“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another—and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:25

When we view the Church as the Body of Christ—a living organism where each member is essential—and the Family of God, we’ll better understand the importance of our active involvement.

In many ways the Church is viewed as a “hatching, matching and dispatching center”—i.e., a place to celebrate the birth of a child and publicly dedicate him/her. . .a place to get married. . . and a place to have your funeral.  But, such a view certainly misses the importance of the message contained in today’s Manna.

So often, without thinking, we say “I’m going to church” when we head off to worship or some meeting at the Church facilities.  But, again, this misses the true meaning of “Church”—for the Church is composed of the Redeemed and her gatherings are simply times for worship, celebration, instruction, equipping, etc., and above all “fellowship.”

Now, we know the Greek word for “fellowship” is “koinonia,” which also means “communion, partnership, distribution, shared life, etc.”  Thus, it’s a time of heartfelt interaction whereby the participants experience “Cross-fertilization” or an enriching of their lives through sharing, encouraging, praying with, etc.

Why, then, would anyone “forsake the assembling with others”?

Sometimes it’s pride:  “I’d go down there if it wasn’t for all those hypocrites,” forgetting that they, too, are also a hypocrite.  Sometimes it’s hurt or bitterness:  “Someone said or did something to me one time that hurt me terribly and I’ve never been back;” yet, they forget the Church is, in reality, a “Holy Laboratory” in which the Lord Jesus is working to transform them/us into a Force to change the world.  Sometimes it’s lostness:  They’ve never really experienced the New Birth and feel more at home in the world.

Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers” in London in the late 1800’s, in commenting on Ps. 1:5 (“Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment nor sinners in the Congregation of the Righteous”) once said:  “Why do those who find it hard to enjoy the company of God’s saints even once a week think they’ll go to Heaven when they die?  Our Lord would not dare to punish them with ‘the hell of Heaven’ for an eternity!  Let them not worry; they’ll not be there.”

While his words are quite sharp and piercing, in reality they’re a wake-up call to those whose name is on a church roll, but never attend (except maybe at Christmas, Easter or a special children’s program).  Although going to church will not send one to Heaven, it is usually a good indicator of those who are headed there.  And, it’s certainly impossible for us to “grow in God’s Grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18) without regularly assembling together with other believers.  Our times of fellowship will also help us to “exhort one another as we see the Day (the Rapture, Judgment) approaching.”  How we need that in these last days!  So be faithful in fellowship, Pilgrim; others are counting on you.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 8, 2011

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