Nor Forsaking Assembling Together

July/August, 2017
Volume 52, Number 4

Summertime is in full swing, though in a few weeks, school will be back in session once again. People will be rushing to get their vacation time in while there is opportunity to spend it with family. Yet we should always participate in the regular worship of God with His people.

We worship God with the Church because God reveals Himself more clearly in the presence of His people. God does reveal Himself in nature, but He does so in a limited way. Creation, as clearly and beautifully as it reveals the Creator, is not the clearest revelation of God. He has revealed Himself most completely in Jesus Christ and in Scripture-much more than through creation.

You won’t hear about Christ and you won’t hear the God-breathed words when you worship God in nature, but you will when you worship with the church. There is a much more conspicuous and perceptible proclamation of God in congregational worship than in nature. For example, creation reveals God as Creator, but not as Saviour. The Bible says that God’s work as Saviour—an action whereby He makes a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17)—is more glorious than creation itself.

So it just isn’t true that you can consistently worship God as well on the golf course, at the lake, in a stadium, on a hike or bike through the woods, or in the privacy of your own home or backyard as you can with His people at church. If you really want to worship God, you can never do better than worshipping Him where His Word is preached and Christ is proclaimed.

We worship God with the Church as He is glorified more than in private worship. A football team wins the national championship, and it receives more glory if the game is shown to millions throughout the country, than if no one but you were to see it individually on closed-circuit TV. An author gets more glory if many others acclaim his book than if you alone were to read the words and praise his work. Public glory obviously brings more glory than does private glory. God receives more glory when we worship Him with the church than when we worship Him alone. The Lord is most glorified when His glory is most declared, not when it is hidden or private. Worship in the church is more like this than is private worship, and so it brings more glory to God.

“There is no way,” says Welsh pastor Geoffrey Thomas, “that those who neglect secret worship can know communion with God in the public services of the Lord’s Day.” It is right to worship God both alone and with the church, yet worshipping God with the church brings Him more glory. Greater glory is given to God when many people sincerely sing together, “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” than when one person sings this testimony in private. God delights in the devotion of every individual and in each moment of private worship, but we ascribe greater glory to Him when we join our hearts and voices together in a symphony of worship.

We worship God in church as it is more edifying than private worship. In the public worship of God we can experience the preaching of His Word, the spiritual gifts of Christians, the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ, congregational praise, fellowship, and many other things that we cannot receive in private worship.

The potential is always present in congregational worship for greater edification than you could receive from private worship. Something from the sermon may be surprisingly nourishing to your soul. The words of a hymn, solo, or choral piece may strike you with unusual force. Someone may pray for you, or you may hear a prayer that conveys to God something in your own heart that has been longing for expression. The preacher or a friend, or someone leading in worship, may be God’s mouthpiece to say a word of encouragement or direction just for you. These are blessings you may forfeit by absence from church.

The concern about Christians attending corporate worship is as old as the Church itself. Over one hundred forty years ago, Brethren Elder James Quinter himself addressed the subject. Continue reading his timeless words in this updated message from his pen.

                                                                — Craig Alan Myers


by James M. Quinter

“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).

Christians are admonished not to forsake the assembling of themselves together. While the admonition comes with peculiar propriety to Christians, it is apt to all, for all are under obligations to God. We recognize Him to be the Maker and supporter of all things, and the “fount of every blessing.” In requiring of us our worship and service he requires no more than what He is justly entitled to.

God may be, and should be, worshiped privately. He should also be worshiped in public. There are very good reasons for public worship. Under the Jewish dispensation, explicit commands were given for public worship, and special places were to be provided to promote it.

One of these places was the Tabernacle. In the Lord’s communication with Moses concerning this tabernacle, He said, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:8, 9). “And there will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22).

In due time the Temple was built, and it became the place to which the Israelites turned to worship God. The following is Solomon’s language in reference to it: “And behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke unto David my father, saying, thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a house unto my name” (1 Kings 5:5).

