Forsaking the Assembly
Be Strong, Be Well — Saturday, April 4
We are coming up on another Sunday when we’ll be apart for our collective worship. As each week passes I have reflected more and more on the meaning of John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
God is not physical or material. He is not confined to one place. Christians can commune with Him in worship wherever they might be. We worship Him in harmony with His nature.
However, we are physical, material beings. We are social beings. God made us in His image and after His likeness. Therefore, He also is a social being.
We need and enjoy being “in spirit” with God in worship. We also need and enjoy that spiritual connection we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we’re together in our collective worship to God, there’s a spiritual connection we have with one another. By being apart from each other, there’s still a spiritual connection, but there’s also a yearning—a need we have of wanting to be together. Paul acknowledged, “For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit…” (Colossians 2:5; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:3).
This brings in the truths of Hebrews 10:24, 25. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
It must be emphasized that faithful, spiritual Christians are not forsaking the assembly just because they are physically absent from the church building. Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were in danger of leaving Christ and going back into Judaism. The meaning of “forsaking” is abandoning or walking away and leaving the church, the body of Christ. Consider the context: “...if we sin willfully” (10:26), “...how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (10:29).
This does not describe us. The elders could never demand this of us. Even if they tied us to a tree to prevent us from coming to the building, they cannot force us to forsake the church. —Chris
(to be continued)