The Importance of Assembling

by Pastor Patrick Cho

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25 is a passage that we refer to often at Lighthouse because of our commitment to the local church and our application of membership. But this passage says much more than simply, “Go to church.” The author of Hebrews is writing to a group of believers who have been tempted to abandon the faith because of the hardships that have come with it through persecution. These believers, who were once practicing Jews, realized that they suffered much less as Jews and so were considering abandoning the faith in order to escape the suffering they were facing. It is in light of this historical context that Hebrews 10:23-25 is written. It is not just a call for believers to be consistent in their Sunday attendance, but to remember how vital it is for believers to congregate together in order to gain the spiritual support that is needed to face difficult trials. Even if it means one would face suffering and persecution, believers must see to it that they do not neglect assembling together in corporate fellowship.

Verse 23 begins, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” This sure confidence is prefaced on the faithfulness of the One who promised salvation. “Faithful” is emphatic in the verse and salvation is saturated throughout the previous context. Since these believers have had their hearts sprinkled clean (vs. 22), they could hold confidently in their faith and have a real sense of assurance. They were not to find strength in themselves. It was not a matter of mustering up enough courage to persevere. It was all about trusting in the One who was ever trustworthy in order to find surety in their faith.

It is in light of the persecution and suffering that the church was in need of greater encouragement, which could only come through the gathering of the saints. This is why it is written, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together…encouraging one another…” Sadly, there are many believers that downplay the importance of congregating together. Some would argue that it is not essential for a believer to go to the church regularly. So much emphasis is placed in the church today upon “personal salvation,” “personal sanctification,” and one’s “personal walk of faith.” We forget that the Bible calls us to a corporate faith. One of the reasons why we struggle so much is that there is an overemphasis on self in the church without enough emphasis on the body. The author of Hebrews is saying that the assembling together is necessary in order to overcome the temptations to fall away during times of difficulty. The other members of the body can help to encourage you and stimulate you to love and good deeds. And likewise, you can help to encourage and stimulate others. Both directions of this mutual edification are necessary.

We need to remove from our minds the thought that church is only there to help us grow in faith, feed us, and equip us. There is too much of this self-centered emphasis on church with an attitude of, “What am I going to get out of it?” The author of Hebrews reminds us that one of the essential elements of Christian fellowship is that you would minister to others and help keep them strong in the faith. It makes me wonder if we would be practicing church discipline as often as we do and having members struggle as seriously as they do if our church body would seek to encourage and minister to one another more.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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