Do not forsake the gathering of the brethren
DO NOT FORSAKE THE GATHERING OF THE BRETHREN
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The point of this article is to educate as always, secondly it is to bring you to the awareness of an encounter I had recently. I will discuss something which is close to my heart, the scripture above bearing witness of what I aim to speak about.
For the past year or so, I have not been part of one specific church (as a member). I am not the stereotypical Christian, which you can find at a church building every week. I would like to say from the beginning, that I am not in any way against people who choose to take one day in the week, in devotion to God. This devotion may not even be a church building as many believers in the time of the twelve disciples met in houses. Realistically it is fair to say, anywhere you may meet could be acceptable in the eyes of God. God doesn’t look on the outward but the inner man, we saw this when God spoke to the Prophet Samuel at the house of Jesse (1 Samuel 16).
I want to set out certain things early to eradicate any wrong preconceptions you may have. The church is not the building place, the church is the body of Christ, the word church comes from a Greek word which means a calling out, a popular meting or religious assembly. By looking at this root word we can see that if you and others meet to discuss God, you are effectively ‘in church’ as the term is said. The reason I emphasis this point is some are misled to believe that if you are not part of a mega church as it is known, then you do not go to real church, others say if in a house then that can’t be church. The truth is you could both be right and you could both be wrong! People meet up every day with the title Christ and are so far from worshipping him while others meet in little groups and live a sanctified life. This is also reversible. God is not completely interested in where you meet as God understands that not everyone can make it to these so called church buildings, God’s emphasis is on true worship. Jesus in John 4 highlighted that the Father wanted true worshippers, worshippers who worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.
So if what has been written prior is the case, then why does the Bible say “Do not forget to go to the ‘church, in relation to a building?’ Well if you are like me and actually take time to build relations with God and study his word, you would be saying that the Bible never ever said that. Someone recently questioned me and said Israel, what’s going on? The Bible says don’t forsake the gathering of the brethren. I did not really respond but thought about what was being attempted to be imposed. As I wrote this it came to me, forsaking the gathering has nothing to do with a building. I associate myself with believers many times during the week, I worship with people, I share my understanding and lessons with many during the week and I say this not to prove anything to you. God knows I do not forsake gathering together with believers. I may never go to a building again which has the title church on the front post and still will not be in violation of the scripture above.
You must now ask the question, what does the word forsake mean? The word forsake comes from a Greek word which means to leave behind in some place or to desert. If I went on to decide that I no longer wish to meet with other saved people, or fellowship then that is where a problem will occur. Do not let people force you into going to a church or specific meeting, as if you are not there with your heart then it is worse for you. You have to do things in life for God and not men.
This was an interesting post. I suppose the question I would have then, is to whom are you held accountable if you do not associate with a church body on a regular basis (understanding it’s not the “building”)? Do you find church discipline a Biblical concept? Just curious. Thanks.
First I am accountable to God, as all believers should be, secondly, I have been part of different meetings and thirdly to the people I associate myself with on a daily basis. These are the people who I am accountable to in this sense. Briefly speaking about church accountability, many churches today are so big there is no real accountability anyway, this is due to the fact many churches are a business first and then fellowship. Finally, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by church discipline- can you elaborate please.
Thank you for your response; I’ve always been curious about why believers might choose to not belong to a local church body. I agree that large churches have the challenge of how to shepherd their flock effectively, and unfortunately, many fail in this area; but I’m not sure it doesn’t mean that accountability and discipline are not meant to be there. Here is one article that gets more into what “church discipline” is and entails: http://bible.org/article/church-discipline
For sure I don’t know the right answer, but I thank you for your willingness to answer my questions.
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