There are two forms of assembling together. On the one hand you can have a lawn mower that has been fully assembled, fueled, oiled and made ready to use by a qualified mower dealer and then you can have one that the home owner has tried to repair and is brought back to the dealer in a box with the guarantee that all the parts are there. Yes, they are both “assembled,” but only one of these machines is usable.
In the Book of Hebrews we read,
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 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 you see the day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 KJ2000)
As we read above, we are to come together as the body of Christ in a NEW AND LIVING WAY. What is that new way filled with the life of God? The writer alludes to it earlier in the chapter saying, “The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after this he had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them’ (Hebrews 10:15-16 KJ2000). He was speaking of the passage in Jeremiah 31 where we read about the nature of this NEW Covenant we should be partaking of…
Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband unto them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 KJ2000) [see also Ezekiel 36:26&27]
Here the prophet alludes to a new people who will be made ready to walk in His NEW Covenant. Everyone of the points in the above passage starts with, the words, “I will…” There is not a single work of the fleshly arm of man needed to make it come to pass… not a single “thou shalt or thou shalt not” needed to be obeyed. And what does this New Creation in Christ look like? He has a new Spirit within and a new heart upon which is written a New Commandment (see Hebrews 7:12 and John 13:34&35), His agape love. This new man in Christ is so plugged into the Spirit that he no longer needs human teachers… for all who are of this New Covenant can hear the Spirit of Truth speaking within them (see 1 John 2:26&27). In every way this New Covenant life is a “NEW AND LIVING WAY”!
So with all this in mind how does a New Covenant people assemble together when each man and woman is a priest of God and each one can hear His Spirit speaking and all have been given gifts to profit the whole body of Christ? Do they line up in neat rows all facing an elevated pulpit (and the backs of the other members’ heads) upon which stands one man who has been licensed to preach to them while they sit there in dumb silence? That is not NEW and neither is it LIVING! That is Old Covenant at best and Roman at the worst and it sows seeds of death and discouragement, making the gifted saint hide their gifts in a napkin and bury them out of fear of the “holy man” up front who will not allow any man to interrupt the high Protestant sacrament called, “The Sermon.”
The writer of Hebrews continues, “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…” There is that phrase that is so New Covenant, “one another.”
consider – Grk. katanoeo – to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.
One another – Grk. allelon – one another, reciprocally, mutually
We are to fix our eyes and minds upon the Spirit in one another mutually as we gather, not on some pulpeteer up front, or the one who loves to take over the meeting and control it for his own glory. We know that God has put something in each of our hearts that is for the benefit of the whole body of believers and do what we can to draw it out of one another for the benefit of all.
As it is easy for anyone to see, coming together as Christ’s re-created New Covenant beings and in this mutually edifying manner is not going to Sunday church services as they have become. But Jesus did assure us that wherever two or three of us gather together in His name, He will be there. Don’t let anyone of the “Sunday church” mind-set condemn the liberty you have in His Spirit in this New and Living way.