“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25
Hebrews 10:25 is probably the most common verse used in defense of the “why” when it comes to regularly attending church services. That is, if one cares about living a life pleasing to God, or a life in obedience to Him. There are, or should be, many more reasons to participate in regular church attendance than just living a life in obedience to God. Maybe this should be our “default” in times when we don’t feel like going to church. But, we must get beyond just “legalistic” church attendance.
There are also other considerations to make which we have had to consider in the last year and a half since we have had to deal with the effects of a major pandemic. “What about zoom meetings, Facebook live, or small groups, do those count?”
In times past, and still today, we had radio ministries, television ministries, and other alternatives with which we could substitute for, or replace, the meeting together when one was sick, or otherwise shut in. All of those substitutes, however, come up short in one way or another for replacing all the benefits of regular meetings. Once again, look at Hebrews 10:25, and this time let us include verse 24 for a little more context.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” – Hebrews 10:24-25.
One thing that jumped out at me in these two verses is the fact that it really isn’t about me. Rather, it is about the “one another” in both of these verses. If I neglect or forsake the regular meeting together with other believers, I am neglecting my responsibility to my fellow believers to help them in their daily walk with the Lord. These verses say that we are to “stir up one another to love and good works” and to “exhort,” or to encourage or comfort one another as we meet together. Granted, we can communicate with each other in various ways, but there is something special about in person, one-on-one meeting together. So also now, if I neglect or forsake the regular meeting together with the believers I am also missing out on the opportunity in my life to be stirred up to love, and good works, and to receive the exhortation, encouragement, or comfort from others as they share with me that which I need.
One more thing to point out in verse 25 is the final statement in the verse: “and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” Now, remember that this was written over 1900 years ago. If the need to meet together was important then, how much more important should it be today as we are closer to that “day!”
As we look around at the world we currently live in do we see any clues to the day approaching or may be getting closer to the day? Look briefly at Jesus‘s message as recorded in Matthew 24.
v. 5: False Christ’s.
v. 6: Wars and rumors of wars.
v. 7: Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.
v. 9: Persecution.
v. 11: Many false prophets.
v. 12: Lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
v. 14: The gospel will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.
How important is it to you to not neglect meeting together? How important is it to you that you not forsake your assembling together? Will you be among those whose “love will grow cold,” or among those “who stir up one another?” We need each other!