While there were special localities named in which suitable buildings were to be prepared as places for worship in the land of Israel among the Jews, it is not so among Christians. We have not the same minute detail of circumstances concerning localities in which Christian meetinghouses are to be built, and the plan upon which they are to be built. These things are left to the wisdom, discretion, and benevolence of Christians to decide.

The Jewish religion was only intended for a time, and only for the Jews. It is true there were some proselytes to the Jewish religion from among other nations, but the number was comparatively small. The Jewish religion was never intended to be a universal religion. Due to the peculiar character of the Jews, of their country, and of their government, the regulations made for public worship among them are not adapted to the wants of the world in general. The Christian faith was designed for all nations, and for all time, until time ends.

So while we may not have the same specific directions for building and preparing places for worship in the gospel of Christ that the Jews had in the Law, we still have the principle of public worship clearly recognized, and plainly taught in the Gospel. We are admonished not to forsake the assembling together; and if we are to assemble together we must have places to assemble in.

I. There is an implied duty to worship together.

When the apostle admonishes Christians not to forsake the assembling together, it is evidently implied in the admonition that it is the duty of Christians to meet together for public worship. The duty is also implied in our Lord’s language, in which he makes the following promise: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The propriety and utility of public worship are grounded upon principles that are found in our nature.

Christianity is eminently adapted to the needs of people. The means designed to promote it are in perfect harmony with the principles of our organization. We are social beings. We love society; men, women and children all find it to their advantage in promoting their interests and their pleasures to associate together. People meet together to counsel and exhort one another in evil things as well as in good. “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friends” (Proverbs 27:17).

Conversation and communication between people cheer their hearts, and when the heart is cheered it will show itself in the countenance. Good people’s good qualities are improved by associating with the good, and bad people are made worse by associating with wicked companions. It is no less true that good communications confirm and improve good manners, as well as evil communications corrupt good manners.

There are three reasons why Christians should meet together for public worship:

  1. They should meet together to promote their own comfort and edification. “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.” Christians were to assemble together so that they might exhort one another.

What does exhortation mean? It means to use words or arguments to motivate good deeds. In this sense it is probably to be understood when it is said of Peter, “With many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). We have the word exhort in the following text and many others: “And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words and confirmed them” (Acts 15:32). Exhortation is very much the same as prophesying, as Paul explains prophesying. He explains it thus: “He that prophesies speaks to men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the church” (1 Corinthians 14:3, 4). Paul to his Roman brethren writes as follows: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teaches, on teaching; or he that exhorts, on exhortation” (Romans 12:6-8).

Exhortation is distinguished from ministering and teaching. That is, it means to stir up, to wake up, and to move to action. In teaching, the teacher imparts knowledge and instructs in Gospel doctrine and duty. While in a state of sin or spiritual death, we are not only not doing anything that is good, but we are often very ignorant of what is good and of what is right. So we must be first instructed in what is right. Hence the commission of our Lord to his disciples, “teach all nations.”

It too often happens that after people are taught their duty, and the ways of the Lord, that they are very slow to perform their duty and to enter upon a Christian life. They need then to be stirred up from their spiritual drowsiness and inactivity, that they may run in the ways of God’s commandments (Psalms 119:32), and enter into the Lord’s vineyard to work. To stir people up to duty, both before they enter upon a Christian life and likewise afterwards, seems to be a work more particularly for the exhorter. While people want to be enlightened, they must also be moved. While they need to have the understanding enlightened, they also need to have the feelings stirred up.

After their conversion Christians need helps to keep them faithful, and so they are to exhort one another. This kind of help they should all be able to render, and so we are admonished to exhort one another. This work of exhortation must not necessarily be performed by the preachers. All may lawfully engage in it, and all should engage in it according to the text.

Similar to the idea that we have in the word exhort, we have in the verse preceding our text in the word provoke. That verse reads, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Then comes our text designed to stir men up to diligence in working out their salvation. We are to provoke one another, as well as exhort one another, “to love and good works.” Notice the state into which we are to be brought, and in which we are to abide; it is “love and good works.” Love here means the Christian grace of charity. This love is to be connected with good works.

