Sunday, December 09, 2012


Let’s Get Together
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; 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.” Hebrews 10:23-25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”. This part of verse 25 above is one that is continually used to convince the sheep to remain in their seats. One major flaw with this verse is that it doesn’t say exactly what the leaders of the “churches” want us to think it says.
The writer of the book of Hebrews is admonishing the “in Christ” faithful to hold fast to that faith without wavering. Why? At the end of verse 25 above he states “as you see the day approaching.” The Greek word for see is “blepō” which actually means to discern, as in discern the times. A day was approaching when life as a Christian was going to become very difficult and the writer of the book of Hebrews knew it. When we take those three verses above and read them in context (together) as one thought, we are confronted with something quite different than that which we’ve been taught. In the not so distant future the true follower of Jesus Christ will be confronted with some very tough decisions. We will need to hold fast to the faith (without wavering - unmoved) by what we see approaching, as that faith will be our only refuge. There will come a time, in the not so distant future, when the true followers of Jesus Christ will find themselves being horribly persecuted, and much of that persecution will come from denominational and nondenominational assemblies of the last days professing Christians.  
Perhaps there’s more to Pauls admonition to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together than what many understand. The Greek word “episynagōgē” means to gather or assemble together. So far so good. Interestingly, there is no mention in that verse above of how many of the faithful it takes to make up such an assembly or gathering, not to mention where the faithful are to gather. But there is a verse in the book of Matthew where our Lord Himself explained to the faithful just how many constitute an assembly of His followers.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. Jesus says where two or three are gathered in His name there He is also. Our Lord uses the same word (episynagōgē) as does the writer of the book of Hebrews in chapter10 above. Obviously, God considers two or three a significant representation of an assembly or gathering – a congregation. Of course it can be many more than just two or three but there’s no prerequisite that there must be dozens or hundreds to make up such a gathering. Are you still with me?
Just as significant is this point, the followers of Jesus Christ are never specifically told to gather together only one day a week. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, tells us how the early Christians met and how often. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the Ekklesia daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46-47. First of all, these early Christians assembled together in what the Bible refers to as the Temple, but where they met was in the courtyard of the Temple not inside a building associated with Temple worship. How do I know this? Think about it. The Pharisees and Sadducees would never have allowed an assembly of Christians, whose leader they had just murdered, to hold worship services inside of their sacred Jewish Temple. Therefore the gathering “episynagōgē” had to have been alfresco (out in the open but in a courtyard). As Luke continues explaining the meetings of the early Christians he says they went house to house, breaking bread, sharing meals. This means they were a daily part of each other’s lives. The gathering of the saints occurred every day, and with gladness and singleness of heart. They were praising God, fellowshipping, loving one another. This is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples, that they were to love one another, which is what they did.
According to Luke’s account of those early Christians they were very active in one another’s lives. They worshipped and praised God openly every day. There was an intimacy. In the last days “churches”, where we find ourselves today, that intimacy has all but vanished. Those early Christians saw that their purpose was to love one another and to share their belongings, food/clothing, etc. with one another, exhorting one another to good works. To the early Christians, this was a “lifestyle” and they cherished it. They were also to spread the Gospel of Christ as they met new people, and they did. This was obvious by Luke’s following statement “And the Lord added to the “ekklesia” daily such as should be savedActs 2:47. Every day God added to His “ekklesia”. But unlike many of the believers of today, their faith in Christ was the most important part of their lives. Nothing was going to disrupt their daily fellowship, nothing that is except persecution. What disrupts your fellowship today? I can think of many disruptions that lead the saints to distraction, and many of those distractions occur within the walls of Christian sanctuaries. Persecution will soon be the order of the day for those who faithfully follow Christ.
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” Ephesians 4:15-17. Speaking the truth in love? The body fitly joined together? That every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part? And this body making increase unto the edifying of itself in love? Be honest with yourself now, do you see this occurring in your congregation? Or is this concept about 1,900 years removed from the congregations of today? Surely, we can see most professing Christians still walk as the Gentiles in the vanity of their mind – another good indication that mankind is standing on the precipice of the final days before Christ’s return.
“That there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” 1 Corinthians 12:25. God had a purpose when He called out His “Ekklesia”, but over the years, through some bad English translations and misinterpretations, God’s purpose has become lost or at the very least diluted – in most cases purposely. We are to be set apart from the world but not from each other. The unity of purpose that God initiated has grown into a vast array of divisions, which is completely contrary to God’s written word. Every building that houses a congregation has a different name on the outside, but in most cases the Name above all names is conspicuous by its absence. Divisions are killing the body of Christ. Why does Paul make the following statement: “…there should be no schism (division) in the body”? Because division in the body of Christ is of Satan. It should be obvious that Satan has infiltrated the Ekklesia and that he has been very successful at corrupting the body of Christ, otherwise there would be no division. Not only has division been instituted successfully but diversion away from the inerrant truth of God’s word has and is occurring without hindrance.
“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” Acts 7:48-49. God does not dwell in “Churches” or any other building; the focus of God’s congregations is not to be on material temples but on the temple that houses God’s Holy Spirit. We are to be looking after one another with loving kindness and we can do that much more effectively and efficaciously if we are two, three, or even six or eight as we assemble in our homes in the manner of the early Christians. How many of the people in your congregation are you personally in close loving sharing contact with on a daily basis as was God’s first century “ekklēsia”? As that day approaches you’re going to want that intimacy to have already been established.
Ever wonder why the enemy has had such a field day infiltrating the “churches?” They were never meant to be set up under the auspices of the doctrines of men. Doctrines of men are not God’s doctrines. That departure of the emphasis on the temple that houses the Holy Spirit has permitted the enemy to come in our midst and pick us off one congregation at a time. The reason is the unity of this “church age” is so incredibly fragmented that the “Ekklesia” today has become powerless, even ignorant, when it comes to false teachings infiltrating the congregations of the saints.
In the scriptures we’re told that we are one body joined together,  we are one in Christ. Jesus was and is the foundation of His Ekklesia. He is the Head of the body of saints. He is the Husband to His bride. The early believers had no hierarchy such as a clergy lording over them. Yes there were Elders, Bishops, and Deacons but these were ministers, servants of the Ekklesia, able men of good report who were capable of teaching others, not as lords seeking fame, fortune, and their own self-importance.
The early believers met in their homes, and they functioned like the cells in a body and as members of a close knit family. As the time of the end becomes more and more evident, we need to get back to that closeness the early Christians embraced. Food for thought.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham

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