The older I get, the less I am able to renounce the secular and religious convictions I have –even if they make sense only to me. Many of them are my irreplaceable life standards –like this one from 1 John 5:11 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (Although the foregoing is not an explanation of RELIGION, it could be an outline.) Actually, what really matters to me is that I know clearly what are my convictions, and why I have them.
The Holy Scripture (contained in the Bible) is the blueprint for how and what I think, live, and believe –even when I don’t always align my heart and will as I should. Specifically, I choose to believe the Scripture is God’s Word -God’s decree. (At this time, a debate about belief in God isn’t practical. I’ve discussed why I believe in God in a different composition. I also am not disrespecting anyone else’s right to not believe.)
Equally or more significant than those two passages, I cannot get around this one: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . .”-Hebrews 10:25. No matter how I churn the words around, or even if I would rather enjoy listening to songs and sermons in the comfort of my home, I cannot get around God’s decree about assembling in worship gatherings. For a very long period of my life, I never imagined doing otherwise. I formerly immensely enjoyed religious services prior to the onslaught of— “perilous times” (2 Timothy3:1).
All the same, it is imperative to interject this: the Hebrews 10:25 passage about not ’forsaking the assembling of ourselves together’ is not compelling religious adherents to attend worship services for purposes of personal gratification, nor to attend for social networking, political meandering –regardless of, (in quests for earthly, rather than eternal pursuits), too much of that is precisely what occurs in many churches (aside from the usual & acceptable backstabbing, back biting, plotting, and “sitting in the seat of the scornful”).
Too many ‘gathering together’ Christians live as if they are clueless about what hymns like this mean: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.” Accordingly, certain things have caused “organized religion” to lose its appeal and diminish the sense of community people once looked forward to experiencing. But pointedly, the ultimate objective for not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together seems to lie in the 24th verse which states: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Disinterest toward fellow assembly members is not the way that religious gatherings should be. ALL THE SAME, THERE MUST BE CAUTION TO AVOID DANGEROUS, PREDATORY CHURCH ASSEMBLIES.
Elaborating further, the assembling yourselves “together” verse DID NOT state that when people arrive at congregations, they should mingle only with people who suit their social statuses, or with people who have not (intentionally or unintentionally or even deservedly) offended someone with whom they are friends or related, etc., and so on goes this satisfying mindset. (Example: It’s perfectly okay if Joe Blow steals from Stella Sue because Joe is related to me, and nobody had better be upset about it, talk about it, nor seek restitution. . .Yeah right!) That type of “assembling oneself together” in God’s house of worship is neither the “together” that God intended, nor is the heart and spirit of Jesus Christ –the One who loved the church and gave His life for her (Ephesians 5:2 and 5:25). Jesus DID NOT give His life to create an elite church, nor a church whereby certain people are more meaningful than others! To be blunt, if God wanted people to only associate with “their” kind, arguably they don’t need to utilize HIS HOUSE for their social get-togethers. And frankly, interacting with other members could help to improve their capacity for laboring together in God’s vineyard, for His purposes.
Further, in the gospels, Jesus explicitly taught about addressing offenses (heads up for people who relish whitewashing), of which exposure or confronting is the very thing needed –as Jesus taught, for purposes of gaining “thy brother” (an obvious foreign concept in too many religious assemblies where the focus is NOT the Lord Jesus).
Likewise, the reason why hatred, self-serving, misunderstandings, intolerance, inability & refusal to relate to people with viewpoints and ideals different from COZY / “at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1) Christians, and social cliques, are because too many purported “religious people” refrain from loving people who don’t talk, act, or think as they do. As such, intolerance, prejudice, jealousy (foolish and unfounded!) are major hindrances to why actual purposes for “assembling” together are adversely impacting churches across the nation. Little wonder the Gallup Poll reports: “American Confidence in Religion at All-Time Low” http://www.christianpost.com/news/gallup-american-confidence-in-religion-at-all-time-low-78213/ .
What person of reason relishes “assembling” at environments like those described above?! And “demons” like it when ostracized, tormented, pillaged people who are seeking God are sent away from assemblies wounded and permanently disfigured in their spirits. Demons delight when people are so turned off about church, the Scriptures, and God, that they want complete disassociation. But, after periods of healing, truly religious people understand and believe that Jesus gave His life for His Church. They not only have remorse for personal sins, they are the people who abide or return where God has called them –and they labor and intercede for God’s glory and His purity to prevail in His people, and in churches (everywhere) gathered in His Name. People who are committed to God press onward; they do not sell the truth (Proverbs 23:23); and they are mindful of bygone religious soldiers who were “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding (1 Cor.15:58). . .
TO BE CONTINUED –perhaps