The faith of the Gospel, and the faith that justifies and saves, is said to be a faith that works by love (Galatians 5:6). Faith works, and it works by love, and the result is, the good works—the prominent Christian characteristic of a true Christian life. The difference between exhorting and provoking, is this: in exhorting we speak and use words to stir up persons to do what we look upon as their duty, and what is to their spiritual interests, as well as to the spiritual interests of others. In provoking people to do their duty, we do it by our own example, or by setting before them the noble and powerful examples of the good.

Sometimes some Christians may have grown somewhat cold and formal, and remiss in their Christian life and experience. If then such do not forsake the assembling together with the Church, but assemble with their brethren, who have the “love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto them” (Romans 5:5). When the cold or lukewarm see and hear their brethren rejoicing in the Lord, and are brought into associations with them, they will be likely to be stirred up or provoked to such an exercise, or performance of duty, that will result in making them also joyful in the Lord.

Christians who are blessed with “the joys of salvation” should provoke and exhort others to alike holy and happy state. No one should forsake assembling together, as it is in the house of the Lord, among the people of the Lord, in the holy exercise of Christian worship, that the declining branches may be revived; the lukewarm brought to do their first works over; the weak made strong; the babes in Christ made to grow; the seekers find Christ; and the ungodly be brought to feel the need of Christ.

  1. When Christians assemble together, and encourage and support public worship, it has a moral effect on the people of the world.

Many who are now Christians and members of the Church owe their conversion to the influence of public worship. Though many who attend public worship do not seem to profit by the opportunities thus afforded them, still there may be an influence exerted which will eventually bring some of the least of these to Christ. Even if the administration of the Word does not reform many who have access to it in the sanctuary of the Lord, it has more or less a restraining influence upon them, which keeps them from many evils.

If we had not the Lord’s Day every week to afford us time, and if we had not our churches and the ministration of the Gospel to afford us Christian instruction, we would certainly have a much worse state of society around us. Although many of our young people do not seem to profit much by their attendance of public worship, if we had no public worship for them to attend, and they would spend their Lord’s Days and all their leisure time at places and amusements altogether free from such influences as the sanctuary of the Lord affords, we would have a terrible state of morals around us.

The influence exerted by the ministry of the gospel, and by the general services comprised in public worship, is such, that its value can scarcely be estimated. Consequently Christians should not only by their attendance upon public worship encourage it, but they should also, to the extent of their ability, help to build meeting-houses for public worship, and help to promote it in every way they can. Brethren, you cannot expend money, or invest it in any better way than to appropriate it to the promotion of the worship of God. Consider the great influence which the public worship of God has in enlightening the public mind, in restraining the people from evil, and in furthering the cause of justice, truth and righteousness in every community in which the true worship of God with all its connections is regularly performed.

  1. Worship, when properly performed, honors God and glorifies His name.

We do not generally see the advantages as clearly or as readily, growing out of the friendship of God, as we should. Yet when we consider our relation to God, and our dependence upon him, the importance of securing his favor and friendship must be very apparent.

It is always greatly to our advantage to live at peace with all men. As our happiness and wellbeing depends more upon God than it does upon men, it is of still greater advantage to us to live at peace with God, and to enjoy His friendship. It is said, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). And if the Lord makes our enemies to be at peace with us, when we please Him, He Himself will surely be at peace with us. If He is at peace with us, he will be our Friend, Protector, and Helper. Well might the apostle say, with holy confidence, “If God be for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31).

II. The danger against which we are admonished.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.” When we consider the advantages of assembling together in the sanctuary of the Lord, to ourselves, and to our neighbors, and when we know that we may honor the Lord by so doing, it may seem strange that Christians should forsake the holy assembly of worshipers. But they have done so, and are in danger of doing so, and hence the admonition of our text.

There are different reasons given by those who forsake the sanctuary of God and its holy service.

