There are those who go around laying a guilt trip on others who are not in church. They are quick to quote: Forsake not ‘the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.’

But Jesus taught that we are to worship IN SPIRIT and in truth. Certainly if we are honest on Facebook, or in Christian forums, we are meeting with others SPIRIT to SPIRIT. And we must not forget WHY we are told to meet together–the important thing is that we fulfill the FUNCTION not merely the FORM (being present together with others).

 

‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins’ (Hebrews 10:24-26)

 

Let’s analyze this passage.

First: WHY is Paul instructing us to do something?

Answer: because ‘if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins’.  So, whatever Paul is instructing us to do, is going to be intended as a remedy or prevention against willful sin (backsliding).

Second: WHAT are we being instructed to do?

Some will say that we are being instructed to go to church, even every time the doors are open, if possible. Is this a remedy or prevention for backsliding? Maybe.

I propose, however, that we are being instructed to ‘consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’ and ‘exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching’. Is this a remedy or prevention for backsliding? I think it’s our best bet.

 

So, now we are left with two instructions:

1. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together

and

2. ‘consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’ and ‘exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching’

 

If we can do both, all is well and good. But if, as is often the case today, we can only do one or the other–which do we choose?

1. The Form: assembling ourselves together

or

2. The Function: provoking each other unto love and good works, and exhorting one another

I would say that function is FAR more important than form. Furthermore, in the case of assembling via Facebook or Christian Forums, I do not see this as a conflict with the instruction to assemble together. If we are honest online, we are meeting with others SPIRIT to SPIRIT. If worship (meeting with God) is to be done IN SPIRIT and in truth–how is it any less acceptable to meet with one another IN SPIRIT?

 

It has been a long, LONG time since I attended a church service and felt I was in spiritual communion with OTHERS there. Sure, I was in spiritual communion with God, but I found VERY few like-minded Christians in churches, and less and less as time went on. Most of the people I met there were very content to scrupulously fulfill the FORM of Paul’s instruction–but the spirit to spirit communion, the loving, provoking, and exhorting one another, were just not there.

This is what we call ‘religion’: the outward form, without the inner substance.

I found most people in church were surprisingly carnal, and until I gradually lost my zeal for God and came to adopt more carnal thinking and living myself (in other words, I backslid) . . . until then, I was not on the same wavelength as them. This desire for fellowship and acceptance caused me to backslide again and again.

I have learned now, that it is better to walk with God, with zeal for righteousness, even if I walk alone.

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