We all know that doing the right thing for the wrong reason will get you nowhere with God. Every action, especially right ones, must be motivated by an unselfish desire to serve either God or His children.
We in the church are bad about equating “faithfulness” to assembling with the saints. When was the last time you heard discipline being practiced for anything other than “forsaking the assembling?” Unfortunately, a good many who do assemble are doing so for the wrong reasons. In fact, their reasons for assembling might very well be more a sign of unfaithfulness than staying at home would have been.
Complaints about the service are a good indicator. The songs are too slow or too old or too boring. The prayers are too long or too cliché-ridden. The sermons are interminable or step on too many toes or they are given “in the wrong tone of voice.” This brother didn’t speak to me, that sister hurt my feelings, and the elders ignored me. The building is too cold or too hot, and then there is the always popular, “I didn’t get anything out of the services today.”
Let’s take a look at that passage about assembling. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day drawing nigh, Heb 10:24,25. Why is it that we assemble? “To provoke one another to love and good works.” And how do we do that? By “considering one another.”
That same Greek word is used in Luke 6:41, And why do you behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, and also in Luke 20:23, But he perceived their craftiness… “Considering” one another obviously takes some effort and more than a little thought.
So what are we supposed to be doing while we sit on those pews? We should not be rating performances like a judge at a talent show. We should not be waiting to be entertained. Instead we should be “considering” one another, “beholding,” or looking to one another, “perceiving” the individual needs of each one. Does this sister need special encouragement this week? Does that brother need a reminder? Is the family next to me in the midst of a crisis? What can I do this week to help them? The family that usually sits across the aisle is missing. I need to find out why.
Assembling for the wrong reason is just as bad as praying for the wrong reason, giving for the wrong reason, or even being baptized for the wrong reason. Assembling is a gift, yet another opportunity to build one another up, not just for two or three hours, but all week long. If I don’t do my part, seeking to find ways to help others instead of concentrating on my own likes and dislikes, I will have no reward with my Father who is in Heaven. In fact, I might as well stay home.
But speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in due measure of each several part, makes the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love, Eph 4:15,16.