By Jerry Ousley
says: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as
the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the
more as you see the Day approaching." We have used this verse of
Scripture for years to brow-beat people into attending church.
We've had this idea that we have to grow our congregations as
large as we can to make them successful. To accomplish this goal
we have used every tool and program possible to get people into
our buildings. I'm not necessarily saying this is wrong. That
depends on the spirit driving these congregations to make their
church grow. Every body of believers needs to seek God
independently about this and make sure that they are in God's
will. But I'm not sure that we have explored every aspect of
The first and most important thing congregations need to do is to win souls to Jesus Christ. That is our number one job. If we aren't telling others how to come to Christ then everything else we do is in vain. Of course Christians need to grow and learn about God, His love for them and how He wants them to love Him back. But the salvation experience must come first.
There are many excellent pastors who have a heart to see people come to Jesus Christ and then grow in their personal relationship with God. These men and women have given their lives to the cause of pointing the souls of men in the right direction that will bring them peace and assure them of eternal life with God. They deserve to have people come into their congregations because frankly these are the people who can help other believers enter fellowship with God as He intended.
Another look at this verse of scripture reveals that Paul didn't say "You've got to go to church to be a Christian." He said that we shouldn't abandon coming together as believers. He continued by saying that we should exhort, or teach and encourage each other more and more as we see the Day approaching. Paul knew the old adage that "there's safety in numbers." We are basically social creations and we need others in our lives. As we gather with other believers whether that is in a traditional church setting, a dinner, or meeting together in a living room, as we share our faith, our testimonies of what God has brought us through and revealed to us, we help each other grow. It's not where we come together but simply coming together. With today's technology we can come together in a lot of different ways including the internet. This touching of each other's lives is the important thing.
What is the "Day" Paul mentioned? He was referring to the Day when final things would begin to happen. All through scripture we are warned that in the last days there would be signs of Christ's return. I don't have time right now to go into all of those things but let's summarize it by saying that all the events Jesus talked about are happening right now. I know that there have always been wars and rumors of wars. There have always been disasters and hatred by men. But never before in history have we seen all these signs coming together as quickly as we are seeing them right now. War is taking place. Rumblings of greater conflicts are on the horizon. The earth is rapidly changing and we hear about global warming. We see stranger than normal droughts in some areas while other areas that have been normally dry are experiencing floods like never before. The wickedness in the hearts of people is worse every day. If there was ever a day believers need each other it is today. We need to come together like never before because the Day Paul spoke of is rapidly approaching.
Let's re-evaluate our assembling together. It's not a thing of filling up buildings and getting big offerings. It's not about constructing religious empires. It's not about whose congregation is the largest. It is about believers growing strong in the Lord and being ready and willing to serve Him so we can get more to believe and come to Him before that Day arrives. Please, make a point this week to assemble with believers, worshipping God in spirit and in truth, exhorting each other for all our sakes.
Jerry D. Ousley is the Author of three books, "Soul Challenge", "Soul Journey" and "Ordeal." Listen to our daily broadcast Spirit Bread. Find out more by visiting www.spiritbread.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org