x411.....Doing the Opposite With Our Money
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. (Hebrews 10: 25)
This single verse in the Bible is used to give the concept that Christians ought to spend most of their time effort and money building large "assembly halls"---building large "churches". This one single verse--the only place which mentions this idea--that we ought to "assemble ourselves together"--is supposedly the definition of what we expect the "church" to be and look like and function by. Christians spend millions of dollars building and up keeping the "temple" the "sanctuary of God"--even though these are Old Covenant concepts. the New covenant tells us that we are all the temple of the Holy spirit--When Jesus died upon the cross, the veil of the Jewish temple was torn in two from top to bottom--the presence of God no longer to be hidden behind a veil through which only the high Levitcal priest of Israel could enter. Rather, now, since we have one High Priest (Jesus)--who has entered into the true holy of holies in the heaven--we are all made kings and priests in the earth.
the first century Jews--the very first Christians, understood these ideas very clearly, and so guided by the Holy Spirit, they built the church (the body of Christ --which consists of people--rather than temples) in a different way than their Jewish experience and the Old Testament told them. They built the New Covenant church through the homes of individual Christians. The day to day operation of the church was in what we would call "revival" in that the church from the day of Pentecost operated on a 7-day-a-week basis in the homes of Christians. IT WAS A NETWORK, NOT AN EMPIRE!
Yet the church also did something different--they "assembled themselves together". This term refers--not to a once a week Sunday meeting--(by a rule that says "all must attend") but rather to a meeting--like the one described in Acts chapter 2--in which people gathered together--perhaps for days--praying and worshiping God--until every one of them was completely filled with the Holy Ghost. these meetings were held as the Spirit of God lead--not on a regular basis (probably every few weeks or months) and in a place which was most often rented (as the upper room)--perhaps they were held outside. These "assemblings" were for the individual Christians--to gather together--to get everyone close to God and worship Him. No one "ruled" in these assemblings but God--and they were a place which the people left when they were done--they did not have to upkeep these places of assembling--nor did they have to own them.
but since we so commonly misinterpret this verse --and follow tradition which expands exponentially on this one concept--we are burdened with building huge church buildings--spending and raising millions of dollars which is all funneled into this incorrect concept. What we must face is that in the book of Acts--and throughout the "recorded as our example" New Testament--they were operating the church in the opposite way that we are.
Look at the description of the Nt church after the day of Pentecost--
42* ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43* And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44* And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46* 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, 47* Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2: 42-47)
32* ¶ And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33* And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34* Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35* And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 5: 32-35)
Notice: they were selling things that they possessed, and distributing the money to all the people--since the church was being built in the homes of all the Christians--all had the right to receive money from one another. This lines up perfectly with the idea that all Christians are now "priests" in the earth. And the NT church operates in their already existing homes--a system which calls for little money--and allows for the functioning of the church to work continually--on a 7-day-a-week basis--(just as God works 7 days-a-week right?).
Instead, we follow after the Roman tradition which tells us to build the church through a large 'assembly hall" which is owned and operated by one man--and under one mans "authority". This exalts the house of one man, at the expense of the houses of all the rest within the church. (this tradition came into the church 1700 years ago, when the Roman emperor Theodoscious declared everyone in Rome a Christian. the result was a "logical" reformation of the system of the church--no more need for apostlship or witnessing--simply meet together once a week, under rule, on the 1st day of the week--the "offical day" for collecting money--and worship and teach without release and purpose. No need to witness, since everyone is a Christian--it was illegal not to be in church on Sundays--perhaps it still is!!)
the advice which is given just this once in the Bible --to "not forsake the assembling of yourselves together" was not being given to people who were "not going to church on Sundays" (although if you don't go to church for a few weeks you probably will hear this advice from someone in church!) but rather to people who were operating the church on a day-to-day basis from their homes--and perhaps were not holding the "asemblings" as often as they should be.
the fact is we need both of these things in our lives to fulfill our ministries that the Lord has given to us. Yet we settle for far less--and at the same time expend most of our time effort and money building a building (a building used once a week for an hour or two!!)--which is never asked of us or required from the word of God.