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.
Enjoyed this post.
Just discovered your site and blog, so Hallelujah! The Spirit of the Lord led my husband and I out of ‘Christian City’ about a decade ago and we have no desire to return, but it has been a lonely road! Although we have made a few friends (we moved about 7 years ago), they are committed to attending Sunday church meetings and related activities so they are not interested in (or have no time for) assembling with us in one another’s homes in a ‘new and living way’.
Intimate fellowship with our Heavenly Father and His Son through the Holy Spirit is deeply fulfilling, but I still at times yearn for corporate worship and fellowship with the brethren. Your encouraging post came at a very good time for me, so THANK YOU!
Thanks for writing. The loneliness we have experienced after leaving Christian City is being replaced by a closer relationship with Jesus which is less dependant on other Christians. God is drawing us ever closer into Himself in Christ and in the past many of our relationships with other Christians in that system did the opposite and became an end to itself. Glad to hear that you two are on the journey, though for many of us it means we must traverse a spiritual desert for a while. I can tell you that reaching the other side and finding one’s self totally IN Christ is worth it.
Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
(Hebrews 13:12-14 KJ2000)
Thanks, Michael. I look forward to following A Wilderness Voice.
Just discovered your blog and website, so HALLELUJAH! My husband and I were led by the Spirit of the Lord to leave ‘Christian City’ about a decade ago and we have no desire to return. Intimate fellowship with our Heavenly Father and His Son through the Holy Spirit is deeply fulfilling, yet at times I do yearn for corporate fellowship with other brethren. This post came at a good time for me–THANK YOU!
Hi Michael. I used to correspond with you many years ago. So good to read this kind of thing agaIn. We have been Wilderness living for 2 decades now and it’s so good reading things again from others who are on the same path. Years ago I had a picture of many drops of water rolling down a mountain in their own path and not seeing others until eventually they all merged behind a huge dam wall and grew so many that the wall burst and poured out over the world. Methinks that time is coming closer!!! We have been attending some church meetings recently as we were lead to do, and it is so good reading your views to help us to stand against all the religious stuff we see and not come under it again..Perish the thought! We have , however, been really impressed with the maturity and graciousness we have found in people still inside the system. There are still a few important differences in what they believe but the fruit is growing . It’s so encouraging. Bless you.
I have pretty much been a loner in my christian walk since I got saved 34 years ago. I do not like the way I have been treated in churches from day one. I have found other believers to be clickish and cold. I can count on one hand throughout the years I have ever been welcomed in a church and because of these experiences I have not been a regular church attendee. It has only been recently that I have been feeling a yearning to get together with other believers and I know when the time is right God will bring me to the believers that are right for me.
@Tammy. Being a loner sounds pretty good to me!! However, my husband and I have also felt the need to be connected to other Christians recently after living very isolated lives for the last 20 years and as I said above, have been welcomed and accepted in the churches we have attended in a way I would not have imagined after we left the institution 20 years ago. Mind you, we keep ours mouths shut about our beliefs about the institution and all its rules and only relate on the levels we know won’t be too challenging. It’s early days yet, and the one group we did find that was outside the camp, had a lot of religious stuff going on anyway.
Like you, we long for a deeper fellowship with likeminded Christians and have on occasion had the joy of finding that but it only seems to last for a short time so far…
Hi Sandra, Thank you for your response. I agree with you and I believe the time is coming that the Lord is going set things on fire with His people like He did in the book of Acts. We will be unified once again and His love will prevail once again. I can’t wait for this to happen and I believe He is preparing those hearts that are willing to receive it once it starts happening.
hi Tammy, I’m sure you are right regarding God bringing His people together without the artificial separations of denominations and whether we attend a church or not. As I said to a woman in a church recently, I believe when Jesus said if we give up houses etc in His name then we will be given hundreds in return and we are experiencing this as feeling at ‘home’ wherever we go with Christians.
Been out of the man headed social club for about 8 years and couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t trade what I have in Christ now, for 10,000 church people who have only a religion about Jesus. It seems the Lord has pulled a “remnant” out for some reason I don’t know why. Love your articles guys, keep em coming!
So true. I have found the same peace about being out of that system as you and I find that since being out of her, that it was like being born again, again… my spiritual eyes had become dull in there and now I am having to become accustomed to the Light as well as hearing His voice without the din of those teachers and preacher drowning it out. It is like the man child that was born out of that woman in Revelation 12. The great red dragon might be there to devour the child, but God catches us up into heavenly places in Christ. Remember, His story becomes our story as we trust in Him.
Yes, God is up to something. He is calling a wise bride out from among the foolish virgins for His Son. We have turned a corner in church history. God is doing something new outside the institutions of men and everything that can be shaken in them will be shaken until only the unshakable remain… those who totally rest in Jesus the Vine.
Agree wholeheartedly Michael, and that scripture has always spoken to me as well.