Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an 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 ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:19-29

In our scripture text above, we are instructed to hold FAST the profession of our faith. FAST does not mean "quick"--it means "tightly". This means we are not to waver, but to be steadfast and sure. One way in which we can gain added strength to be able to "hold fast" is by not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. God made us to be "people" persons--we draw from one another. That's why it is so important that we seriously consider the type of company of we keep--we should be amongst other believers who are willing to bear one another up in prayer and encouragement. We always begin to "dry up", so to speak, when we begin to practice isolationism--refusing to have anything to do with other people. It's how "falling away" can get started in our lives.

When these words in Hebrews 10 were penned, some, evidently, were not "holding fast" their faith--they were beginning to pull away from the necessity of assembling themselves together. Then we find the words in verse 25: ...and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Fellowship Is Necessary
Today, more than ever before, there is a great falling away. People who once were fervent witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ have waxed cold in their spiritual experience, and many have gone astray. One of the "best" ways for lukewarmness or straying from God to begin is when we begin to find excuses to NOT go to church or be with fellow Christians. Know this: we DO draw from one another--in whatever company we are. Whether it is of the right or wrong influence, we draw from whomever is around us. How much more necessary is it then, to be in the company of those who are like-minded as we are--those who have committed their lives to serving Christ? And never has it been more true than it is today.

In this day and age in which we live, there is a spirit which is trying to work on us to make us feel that we need nothing, therefore we don't need to be around others--we don't need to go to church or keep Christian company. Do NOT fall for this lie of Satan's! Needless to say, we need EVERYTHING which God has to offer to us. There are some things we can NEVER get enough of, and I'm not referring to money or other things of this world, but to the Spiritual things of God! We need the fellowship of others in Christ, to pray with us, to bear us up in prayer and steadfastness, to comfort and counsel us, to strengthen our faith through that which we see in their lives! There is no substitute for the assembling of ourselves together, in like-mindedness of praise and worship, in tarrying before the Lord.

Many seem to think they can stay home and "watch tv preachers" or listen to a tape series and that is all they will ever need. Yet as good as those things are, to "enhance" our lives, they should NEVER be a substitute for gathering together with other saints of God in prayer and worship. We must exercise GREAT CAUTION to not allow a spirit of "isolationism"--I don't need anybody--to set itself up in our hearts and minds. It can quickly lead us into, "Well, I shouldn't have to spend so much time in study," or "I don't need to pray THAT long".

Nowadays, the buzz words for this nation are "United We Stand". It is even more important, absolutely VITAL, that as followers of Christ, we STAND together. The devil always wants to "divide and conquer". He wants to stop our fellowship with other believers. He knows the power of unity and the strength that is gained as we share with each other what the Lord has done for us! That's what he doesn't want happening!

There needs to be a greater unity in the Body of Christ than ever before. Our adversary excels in trying to make us stumble over our differences and we fall for it, instead of being strengthened and encouraged by those many things we have in common. We want to pick out the tiniest detail of difference and blow it all out of proportion, instead of agreeing to tolerate someone else's opinion that might differ from our own. I'm not talking about tolerance of sin, of wrong doing. But silly, unimportant things: Sister Sally sings a little too loudly; Brother John is too slow getting out of the pew; Pastor Joe holds a bit long on Sunday mornings; Deacon Jones startles us with his loud "Amens!" Or one wants to have a time of fellowship between Sunday School and Sunday morning service, and another thinks there should be no break. We allow frivilous, trivial things to become mountains between us and before long, we find we have lost interest in going. We lose sight of the REAL reason we are supposed to be together: it's not to outdo another in fashion or the newest car, it's not to show how smart we are and how dumb everybody else is, it's not how much better we sing than the rest of them do. It's to worship and glorify God--to EXALT HIM and in so doing, we are blessed as a body of believers!

Many folks begin to pull away from the body of believers when the leaders try to maintain a certain standard. Folks like to get offended very quickly if they cannot have their own way or if someone speaks to them about inappropriate behavior. They cannot stand correction, or even the hint of correction. I've seen folks quit going to church simply because someone corrected one of their children (because the parents would not do it and the children were being disruptive in the classes). There have been cases in which folks quit going to church, ANY church, because they didn't feel the pastor was spending as much time with them as he was others. Seriously! Or that the pastor did not come to see them in the hospital as quickly as they thought he should have. Trivial, stupid things that we allow to enter into our hearts and minds and cause us to forsake joining together in worship with fellow believers.