  • We hear it said sometimes that the distance is too great to the meeting. Now this may sometimes be a sufficient reason for staying at home, but it is to be feared that it is often given as a mere excuse, when the distance might be traveled very readily by the time of meeting. But if the distance is really too great, if those who have the difficulty to contend with would take a greater interest in going to meeting, then this difficulty would be overcome.
  • Some say that they do not have a comfortable place to meet in, and therefore they do not go to public worship. Years ago when our brethren worshipped generally in private houses, in some places their houses were not large, and the people knew that the accommodations were limited, and fearing they would interfere with the convenience of the members of the church, they would not go to meeting. We are glad that this reason no longer exists to any considerable degree. Our brethren are now wisely building large houses for worship. This is as it should be. We should build and prepare convenient and comfortable houses for the people to assemble for worship, and Christian edification.

We were, some time ago, in a large meetinghouse, in which the seats had no backs. Many of the people took seats back against the walls of the house, to have something to support them. Convenience and comfort should be consulted, while extravagance and display in Christian houses for worship should be avoided.

  • People sometimes do not feel like going to worship, and hence do not go. It often happens that we may not feel like going to meeting, but when we get there, we feel better. If we do not just feel as we would like to feel, but go and fill our place in the house of the Lord, we will be very likely to feel better.

To remain away, because we do not feel like going, is a dangerous course to pursue. If we stay at home one time because we do not feel like going to a religious service, perhaps by the next time there is meeting we shall feel still less like going. The text makes it our duty to attend public worship, and it likewise admonishes against neglecting this duty. We therefore should not neglect it.

There is another idea we want to present to you in this connection, and that is the importance of avoiding bad example–“as the manner of some is.” The manner of some was to forsake public worship. Paul would caution his brother from following the example of such. It is a fact that some people seem inclined to look at bad example rather than at the example of the good. Unconverted people will sometimes pass by the example of the good, and apparently see only the faults of certain members in the church, who are not distinguished for their piety or consistency. It would seem strange that any of us would let the example of the lukewarm and indifferent influence us, and draw us into their way that will lead to ruin. The example of such should rather lead us to greater watchfulness and prayerfulness. When we consider what they are doing, how they are dishonoring their holy profession, and pursuing a course that must, if continued, bring them to sorrow and destruction, will we follow their evil course? It is unwise to do so.

III. The basis of the admonition.

“And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” As a motive to induce his brethren to observe the important admonitions given them, the apostle reminds them that a certain Day is approaching. They no doubt knew what Day he alluded to. It was the day that is called the Day of the Lord. Paul says to the Thessalonians, “For yourselves know perfectly that the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3). That day will surely come, and it will come as a thief. Then there will be no time to prepare to meet the Lord.

We may also, in making a practical application of the subject, apply the day alluded to, to the day of death. This also will close all our opportunities for working out our salvation. Then in applying the term day to either the day of death, or to the day of the coming of the Lord, the practical meaning is, there is a day approaching, which will cut off further privileges for salvation. It is approaching, and we who walk by faith see it approaching.

While that day closes the time of probation to man, it also closes the time of the saints’ conflicts, troubles and sorrows. It is the day of the saints’ redemption. Then let this powerful motive of the apostle have its desired effect in inciting us to faithfulness in our attendance upon our Christian meetings for worship and edification, and to a practical improvement of the lessons and encouragements we receive there.

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Captivity… Dreams… Rulers… Fire… Lions… Prayers… Kingdoms. From a dedicated youth to a faithful sage, Daniel’s life stands as an example to follow.  Yet beyond his personal life, God gifted Daniel with a message of future events.  Though difficult to grasp, these events would shape the world for the coming Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ as King.


Luke presents a warmly personal and historically accurate account of Jesus as “the Son of Man.” This course will survey the Third Gospel, with emphasis on the unique events, miracles, and parables of Jesus found in it.


This class will provide a broad overview of general church history. We will then focus on the Anabaptist and Pietist movements, especially as they relate to the formation and development of the Brethren groups. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


This course is intended to lay down a measure in a world where truth is slippery and often subject to interpretation. Where “Christian Values” become a political slogan, and “good people” are our allies despite their faulty core beliefs. Where Facebook “friends” post memes about the power of God, despite a lifestyle that is anything but Godly. In the process we often fight among ourselves, doing Satan’s work for him. The purpose of this course is to lay the measure of Jesus Christ against the cults, religions, and worship in our contemporary world.


