Forsaking Bible Class?!

It is a rare feat to find a local church that meets for two different worship assemblies on Sundays now. Many groups have gone to only one worship assembly on Sunday mornings only. If we were to count the “traditional” bible class meetings, then you would have an additional time on Sundays and then possibly Wednesdays. Thankfully, we offer a Bible class study and two worship assemblies on Sundays, and a Bible class study on Wednesday evenings. That can be overwhelming for some people who have genuine reasons for not always being able to attend but for the lazy or “faint of heart”, it is something to complain about.

There are some who take advantage of coming together for additional Bible study. Some ignore the additional opportunities of meeting together and others simply take it for granted. Putting out minimal effort is encouraged by most people, and it isn’t true with just religion, it is happening in the secular world as well. Giving minimal effort is the norm now. After services on one Sunday evening, my son (Nathaniel) and I went to a local fast-food restaurant to pick up dinner. There were no customers in the lobby and nobody in the drive-thru. It was obvious that they were not busy, but I overheard the workers complaining that we came in to order food. I recall the days when I was a general manager for Hardee’s and if my employees behaved that way, they would soon be out of a job. Unfortunately, businesses are being forced to hold on to these useless workers because they are a “warm body” and can handle the simplest of tasks…allegedly.

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

There is no doubt that this mindset has trickled its way into the church. I should probably clarify that I do not think that this problem is new. This has been an on-going issue for mankind. It is easy to come up with different reasons of why we will not attend Bible study. No, I am not talking about those who have legitimate illnesses, issues with sitting in a pew for greater periods of time, or out for a legitimate reason. I have always found it interesting that people do not like this verse being used in connection with assembling together for a Bible study. They fight just as hard on this “not forsaking our own assembling together” passage as our denominational friends do regarding baptism (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, etc). I am not convinced that this passage is only specifically referencing only the worship assembly. We miss out so much on the importance of coming together with one another even outside the worship assembly but let me make a deal with you. If you can come up with one good reason as to why it is not a good thing to come together as brethren, then I’ll be glad to reconsider. Other than illness and similar circumstances, I cannot think of a valid reason for not wanting to come together for any reason. It does not have to be the worship assembly only, Bible class, or congregational singing.

Be objective for just a few minutes and really think about it. If we do not have a desire of being together with like-minded individuals here, then what is your expectation of Heaven? Surely we are not so shallow that we believe that we will be golfing and getting a “hole in one” every shot? Wait a minute, not golfing, but fishing. That is it! We will be catching fish for all eternity and opening a “good ol’ cold brewski” with big daddy Jesus?!

Now wait a minute, don’t start getting offended now that I am making a mockery of what many people believe in. If the truth makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t blame the truth; blame the lie that made you feel comfortable.

Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer

Christians in the first century made it a point to come together with one another. To continuously do something, that takes effort. This shows a determination to complete a task with a true sense of fulfillment. If we think that we can be fulfilled without God, we are foolish. If we think that we can be fulfilled without one another, yet again, we are foolish.

Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight

This passage is usually paraphrased in giving proof-text for meeting on the first day of the week and the Lord’s supper. How often do we consider what transpired? Look at this a little more closely. Paul cared deeply for his brethren and we all ought to feel the same way. How many of us would be willing to sit, stay, and listen to someone for an additional hour or two because they were planning to leave the next day? Culturally speaking, it is very rare now. Most of the time we offer reasons not to be with one another. We say things like “let me get out of your hair so you can get all your things together” instead of offering to help and spending precious time with those that we love (or should love).

I really don’t like the whole culture argument because culturally, we could just be dead wrong. If God desires to be with His people, we should desire the same. If culture says otherwise, then we need to care more about the desires of God rather than concern ourselves with “cultural standards”. Allow me to get back to the thought of Bible class before I close. If you offer the excuse “I do not get anything out of Bible class”, then I wonder how much do you GIVE to the Bible class? I think we know the answer to that.

-Lee Elkins