Hebrews 10:25 – “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.”
Forsake – to renounce, to turn away from, or to abandon
So often we hear this verse quoted or preached on solely in the context of being faithful to attend each and every time the Church doors are open. Certainly, this verse means that we ought to be faithful to attend. Yet, someone can forsake the assembling of the saints while still being present at such an assembly.
The assembling of saints is meant for worship, exhortation and the expounding of God’s Word. In order for those to occur, as according to God’s Will, a true saint understands that much needs to be done in private preparation for the assembling of all the saints. We each bear responsibilities outside the Church house that directly impact the services inside the sanctuary. If I turn my back on some of those duties, renounce my daily commitment to perform them, or simply abandon them then I am still forsaking the assembling of the saints even if I am in attendance.
By forsaking my obligations I have forsaken the assembly. If I stand in the way of God’s Will being done in his sanctuary I have turned my back the assembling by failing to see the importance of attending as God would have me to attend. Arriving for church unequipped or ill prepared is potentially worse than not attending church. When I miss church, I am hurting myself; when I attend without duly preparing, I risk quenching the Holy Spirit and robbing everyone of what God intended for them.
Although we may attend, unless we have fulfilled our duty towards Sanctification, The First Fruits, and Attention, we have still forsaken the reason why God’s people assemble.
1). Sanctification – I am sanctified when I am solely set aside for God’s use and glory. It’s a second by second effort to remain sanctified in our sin cursed flesh. If I haven’t addressed the problems with sin, iniquity, harboring the wrong spirit or failing to separate myself from the world, it’s like I’m absent from service even if I’m in attendance. These are signs of my heart being in a far country. I am not sanctified and reserved for God when I am betwixt the world and God. Just because I may feel less guilty by attending a service does not mean that I haven’t forsaken the reason for assembling.
2). The First Fruits – Yes, tithing is a form of worship; it should always be present in the house of God. But in addition to tithing, if I have daily given the first fruit of my time, thoughts, actions, and dedication toward the Lord I’ll show up prepared to give back to Him in proper worship. God expects us to assemble being ready to pour out the worship that has been accumulating and bubbling over from our daily communion with Him in private. If He only receives my wallet during church, He hasn’t gotten all of my first fruits. In fact, if this is the case, I’ve robbed God of what is due Him as my Savior, Lord, and the Sovereign that spoke everything into existence. By not preparing to come to the assembly with worship I’ve forsaken the reason to come (meaning I’m vessel that has abandoned its purpose in the assembly).
3). Attention – When present, I’m forsaking the assembling when I fail to give God my attention. God spoke to Moses from a bush, to Balaam through a donkey, to Jacob through a wrestling match, and so many others outside a specified building. He didn’t tell you to show up because He couldn’t reach you elsewhere, He instructs us to attend so that we all may receive the same Word and be of one mind and in one accord. Don’t harken to the man behind the pulpit, allow God to take the words of His Preacher and conform you to His Will by the work of His Spirit. Be attentive to what He would have you to do, how He would have you to worship, and how He would have you to change. I can listen to the preacher and tune God out. I can get caught up in a feeling and ignore the reason that others are excited. Attentiveness to God is imperative, without it…. I might as well have staved at home.
To summarize briefly, showing up to church is not the entirety of our obligation in Hebrews 10:25. Forsaking the assembling of saints is just as easily done by someone in attendance as someone laying out of church. Ask God how He would have you prepare for the service tonight, obey His instructions and you’ll be amazed at how different service is when you’re plugged in to the things of God. Then repeat that process daily! By the time Sunday rolls around, you’ll be ready to kick the doors down just to praise the Holy God Jehovah.
Your fellowservant in Christ,
Bro. Jordan Foster