|Vol. 13 No. 8 August 2011||
Mark N. Posey
For Christians, there is no substitute for attending church. Many people, however, go to church if they feel they “need it” at the time. Christian motivation for fellowship must be to obey God and to give to others. It is important to attend church to express of our Love for God and to build up our spiritual strength. However, what happens to us when we habitually forsake the assembly?
You will begin to drift (Hebrews 2:1). Slip (pararheo) means, “to flow past, glide by, drift away” (Vine’s, V.1, 339). A ship loosed from its moorings drifts out to sea. Christians leave the church by gradually and subtlety forsaking the assembly. They drift away and became erring Christians (cf. Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:21-22).
You will begin to doubt (Hebrews 3:12-13). The Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness because of their distrust in God (Psalm 95). Yet, the Lord wants spiritually growth (1 Peter 2:2; 3:18). The Corinthians did not grow (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Those that stop growing are “blind, and cannot see afar off, and have forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9). We must grow or we will die!
You will become dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11). The Hebrews had become dull of hearing, which caused their spiritual development to completely stop (5:11). Dull (nothros) means, “slow, sluggish, lazy” (Vine’s, V.1, 343). Lazy Christians cultivate no home for the Word in their hearts. Their hearts are crowded with worldly cares.
You will backslide (Hebrews 6:4-6). Remember there is a great difference between falling and falling away. Falling away is not just falling into some sin; it is actually departing from Jesus Himself. Hebrews is filled with warnings against turning away from Jesus Christ, the only source of salvation (2:1-3; 3:12-14; 4:1, 11; 10:26-39; 12:25).
You will face the wrath of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). It is fearful indeed to one day face the God that has been rejected and offended so greatly! The Christian emphasis must be in accordance with 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.”
In conclusion, there is great danger in forsaking the assembly! A Christian has a biblical obligation to be faithful in attendance of the assembling of Christ’s church.
No matter how serious or troublesome a thing might be, there’s always someone who can come up with something funny, ludicrous or downright ignorant to say about it. You can prove this to yourself by recalling things you have heard said about mothers-in-law, tornadoes or arthritis. Most small towns have two or three cultural centers, from which the local folks derive their daily enlightenment. Generally, these are the barber shop, the courthouse square or the spot where all the checker players hang out. A discussion of marriage, in just such a place, recently turned up some very enlightening thoughts. One fellow quoted a philosopher, named Epicharmus, as having said, “Marriage is like casting dice. If chance brings you a good and virtuous woman, your lot is happy! If you gain instead a gadding and gossiping and thriftless queen, no wife is yours, but an everlasting plague in woman’s garb, and the habitable globe holds not so dire a torment anywhere.”
Another fellow spoke up and said, “It is better to be half hanged than to be ill wed.” Then, there was the mastermind who postulated the idea that a perfect marriage would consist of a blind bride and a deaf groom. All of this reminds one of some professing themselves to be wise (Romans 1:22).
On the other hand, God’s Holy Word has much to say about marriage. First of all, “And the Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). In His infinite wisdom, the God Who made us certainly knows the innate need for man to have a loving and compatible companion. Understanding also the fleshly desires in mankind, God wisely provides instruction to prevent man from sinning in this regard. “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2).
In this troubled day and time, there is much evidence that some segments of our society are determined to leave the God-appointed way for man and woman, and doing so, they wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman” (Romans 1:26-27).
Without doubt, God has a plan for mankind! It is simple enough that it can be understood! The natural thing is for man to marry, leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and God’s instructions are that no one may put them asunder (Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:6)! Of a truth! The natural use in God’s scheme for mankind is spelled out in His Holy Word. What about marriage? “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). In contradistinction to the cornfield philosophy noted above, the Bible paints a wonderful picture of marriage as God would have it. Observe: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is us rottenness in his bones” (Proverbs 12:4). “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).