Time after time, I've heard someone say, "I don't need to go to church to be a 'Christian'. This was ALWAYS said in defense of them not living right, without exception. Folks, God made us to interact with one another, to bear one another up, to encourage one another, to learn from one another, to witness to one another. We are setting ourselves up for a great fall when we get so elevated in our own thinking that we declare, "I don't need anybody!" Each and everyone of us needs others in our lives and that includes Christian brothers and sisters in worshiping God and fellowship with one another.

Unity Is Necessary

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 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 church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:41-47.

"...With one accord..." Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with your husband or wife, only to find they were not paying attention to you. Of course you have, at one time or another. There you were, trying to ask or explain something and try as you might, the two of you could not communicate. He or she had their mind on something else and until you got his/her attention, what you wanted to say or needed to know was delayed, wasn't it? "...With one accord..." When the two of you got your minds "together", the conversation went forward, didn't it? Ever worked on a project together? It took "one accord" to get it finished, didn't it? Even if you had differing opinions as to how to attain that goal, you had a common goal: to complete the project. And if you were able to maintain your singleness of mind to attain your goal, you were able to "complete the project".

"Singleness of mind" in a body of believers needs to be to lift one another in encouragement and compassion, to worship the Lord in truth, to further the gospel by OVERCOMING petty differences in opinion and steadfastly serving the Lord with a TRUE heart! Did you notice in the above scripture passage the phrase, having favour with all the people? How could they have favor with ALL the people? They had ONE mind: to serve the LORD, not themselves! Nowadays, we want to get all caught up in "making" this one or that one sing the songs we like to hear, read the Bible that we want read, hold the opinons we want held, etc. Our singleness of purpose is to priase and worship God, not insist on our OWN way in all things! When a person has a genuine salvation experience, their goal will be to SERVE GOD, not exercise their own selfish will over others!

Today, more than ever before, the "world" needs to see the Body of Christ with a SINGLENESS of mind: living the daily witness of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. It needs to see body of believers standing in unity in worship and praise to God. It needs to see the Body of Christ serving CHRIST, not every one going their own way! There is strength in unity and if the Body of Christ would united in TRUE purpose: to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, to follow His commandments, this old world would be impacted as never before!

Love Is Necessary
In John 14:15, Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. In verses 21-23, Jesus said: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM.

You know, when we have the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts, we won't nearly so apt to find fault with one another, or for that matter, to allow dissension of any kind to arise between ourselves and fellow believers! It's when we have allowed old self to rear its ugly head, it's when we have allowed jealousy and envy and strife to set up housekeeping in our hearts and minds that we get to thinking, "Why I don't need them! I don't need to go to church. Why do I need to assemble?" You see, LOVE keeps folks who have opposite dispositions in unity, because their GREATER goal is to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, not deal with petty, trivial, unimportant, CHILDISH differences! When we get a TRUE (really GOOD, GENUINE) dose of salvation, the Love of Christ that is instilled in our hearts won't have time for stupid foolishness and the folly of self. We will seek unity with others, not dwell over differences.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1. It is STILL good! It is still pleasant for brethren and sisters in Christ to dwell together in unity. It does NOT mean that we will ALWAYS see "eye-to-eye" on EVERYthing--but it means that the tawdry little petty bickering that goes on in a body of believers to drive them apart will no longer be there! Nothing thrills our adversary more than to be able to bring (1) sin and (2) division into, amongst, the body of believers. If he cannot drive a wedge between people through the avenue of direct sin, he will stir up strife and cause divisions wherever he can. And you know what's so sad? We sit right there and let it all happen! We get all messed up within our own emotions, our own petty little plans, and it's, "I'm not going back THERE anymore!" Yes, even in this "enlightened" day and age, the devil is still trying to prevail against The Church (the Body of Christ).

Unity is not an automatic thing; it takes endeavoring on each of our parts--it takes self-denial. It takes us gettin' hold of ole' self and settin' him down and letting him know he does not rule the day (or our life)! Have you ever wondered how victorious, or how much further along in your Christian experience you just might be if you'd get hold of old self sometimes?

Many people do not see the need for "prayer meetings"--they have far more IMPORTANT things to attend to. UNTIL. Until the day comes that either they or a loved one of theirs needs some urgent change in their life, and oh boy! Nobody gets there quicker than they do! We need prayer--unity in prayer. We need unity in worship. We need unity in spirit. We need unity in mind.

UNITY does not mean tolerance for sin or UN-Biblical doctrines, my friends. UNITY, TRUE CHRISTIAN UNITY, means to put aside that which would try to drive us apart from fellow believers and come together in ONE mind and ONE accord, just as in Acts 2:1: ...they were all with one accord in one place. ONE ACCORD means "ONE PURPOSE". If we will all strive within ourselves to submit our wills to God, if we will all strive within ourselves to bring ole' self under subjection, we can have UNITY in our places of worship.


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