times but we are to assemble on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The purpose of the assembly is to break bread. We are also to lay by in store upon that day (I Cor. 16:1-2). There is no moral virtue in assembling but it is a positive command of God. We have learned what it means to violate God's positive commands. God warns us about the consequence of forsaking the assembly. In verse 26 of Hebrews 10, He says that "IF WE SIN WILLFULLY AFTER WE HAVE RECEIVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, THERE REMAINETH NO MORE A SACRIFICE FOR SINS, BUT A CERTAIN FEARFUL EXPECTATION OF JUDGMENT AND A FIERCENESS OF FIRE THAT SHALL DEVOUR THE ADVERSARIES" (Hebrews 10:26, 27). Could God be plainer in talking to us about the terrible fate of those who forsake the assembly?
God is anxious for us to obey this command to assemble. We read verse 24 of the same chapter: "and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works." If we love one another we will want the fellowship of our fellow Christians. To assemble, the Lord says, is a good work. However, the greatest thing of all is that we have fellowship with Jesus Christ. LISTEN CAREFULLY AS I READ: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). What a glorious thought! Some from India have written to tell me that their little church buildings have been destroyed by the recent floods. It is of little moment, for when we meet under the trees, JESUS IS THERE, that is if we meet in His name. He assures us that he is there. Better to meet under a tree in the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST than to meet in the finest cathedral on earth in the name of man.
Many years ago I was going down the road and a brother pointed out a house that we passed and said that the man that lived there was a member of the church. I went to see him again. I asked him why he forsook the assembly. He said that if he came to the service he could not have his noon meal at twelve o'clock. I agreed that that was right. He said that if his wife did not have a cup of tea by 12 o'clock she had a headache. THE LORD SAYS THAT THOSE WHO MAKE EXCUSES SHALL NOT TASTE OF HIS SUPPER (Luke 14:16-24).
The Holy Spirit declares that Jesus saves those that obey Him: "and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). One of the ways in which we obey him is to assemble on the first day of the week. Those who keep his commandments have the right to the tree of life (Rev. 22:14). Those who disobey have a fearful expectation of judgment. To which can you look forward?
J.C. Bailey (1987, Bengough, Saskatchewan)
Published in The Old Paths Archive