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Monday, July 7, 2014

Not forsaking the assembling....

Hebrews 10:25 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.

Those of us who have attended Calvary Temple have heard this scripture spoken from the pulpit many, many times. It is spoken to ensure that we attend church every time the doors are opened. As God's word to us it is to be taken seriously. However, we should understand exactly what it means in light of scripture, not in light of Calvary Temple's traditions.

"wherever two or three are gathered, there am I among them." Matt 18:20.

For those of us who have attended Calvary Temple, we may believe attending church means meeting on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, along with Friday night, Tuesday & Thursday prayer night. However, scripture does not speak of required days for "church". Calvary Temple leadership often comments that many churches have dropped Sunday night or Wednesday night services. They shake their heads in sadness and condemnation that churches have "backslidden" and become weak and compromised. It is possible to believe that if one leaves Calvary Temple and attends a church that does not meet on Sunday night, you are attending an inferior church. We can begin to believe we are not doing well spiritually or we are not even saved. However, believing this means Calvary Temple has set the standard for what it means to attend church. Unless you attend other churches, you may not be aware of how much "assembling" actually goes on. And probably the pastors of Calvary Temple don't know either.

In reality, many churches in our area are very active, but it is not left to the pastor to head up each meeting. One of the very freeing things about leaving Calvary Temple is we must begin to dig our own well. The Holy Spirit will lead us. We must decide to take advantage of fellowship with other believers. It may not be required but we are responsible to "not forsake the assembling". Insisting on a prescribed number of meetings on prescribed days keeps people dependent on leadership and living a legalistic life. But the role of five fold ministry is to prepare people to do the work of the ministry - freely and willingly, not under constraint. Each believer becomes more dependent on God and the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than dependent on a pastor and a list of requirements.

"For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage."  Galatians 5:1

Why does Calvary Temple frequently speak of other churches? I believe it causes people to be fearful and critical of other churches that don't look just like Calvary Temple. It may cause people to think less of other churches just because they do not have a Sunday or Wednesday night service. Man - made traditions are just that - MAN made. God has given us the guidelines but leaves much room for variety. Different churches have different emphases, and each individual must be led by the Holy Spirit to find their place in the local church.

For those who may have recently left Calvary Temple or are thinking of leaving, please do not be afraid to search for a church that will meet your and your family's needs. It doesn't have to look like Calvary Temple. 

One person considers one day to be above another day.  Someone else considers every day to be the same.  Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind.  Romans 14:5

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  Colossians 2:16