Monday, July 17, 2017
“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” (Hebrews 10:25 KJV).
In the sixties, I worked with a congregation that had members who were farmers and worked about 1,500 acres. When harvest time arrived, they needed to get into the fields before the rains came. This meant they would miss at least a Sunday and maybe a Wednesday night during harvest time.
We had an elder’s wife that was very critical of this family. She believed they were guilty of “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Her husband worked with the city’s light, water, and gas company. When storms came in and power went out, he had to be at work to supervise the repairs. Sometimes this would be on a Sunday or Wednesday night. He missed those assemblies. I reminded the elder’s wife of this contradiction. Her reply? “That’s different!” How was it different? She stated,
“My husband works for the company and doesn’t have any say in the matter. He must be at work when called. The farmers are working for themselves. So, they can put off getting their crop in since they can’t be fired.”
If the family lost their crop through delay, they lost their livelihood. Why couldn’t the elder tell his boss that he would not work on Sunday or Wednesday night even if it meant losing his livelihood? She didn’t think the two were parallel. Therefore, she couldn’t see her inconsistency.
Hebrews 10:25-29 refers to a different audience! Neither the farmer or the elder are under consideration. Some have segregated verse 25 from the following verses and substituted something entirely different. Isn’t that adding to the scriptures?
Verse 25 is referring to:
- Deliberately rejecting Jesus as Savior after receiving the truth. That rejection cannot be forgiven because those individuals refuse to return to him.
- Such a one has nothing to look forward to other than terrible punishment from God.
- Terrible punishment will come because that person continues to trample the Son of God under his feet.
- He has treated Jesus blood as unholy.
- And he has despised the Holy Spirit.
Is THAT what an individual is guilty of because he missed a Sunday and Wednesday night to get his ox out of a pit (Luke 14:5)? If that is the case, then anyone who misses a single called assembly, whether it is a Bible class, a worship assembly, Wednesday night, Ladies’ class, Youth meeting, Gospel Meeting, or VBS, must be immediately withdrawn from! Why? Because he believes he can be justified by something or someone else other than Jesus! Is that the condition of that elder or the farming family?
This view would mean that any congregation which does not withdraw immediately from a member who is absent from the last called assembly, is remiss in its duty and because of that neglect becomes a partner in that person’s sins! Is that what the congregation was guilty of because neither the elder nor that family were withdrawn from?
Those who are described in Hebrews 6:4-6 have forsaken the assembly for the following reasons:
- They had been enlightened.
- They had tasted the heavenly gift.
- They had been partakers of the Holy Spirit.
- They had tasted the good word of God.
- They had tasted of the powers of the age to come.
- But, they have fallen away, and cannot be renewed again to repentance. Why?
- Because they continue to crucify the Son of God.
- And they continue to put him to an open shame.
- Their actions clearly show that they have no desire to return to Jesus!
Did the farmer and his boys return to the assemblies once the crop was harvested? Yes.
Did the elder return to the assemblies once the storm repairs had been made? Yes.
Did either one of these miss the assembly because they were never coming back? No!
Some have the idea that Hebrews 10:25 demands that one be in the assembly even if he is sick, even contagious. If one doesn’t get off work in time to attend Wednesday night, some think it is necessary for him to find another job. Yet, there isn’t any passage they can quote which makes that demand! If that is what God commands, why do we continue to be in fellowship with those who will not follow that law?
We need to be careful. If we believe and practice a passage by taking it out of context, we are putting ourselves in the same position as those who bind where God does not (Matthew 23:4; Revelation 22:18-19)!