1. Some are not convinced that the Bible is binding on them. They think of the Bible as sort of inspired but not plenarily inspired. They feel that they can take what they want and reject what they do not want. But notice that it is the assembling of ourselves together that is not to be forsaken. This is a New Testament teaching and Christ gave us a New Testament by which we are reconciled to God. If one command is binding so are all the others. 2 John 9 teaches that if we abide not in the doctrine of Christ we have not God.
2. Others are caught up in the pleasures, riches, and troubles of this world and so forsake the assembly. Hebrews 9:27 states that we are going to die and after this the judgment. We will be judged by whether or not we obeyed such scriptures as “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together...” (Hebrews 10:25). Christ is coming again and he will judge us by the gospel (Romans 2:16). We need to “take time to be holy” and worship the Lord regularly in the assembly of the saints.
3. Some become involved in sinful relationships and forsake the assembly. People guilty of living in adultery usually do not assemble because they feel unworthy to worship. Others get involved in drugs and alcoholic drink which get such a hold on their lives that they don’t even consider the assembly or worship. To such people the Lord said, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). They need to change their lives and start worshipping God regularly.
4. Some are rocky soil that cannot be regular in what they do. In the fire and zeal of a revival they will obey the gospel but it is very tempting to just lose interest and quit worshipping after the fire has gone out. Such people need to dig out the spiritual rocks from their lives so they can get their spiritual roots down and “be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). The Lord wants faithful service.
5. Still others call themselves of the New Age Movement which teaches that anything you do is worship and feeling that way they don’t think it necessary to assemble with the church to worship. They need to realize that there is a difference in worship and service. Worship is “reverence paid to Deity” while service is the good deeds one does as a Christian. God has always required that Christians come together in worship (Matthew 18:20; Luke 4:16; Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 11:20; 14:26). One can certainly take time to worship at home by prayer, singing, and studying the word, but he is also commanded to come together at intervals for public worship. Do not forsake the assemblies of the church.
6. Some forsake the assembly because they are harboring hate in their hearts toward members of the church feeling mistreated. It is much too serious for us to be faithful to worship with the saints to let anyone stand between us and this worship. Jesus said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10).
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO WHO HAVE BEEN FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLY?
1. Realize that they are sinners undone before God, not ready to die and not prepared for the judgment. While there is time to make a change you should certainly do so because the same scripture that tells us to not forsake the assembly also states that if one sins willfully that there remains no more sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. (Hebrews 10:26-27).
2. Realize that they cannot separate themselves from the assemblies of Jesus’ church and still have Christ. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:5, 6). If we do not remain in Christ, we cannot die in Christ, and we have no promise that after death we would rest from our labors (Revelation 14:13).
3. By forsaking the public assemblies they have committed a public sin which requires a public confession. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16). As Peter told the sinning Simon, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Acts 8:22) I John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
4. If you have been forsaking the assembly the next time the church meets,
come in repentance, confess your sins and ask the prayers of Christians in your
behalf. Then resolve to make time for assembling with the Lord’s church
to worship. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let
us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly
For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28, 29)
By C. Dixon
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