Why Saints Assemble
“Not forsaking tile assembling of ourselves together–” (Heb. 10:25) is a clear statement of God’s will in the matter; and some babes in Christ may “go to church” compelled by fear of God’s wrath. This is a legitimate motive, albeit one that is less needed by the more mature Christian. The collective action of saints, with its attendant assemblings, is far more than an self-justifying end. It grows out of the basic character of saints, and their God-appointed purposes.
Early Christians were “together” “with one accord”. (Acts 2:44-46) A closeness, and singleness of purpose such as theirs brought them together physically, just as it will bring true Christians together today. They gravitated toward one-another for prayer as fishermen gather to discuss lures; they had a common interest and object of worship.
They loved the truth, and their “delight” was in the law of the Lord. (Matt. 5:6 Psm. 1:2) When people are hungry, they do not have to be urged to go where there is food; nor do they eat “because of a sense of duty.”
Faithful Christians had great respect and veneration for Jesus Christ (1 Cor.11:23-f.) hence, welcomed opportunity to participate in the memorial supper. Their hearts were warmed and faith renewed as they worshipped “in remembrance of” Christ.
Each one’s concern for his own spiritual welfare, as well as that of fellow Christians, was reflected in the assembling. In Heb. 10:23-25 note how “let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” is related to their gathering together. And because “every man according to his ability, determined –” the making of a common treasury brought them together. (Acts 11:29 1 Cor.16:1-3) A pooled fund is the means of exchange by which a plurality of saints act as one to do God’s will. Some early churches were so anxious to do God’s work they begged Paul to take their offering. (2 Cor. 8:4) The next verse explains this eagerness: they had given themselves to the Lord.
Saints today assemble for these same reasons. I do not refer to those who occasionally “attend” worship; I mean those who worship with regularity, the faithful few or many.
The indifferent and the hypocrites make excuses; perhaps even try to make some “logical” argument, as, “I can worship God, being alone.” Of course what one could do, being alone, is hardly the question. The hypocrite is seldom alone (i.e., there are other saints within reach) and if one were alone there is little reason to believe he would worship God. Such people usually compound their wrong by lying — to others, to themselves, and to God.
If you are a “oncer” (once-a-week) or worse, allow yourself a moment of truly honest self-inspection, Can you believe that one who loves his brethren because they are brethren, who delights in Bible study, has deep respect for the Lord’s Supper, and is truly concerned for God’s work and his own soul, would “do as you do”??
Robert F. Turner
The Challenge of Truth
There is challenge in TRUTH. Towering, majestic and awesome, it beckons the climber. Great and wonderful, clothed in mysteries, it threatens and promises. Benevolently reaching to the world, it summons all; yet sternly holds aloft its’ crown, to challenge each who comes.
Below, in railed and graded trails move masses. Camera-clicking tourists, worn by travel; scarce grasp their guide’s trained words, and far less understand the magic scene. And as the way grows steeper, more and more are faint, and wander aimlessly– adrift in parks and glades of theory, with their creeds.
Content to pay lip service to the fountainhead above, they sip its waters, grimace, and add sweets or bitters to their taste. “It’s wonderful,” they say. “We must organize a party and bring others to this way.” So they sip, and talk; they praise with shallow phrase, then pause to rest, and resting, sleep.
Still TRUTH– glorious, wondrous, whole truth, wreathes its head with hoary clouds and calls with voice of thunder: Onward! Upward ! Excelsior! Error shouts derision, and stops the ear. With arrogance he hides his wounds and walks another way. Tradition, richly garbed and stiff with age, dares not attempt the rugged path. And weaklings, fearing to look heavenward, support a course that others plan, and wish themselves in better clime.
But faith responds, and in the earnest seeker whets desire. He dares look up. Toiling, sweating, step by step, he climbs. Struggling across downed timbers on the slope, he pushes upward. Pressing through the brush slipping with the shale, he moves onward. Onward, upward, higher and higher, his lungs afire, .he climbs with foot, and hand; with heart, and soul.
For TRUTH he lives and, if needs be, dies. He asks no quarter, hears no scorn. His hope is fastened on this goal, whose misty drapery sometimes part and to his raptured eyes reveal its sun swept crest.
He needs no other prize than this for here men humbly walk with God.
Robert F. Turner