Celebrating 16 years of marriage to my one and only husband today! Praise God for good health and for giving me a guy I can't run off! (I've almost run him off a few times, but he always comes to his senses. LOL)
Today I will elaborate on my commentary in the photo from below. I will start off by stating what should have already started to become obvious by now if you've followed my blog at all; that I disagree with a whole lot of things that we find preached in most churches today. But I still attend church as faithfully as I can, usually only skipping when I know something is going to be preached that I can't sit through while remaining silent (because my reading and understanding of the topic is in stark contrast with how it's often preached) or during the holidays, a time where most churches join hands with the pagans to celebrate things we were never commanded by God to celebrate as part of our worship to Him. (God tells us all throughout scripture that we are to do as He commands, not to find things He hasn't specifically commanded and make holidays out of it.) Some people think that my insistence on church attendance when I disagree so often with the preaching is a poor choice on my part. I will speak more on that later. (Keeping in mind that I am not a single entity here, I have a husband who gets the final say on what we, as a family, do concerning church attendance.)
Having said that, I've always been skeptical of the popular church reading of Hebrews 10:25. First of all, my Bible says that we are not to forsake the "assembling of ourselves together". It does not say, "do not forsake the assembly". While that might sound like splitting hairs, it's not even the assembly/assembling of ourselves that matters here. It's the word "forsake". Does anyone ever look up the meaning of the words we use? When I look in Webster's 1828 dictionary, the word forsake means:
1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from.
Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.
Forsake the foolish, and live. Proverbs 9:6.
2. To abandon; to renounce; to reject.
If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments - Psalms 89:30.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalms 37:8.
3. To leave; to withdraw from; to fail.
In anger, the color forsakes the cheeks.
In severe trials, let not fortitude forsake you.
4. In scripture, God forsakes his people, when he withdraws his aid, or the light of his countenance.
Now we can clearly see from the definitions above that the word forsake, just as I've noted in the photo below regarding Proverbs 28:13, implies permanency. Just because we miss a service of church, or just because we do not attend every single service, does not mean we are forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. The Bible makes this pretty clear, and the dictionary makes this pretty clear also.
I have read, though I can't say I've confirmed the story, that during the time of the writing of the Hebrews, there were people, who we would consider hermits today and who were in the Gnostic vein of Christianity (I use this term loosely here), who went off and lived by themselves. Much like today's monks do, only these guys were completely solitary. When Hebrews 10:25 says, "as the manner of some is", it is referring to these people. What's being instructed here is that we must fellowship with other Christians. It does not give a recommendation as to how often, just that we need to be in fellowship with them. If we go to church at all, we are not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. If we get together regularly in our home with others to hold Bible study, we are not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. I cannot see how "the assembling of ourselves together" can be interpreted to only mean a formal church service. (But then, I think that goes back to someone's interpretation of what the church is; many disjointed local assemblies or the whole body of believers the world over.) In Acts 2:42, which is a reference verse for Hebrews 10:25, the scene looks a little more like a get together at someone's home where fellowship and prayer are present. But I wouldn't be overly argumentative with someone who reads the verse in Acts and sees, instead, a church service. The bottom line here is that we need to come together with the saints and as we get closer to the end days, we need to be doing it more often.
Now, just as we are not to use our freedom in Christ as a reason to freely sin, I think we also should not use this explanation to fellowship with Christians only every now and then. We should want to be with other Christians, we should desire and crave it. And this is why I still go to church, even though I disagree with many of the modern church's teachings. I'm there to fellowship with the saints and while I'm there, I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will teach me something truthful, even if there is a lot of untruth to have to weed through. And there are many times when I hear great sermons of truth and I learn important things. And since I read my Bible and pray regularly for wisdom and discernment, I am able to know when the preaching was brilliant and spot on and when it completely missed the mark.
Now, I have known many people who absolutely will not step foot in any church anymore because they have gotten sick of having to "spit out the bones". They say that they will not sit under the teaching of false teachers. (They believe that as soon as they hear something they disagree with in a sermon, then that preacher is automatically a false teacher.) I can sympathize with that stance more now than I used to be able to. But I also know that if we stopped going to church all together, that it would be very difficult to fellowship with other Christians. Most Christians who are truly Christians go to Church and hang out with their friends at Church. If a true Christian does not go to Church, then it is very difficult to find that Christian and even more difficult to develop a friendship with them. So what is a faithful and obedient Christian to do?
For me, I go to Church. But I will not keep quiet about what I believe. If I get kicked out of any one church, so be it. The elders of that church will have to answer for that when they meet Christ face to face. I will simply look for another church, though, these days, finding one that has more right doctrines than wrong ones is becoming increasingly difficult. There are some doctrines that must be present in a church or else I really can't attend. Ex. Salvation by grace through faith, immersion baptism, eternal salvation, just to name a few. For you, if you choose to avoid formal church services all together, then I would not look down on you. But it is your duty to fellowship with other Christians for the sake of worship and sharpening of the saints. And I'm not one who could agree that the three other members of your immediate family is sufficient in the eyes of God. One function of the church is to hold you accountable and those who do not live in your household are going to be more unbiased than those who do live in your household; therefore, they are more likely to see situations more clearly for the sake of holding you accountable.
But...now that I've completely typed your ear off, here is today's text:
1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lordunderstand all things.
6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
You can read the entire 31 daily Proverbs devotional series by clicking here.
Do you know, if you were to die today, whether or not you'll go to be with Christ after you die? Are you 100% and completely assured of your salvation? If not, please take the time to read this salvation message today. There is nothing more important than giving your life to Christ and securing your place in eternity. I pray the Holy Spirit leads you to a personal relationship with Christ today, and I pray that you follow where the Holy Spirit leads you.