Perhaps one of the most neglected commandments given to Christians today is the command to assemble together. There are many in the world who believe that “church attendance” is not required, and many who even believe adamantly in not assembling with other people. Many times this is based upon a negative church-going experience as a youth or as a young adult, but should this have a bearing on how we are to act?
As the author of Hebrews says, Hebrews 10:23-25:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Hence, we are commanded to assemble together, and for an explicit purpose: to encourage one another. The author also demonstrates that even from the church’s beginning, lack of attendance has been a problem: “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some.”
We in the Lord’s church continually preach the need for assembling, as it does serve a necessary purpose: when we gather, we are able to exhort, encourage, and edify one another. There are few things as spiritually uplifting as assembling with brethren of like mind. We also need to assemble and encourage more as “the time grows near:” are we meeting more and encouraging each other more? The time is growing nearer with every breath we take.
There are many, unfortunately, who do not see this critical need, and even more who will not assemble as often as they should. Most churches have two assemblies on Sunday and an evening Bible study on Wednesday: can you be “too busy” to come and meet with those of precious like-minded faith? What does that say about your commitment to Christ if you will not assemble as often as you should?
If you believe that you do not need to assemble with like-minded brethren and can be pleasing to God, I exhort you to re-examine that position in light of the Hebrew letter, and also the example of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. God did not create a church of hermits or loners; He fully intended His church to be a living, unified entity- as one body (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12)! Or, if you believe that only coming to the Sunday morning assembly is acceptable enough, and the rest of the time you are “too busy,” think about this: what if Jesus returns and says that He is “too busy” to grant you eternal life? How would you feel then? He has already emptied Himself out for you (Philippians 2:7), and He will be faithful: can you not demonstrate your faithfulness to Him by meeting with those whom Christ also died for?