The Danger of Forsaking the Assembly

The Trigger

With the occasion that a question by a dear sister brought, I would like to shed some light in this much quoted and much misunderstood issue, of assembling of ourselves together. The scripture that deals with this is taken from the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 10 and verse 25: “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.” Usually this scripture is used by members of traditional (after men) organizations, to “chastise” the “apostates” or “backsliders”, as they call those who have decided to leave the institutional “church”.

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Which Church is Right for Me?

This is a question that, I am sure, we have heard many people ask, and even many of us have asked from time to time. I have come across various answers to this, many of which fail to deal with the issue effectively. So, then, what is the right answer? How can we ever know, and how can we help someone else who is looking for the answer?

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Emptying of self

But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.” (Philippians 2:7, DRB)

There are many theories around concerning the previous scripture, some of whom are even borderline (or downright) heretical. I am not one to take sides when it comes to disputes, but this one I consider foundational for us to get it right, for one simple reason: verse 5 of the same chapter of Philippians tells us this: “For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5, DRB). This has to do with attitude, with our way of life, something that we have to imitate. By the way, I want to point out here how the “Authorized” (king James) version has once again altered matters in transliteration; the word “emptied” (“ekenosen” in the original Greek text) has been rendered as “made Himself of no reputation”. I cannot understand why this arbitrary error, based obviously on personal, human-understanding led inaccuracy.

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Why did Christ die?

I see and hear often a phrase, that is supposed to be encouraging or motivational: “Jesus died so you don’t have to”. This statement says, Christ died so that we don’t have to die. By saying this, we believe that we take out the “ugly”, uncomfortable idea of death from the message of salvation, so that we can attract into our “churches” the masses who found that message too scary. We put bumper stickers with this message and we have made it our campaign. But does this actually make it easier for people to be saved?

We need to notice that this kind of message is an altered version of the original call to repentance that was uttered from the Old Testament times, to John the Baptist, to Jesus, to the apostles, to the original Church. The original message was just “Repent, believe in the name of Jesus, and be saved”. The Lord Himself said something that sounded very cruel for people to “stomach”: “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53, KJV). That was when the religious people of that time sought to kill him. He caused a scandal! Who can stand to hear such a message? It is too cruel, too ugly! There must be some other way to say those things, without becoming gory! This is exactly how today’s “church” thinks. “How are we going to add souls to our attendance, if we tell them they will have to die? Who can stand to hear such things? There must be some other way to say those things. Aha, that’s it! We can tell them that Christ died so they don’t have to!” And we go out, spreading the “message of salvation” to the masses.

Death, not a popular or easy issue to talk about. Yet the New Testament is full of it. The Old Testament is also replete with death, as a shadow of the spiritual things that were to come. And if we were to write a brief summary of the New Testament teachings, we would be left with a text whose central message would be the death of the “old man”, the flesh, the nature that got corrupted during the fall from God’s glory in the garden of Eden. The death by crucifixion is something that is a must, if anyone is to be saved. It is a cruel, shameful, “cruel and unusual” death that we MUST go through, if we are to be united with Christ in His glory. So, we need to do away with such “easy, walk on the red carpet” messages that not only prevent souls from being saved, but also nullify the entire work of Christ on the cross. I would rephrase that saying to this: “Christ died so you will know how to”. A crossless call is the wide way that leads to perdition; the straight and narrow way always makes a big deal of the death by crucifixion that leads to eternal life.

April 22

This is the whole essence of the issue.. I hope many who read this will not just think, “Oh, that’s a good read”, but that they will be challenged to come deeper into God’s purpose.

Day by Day with T. Austin-Sparks

Apr 2222 APR – What Is the Church?

God’s thought is not Christianity; it is not churches as organized centers of Christianity; it is not the propagation of Christian teaching and enterprise. God’s thought is to have a people in the earth in whom, and in the midst of whom, Christ is all, and in all. That is the Church. We have got to revise our ideas. In the thought of God the Church begins and ends with this: the absolute supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ; and what God is always after is to get together those of His people who will most fully realize that thought of His, and be unto Him the satisfaction of His own eternal desire, the Lord Jesus in all things having the pre-eminence, and being all, and in all. He passes by the great institution, the so-called ‘Church’ and He is with…

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Terrorism – Who has the upper hand?

This word, terrorism, has become very popular in our days. It has become the preoccupation of the entire world, and astronomical amounts of money are being spent to combat or prevent it. Yet despite all the armaments, despite all the wars and campaigns, the problem called terrorism seems to be unfazed and even gaining ground. The latest example is the quick growth of the Islamic State, that not only withstands pressure from armies such as the Russian and that of the US, but it seems to have unlimited resources from all around the world.

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God’s Sovereignty vs. Man’s Free Will?


I believe, dear reader, that you are weary of the “dilemma” that the title subject presents to you. A simple search on the net will give you lots of conflicting and differing views, and the debate will create in you more questions than it can answer. Christianity has been deeply divided over this issue, to the point of actual physical violence committed on the opponents of opinions. And though the issue arose in the 16th century A.D., it continues to plague Christianity today with increased fury. And then there are those who do not subscribe to either view, and who wonder if and how can those two sides ever be reconciled without compromising the truth. Is there any hope for Christianity to recover from this division that seems deadly to Christ’s body?

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