While Protestant translations of the Bible contain 66 books, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize additional canonical books as well.  Where did these books, collectively known as the Apocrypha, come from and why aren’t they part of our Bible?  How reliable are they, and what value is there in studying them?


The goal of this class is to acquire a firm grasp of the teachings and themes of these two general epistles. Peter covers topics from salvation and suffering to spiritual deception and the return of Christ. These letters are packed with warnings and encouragements for Christian living.


A detailed study of Jesus Christ and His relationship to the “I Am” metaphors in John’s gospel. Why did Jesus describe himself in these terms? How do they relate to each other? We will look at spiritual and practical applications to further our Christian growth.


Have you ever been visited by someone who said they wanted to study the Bible with you so that you might discover the truth together?  Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have much in common with evangelical Christians, and they seem to be well versed in the scriptures.  But what do they really believe and how can we effectively witness to those who have been ensnared by this false religion?


While we may consider Hosea as one of the minor prophets, his message vividly illustrates the major doctrine in all Scriptures.  The theme of God’s unconditional love is magnified and extended beyond those deserving it.  God expresses tender words towards His erring people inviting them to turn from sin to reconciliation with Him.


This course will look at basic principles and polity of leading the local church. We will examine the balance between upholding a spiritually focused organism of ministry and cultivating proper order for effective organization. Practical applications will be emphasized. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


The Brethren Bible Institute believes in the discipline of the whole person (spirit, soul, and body). We will aim to train students not only about how to study the Bible in a systematic way (2 Timothy 2:15), but also how to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). God calls Christians to the highest of character when He commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15), and holiness requires discipline.

Indulgence in the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, drugs, profanity, and gambling are forbidden at BBI. Objectionable literature will be prohibited. Students are asked not to use the college pool during the Institute. Each student must be thoughtful, and respect the rights of others at all times, especially during study and rest periods.

A friendly social group intermingling of students between class periods, and at general school activities is encouraged. Each student should enjoy the friendship of the entire group. At all times, highest standards of social conduct between men and women must be maintained. This means that all forms of unbecoming behavior and unseemly familiarities will be forbidden.

Personal appearance and grooming tell much about one's character. Students are expected to be dressed in good taste. In an attempt to maintain Scriptural expressions of simplicity, modesty, and nonconformity, the following regulations shall be observed while attending BBI.

MEN should be neatly attired and groomed at all times. Fashion extremes and the wearing of jewelry should be avoided on campus. The hair should not fall over the shirt-collar when standing, nor should it cover the ears.

WOMEN should wear skirts cut full enough and of sufficient length to at least come to the knees when standing and sitting. Form-fitting, transparent, low-neckline, or sleeveless clothing will not be acceptable. Slacks and culottes are permitted only for recreation and then only when worn under a skirt of sufficient length. Wearing jewelry should be avoided on campus. Long hair for women is encouraged and all Church of the Brethren girls (and others with like convictions) shall be veiled on campus.

The Institute reserves the right to dismiss any student whose attitude and behavior is not in harmony with the ideals of the School, or whose presence undermines the general welfare of the School, even if there is no specific breach of conduct.

The Brethren Bible Institute is intended to provide sound Bible teaching and wholesome Christian fellowship for all who desire it. The Bible School Committee worked hard and long at the task of arriving at standards, which will be pleasing to the Lord. It is not always easy to know just where the line should be drawn and we do not claim perfection. No doubt certain standards seem too strict for some and too loose for others. If you are one who does not share all these convictions, we hope you will agree to adjust to them for the School period, for the sake of those who do. We are confident that the blessings received will far outweigh any sacrifice you may have to make. If you have a special problem or question, please write to us about it. To be accepted as a student at BBI, you will need to sign a statement indicating that you will cooperate with the standards of the School.