The crook who forsook the assemby

In my observation, when paid ministers, aka “hirelings” (ref. John 10:12-13) make accusations from the pulpit, they are often guilty of the very thing they have accused the congregation of doing. Psychologists refer to the phenomenon as “projection”, or more commonly “blame shifting”. Of course that doesn’t account for the spirit(s) behind the accusation about which Jesus said the religious rulers were speaking for their father, the devil. Scripture says Satan is a liar, the father of lies (John 8:44), and the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).

So when a hireling resorts to accusing the sons of God about whom scripture says there is NO condemnation (Romans 8:1), is their behavior any different than when the religious leaders did so in Jesus day? And what of the hireling’s minions, aka “members of the congregation” who more often than not, mindlessly parrot the hireling’s accusations? Are they not also acting on behalf of their father, the devil in accusing the brethren? It is well to remember that Jesus runs off the accuser and He does not condemn (John 8:3-11).

forsookOne favorite accusation among hirelings is “you are robbing God”, which stems from a deceptive application of Malachi 3:8. The manner in which God was being robbed is outlined in Nehemiah 13:4-13, wherein the wicked priest Eliashib allowed Tobiah, a Molech worshiping Ammonite, to plunder the temple storehouse thereby robbing the Levite priests of the tithe, which was theirs by law. When the Levites did not receive their portion of the tithe, they abandoned their temple duties and took to the fields and pastures to raise food for their families. Thus, robbing God had to do with robbing the priesthood who ceased their temple service.

If as the law of Moses teaches the tithe is brought to the temple for the priests, where now according to the new covenant every believer is a priest and living temple, then all believers should share the tithe (if the tithe were still applicable under the new covenant, which it is not). Accordingly, hirelings are modern day Eliashibs and Tobiahs who are robbing believers of their inheritance in Christ Jesus! No wonder John 10 speaks of hirelings, thieves and robbers, who come to steal, kill and destroy in the same breath!

Another of the filthy lies spewed by hirelings from the pulpits of man’s traditional church and foolishly repeated by the hireling’s minions, stems from Hebrews 10:24-25, which reads:

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. (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV)

How often have we heard hirelings, teachers and church goers proclaim that the Sunday morning worship service is the very “assembling” of believers to which Hebrews 10:25 refers? Hirelings routinely accuse those who do not attend Sunday services of “forsaking the assembly.” For those of us whom the Lord has called out of man’s traditional church to follow Jesus alone, where often we leave friends and family behind, such deceptive and manipulative application of Hebrews 10:25 makes for contentious relationships and more often than not, separation and estrangement.

So what does Hebrews 10:25 mean, within context of the whole counsel of scripture?

The Lord often teaches me by asking questions about the scripture(s) that have been misused to bring believers back into bondage. Accordingly, the following questions are posed to help understand what it means to assemble together.

Q: What is being assembled?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 KJV)

A: While most of Christianity equates the word “church” (Matthew 16:18) with the building-based religious institution men have built, it is clear that Peter understood Jesus intended to build a spiritual, not physical, temple. Peter writes:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)

Q: Who does the assembling?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 KJV)

A: Clearly, Jesus is the one who does the assembling.

Q: What is the assembly made of?

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)

A: The spiritual house Jesus is assembling, is built with living stones, us!

Q: When believers do assemble (gather) together, how does the assembly function?

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33 ESV)

But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you, and you don’t need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So stay one in your heart with Christ, just as the Spirit has taught you to do. (1 John 2:27 CEV)

A: When believers assemble (gather) together, everyone is welcome to share the portion allotted them by the Holy Spirit. No one dominates or rules over the gathering, rather, all is done in concert with the Holy Spirit, who is the only teacher we need.

Q: In keeping with the whole counsel of scripture, are Sunday morning “worship services” a Biblical “assembling of ourselves together?”

One final question remains.

Q: If “worship services” do not function as established by scripture, is not the entire service a forsaking of the assembly?

It is the author’s firm belief that hirelings who accuse the brethren are directly responsible for forsaking the assembly of every brother and sister under the hireling’s care, for the simple reason that dominating over and monopolizing the gathering prohibits the brethren from coming together and functioning as scripture describes.

The Sunday morning “worship service” is most definitely NOT a Biblical assembly of the brethren. Those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying are well to leave the religious institutions of men to follow Christ alone.

For those of us who have left the comfortable but misguided masses to travel the solitary road of following Christ alone, there is sweet fellowship in the gathering together of 2 or 3 for breaking bread in Jesus name. The Lord is faithful to gather together with such humble gatherings and far better is the bread of Christ, than the pharisee yeast-ridden loaves of men.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 KJV)

What Godly man would ever claim that the humble gathering of 2 or 3 brothers, together with Jesus, is forsaking the assembly?

Clearly there are none so blind as the blind who lead the blind.