Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 27, 1961

Forsaking The Assembling

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

"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." (Heb. 10:25)

I have come across several individuals lately who seem to take pride in correcting a preacher if he misquotes Hebrews 10:25. Woe be to the preacher who quotes it by saying, "Forsaking not the assembling of YOURSELVES together." They stop him on the "yourselves" with that know-all grin, you misquoted it. It is "ourselves." Fortunately for me I quoted it right, then I had to listen, regardless of my wishes, to the various preachers these so and so had trapped on this passage of Scripture. Frankly, I too, think that we should be careful in our quotations, and in our handling the Scriptures, but I never have been able to work up a lather of enthusiasm when I find some one who is bent on catching some preacher off guard, and gloat over being able to catch such an one in a misquotation. The difference between "our" assembling, and "your" assembling is not the big point in question in Hebrews 10:25 any way.

The outstanding point in this Scripture is: "not forsaking" the assembling, whether it is done by ourselves or yourselves.

When Are We?

Just when are we forsaking the assembling? To forsake the assembling means to "desert" the assembling; "abandon" the assembling; "depart from" the assembling. It seems quite possible to me that one might not attend the service of the church, even on Lord's day morning, for years at a time, and not be guilty of the sin of "forsaking the assembling". Now just how could this be? It is this way. If a faithful Christian, young or old, is confined to bed all the time, and cannot assemble because of this, and would assemble with the saints if it were at all possible, this is certainly "not forsaking" the assembling. These of whom I speak are not guilty of "deserting" the assembling. They have not been guilty of "abandoning" the assembling. They are not even guilty of "departing from" the assembling.

The question is often asked me, "Is it right to carry the communion to such sick people?" I certainly would not say it was wrong to do so, neither would I contend that it was necessary to do so. What a Christian cannot help will not be held against him. "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to what he hath not." And this will certainly apply in this condition of sickness as well as it will apply in money matters. I have had brethren come to my home for services on Lord's Day when I was under the weather. This I appreciated, and I communed and contributed during such service. But to say I would have sinned if they had not come is a mistake. In no sense was I forsaking the assembling. There was no thought of deserting or abandoning or departing from the assembling. And if it is necessary to carry the emblems to some, under such conditions, it is necessary to carry the emblems to all, under such conditions. To me I see no sin either in meeting with the sick, or not meeting.

But that thousands the world over are forsaking the assembling, I have no doubt. The one who is able to assemble, and does not assemble, and will not assemble, though guilty of no major sin other than deserting, or abandoning, or departing from this practice, this is forsaking the assembling.

Extent Of This Sin

The sin of "forsaking the assembling" has far reaching effects. The damage is felt far and wide. In the following ways we hurt others as well as ourselves in forsaking the assembling.

The wife who is a Christian, or take it the other way around, if you wish, that does not assemble faithfully for worship, is setting a poor example for her husband who is not a Christian. Just how can a wife win her husband to the Lord if she allows him to lead her away from the services of the church? The very same reasoning may be said about a husband who wishes to win his wife to the church.

And parents who are disciples of the Lord, and do not faithfully attend the services of the church, cannot hope to have much influence with the children in interesting them in obeying the truth. I have observed a number of times, where one parent is faithful to the Lord and the other is not, that while the children are young they take pride and joy in attending church services. Later, however, I have noticed many of them follow the example of the parent that does not attend church services. Mother, I'll stay with daddy today. Daddy, I'm going to stay home with mother today. So in this we can see the destructive influence of "forsaking the assembling."

It is apparent to all those who believe the Bible that for Christians to forsake the assembling, is to also lose their own soul. And as sad as is the personal loss, yet the absenter has a leavening influence on others Christians, encouraging them to do likewise. If all forsake the assembling, all will be lost. If all forsake the assembling, the future good the church could do in the world will be lost. And if the church fails the work of our Lord fails. There would be joy in hell among all the demons there, if this should happen. But I do not think Satan can expect such a total victory. May God help us all to do better.