Monday, November 16, 2009

You hate people! But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

I had previously talked about the biblical reality of the vital need for the local church gathering by noting the essence of the Greek word for "church."

It's only fair to share the biblical admonition in that regard.
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 stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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 (ESV)

Not only is the local church (and gathering with/as it) necessary for sanctification, there's a foreboding warning given regarding those who sin by neglecting such meeting together. Note the words immediately following:

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
-Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV)

In other words, those who neglect the gathering of the body are not stirring one another on toward godliness, nor are they being stirred themselves. They are not encouraging one another, nor are they being encouraged.

But also, they show themselves to be not part of Christ's body, His "assembly" (i.e., church) by the sin of absence, with only a fearful expectation of condemnation for God's enemies.

If that doesn't shiver your timbers, nothing will.



At 16 November, 2009 14:11, Anonymous Lionel Woods said...


What if the assembly itself prevents the admonition in the verses you provided? The command is really to "stir" not really assemble correct. The assembly is irrelevant if there is no stirring, so what if the assembly itself impedes the stirring?

I am asking because I am wrestling not antagonistically :o)

At 16 November, 2009 17:02, Blogger GUNNY said...

Good question, Lionel, and I'm reminded I owe you on another post as well.

In short, I'd suggest another assembly, but not no assembly.

Well, the command (hortatory subjunctive) is really to consider how to stir, but yes I think it carries the weight of stirring being imperative.

Yet, it seems to pit stirring against not meeting, in such that I would say that, not only should stirring take place in the assembly, but stirring is not feasible where there is not assembling.

Surely, there can be exhortations to godliness and encouragement thereunto outside of assembling, but I think the writer is trying to convey that those who are not meeting are cutting themselves off from those who would help to them grow in godliness, which seemingly suggests a lack of interest in such godliness because of a lack of conversion.

But, good question you've raised. In keeping with 10:24, let us consider a list of ways in which we might so stir one another.

In other words, what things would you suggest fall into the category of stirring one another to love and good works?

At 17 November, 2009 10:54, Anonymous Lionel Woods said...


That is where the arguement begins my friend. I don't know really what would constitute, but the "one another" seems to be important. I will tell you what I think and then turn a question around if you would dialouge with me a bit as I struggle. I think particapatory/open communication meetings could help.

Here is what I mean, I think the current standard sermon may actually hinder the "stir" imperative (if it is one) in the text. Most churches have come to Sunday School as an option, but you and I both know that less than 40% attend Sunday School, other churches have opted for small groups but we know the number drops belowe 30% for small group attendance. And I think the problem is the Sunday meeting and the high view of it.

So it has to go either way, if we are going to have a high view of the Sunday Meeting then there has to be an environment of communication. If the Sunday meeting is that important and we know that most will not have time or don't care (either way) about the rest of the week, this is the time where communication for stirring one another should be of most importance because we have the greatest possibility of stirring. That may mean testimony time, sharing while the teaching is going forward a more open atmosphere and a structure that encourages this.

So here is my question back, if most of the stirring, discipleship, accountability, caring and so forth goes on throughout the week, why is Sunday Assembly (or whichever assembly day) so important? I guess that is what I don't get. Most leaders have never harped about the weekly meetings but I have heard sermons and read teachings about the meetings where the less impact is made for transformation.


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