Let Us not Forsake the Assembling Together.
X.—25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom of some Is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.
The inward and the outward must ever go together. As there is in every man a hidden inner life of the soul, along with the outer life of the body, so too in the Church of Christ. All its members are one body; the inward unity must be proved in active exercise, it must be seen in the assembling together. The assembling of His saints has its ground in a divine appointment as well as in the very nature of things; all who have entered into the Holiest to meet their God must turn to the meeting of His people. The tabernacle of old was the tent of meeting; to meet God and to meet our fellow-men are equally needful. Among the Hebrews it was already the custom with some to forsake the assembling together; it was one of the dangerous symptoms of backsliding. They are reminded, not only of the personal duty of each to be faithful, but also to care for others, and to exhort one another. For the exercise and strengthening of the faith and hope and love, to which we have just been urged; for the full development of the life in the Holiest of All; for the helping and comforting of all who are feeble; for the cultivation of the fellowship of the Spirit and the Word—the assembling of ourselves together has unspeakable value. Let us listen to the exhortation, in connection with our entrance into the Holiest: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom of some is.
If we would rightly apprehend the import of this word, let us not forget the link to its context. Our section has been teaching us what life in the Holiest is to be. As those who have drawn near to God, we are to draw near to our fellow-men. Meeting God is a thing of infinite blessedness and peace and power. Meeting our fellow-men is often accompanied with so much of weakness, distraction, and failure, that some have thought it indeed better to forsake the assembling together. Let us see how life in the Holiest of All points to both the duty and the power of our assemblies.
It suggests the duty. The Holiest of All is the home of eternal love. It is love dwells there. It is love that came forth from there to seek me and bring me in. It is into the everlasting love I have been welcomed and taken in. It is love that has been shed abroad in my heart. My entrance in was only in the path of self-sacrifice; my abiding there can only be as one dead to self and filled with love. And love seeketh not its own; it gives itself away, and only lives to make others partakers of its happiness. And it loves the assembly of God's people, not only for what it needs and hopes to receive, but for the communion of saints, and the help it can give in helping and encouraging others.
It not only docs this, but obeys the added injunction—Exhorting one another. It seeks to watch over those who are in danger of becoming unfaithful. It cares for those who have grown careless in their neglect . True love is quick of invention; it devises means for making smaller or nearer or more attractive assemblies for those who have become estranged. It counts nothing too humble or too difficult, if it may but win back to the gathering of God's children those who may there be blessed and saved. It lives in the Holiest of God's love; it gives itself up to the one work of winning others to know that love.
The life in the Holiest is thus not only the motive, but the power for doing the work aright. Yes, it is as those who profess to have entered the Holiest of All truly draw near to God, and prove the power of fellowship with Him, that they will have power in prayer and speech and service among their fellow-Christians. The Holiest of All is the place for daily worship and consecration and intercession; even a little band in the assembly will have power to make the divine presence felt. The worship in the place of prayer may become so linked to the secret worship of the Holiest of All, that its blessing may come to others who have never known of it. God is willing so to bless the fellowship of His redeemed, that the assembly shall be crowned with a fuller sense of His love and presence, than ever can be found in the solitary approach to Him. "Wherefore, brethren, having boldness to enter into the Holiest, let us draw near; not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, but exhorting one another.
And so much the more as ye see the day approaching. The writer has doubtless in view the then approaching day of judgment on Jerusalem. We know not in how far the perspective of prophecy was clearly revealed, and that day was connected with the coming of the Lord Himself. It is enough for us to know that the fear of an approaching day of judgment was the motive to which appeal is made; and that not only to move the indifferent, but specially to urge the earnest to exhort others. Christians need to be reminded of the terrible doom hanging over the world, and of all the solemn eternal realities connected with our Lord's coming in their bearing upon our daily life. So will our efforts for helping and saving others all be under the power of the thought of how short the time is, how terrible the fate of those who perish, and how urgent the call for everyone who knows redeeming love to do its work with all his might. In the Holiest of All we hear the voice of warning, and come out to save ere it be too late.
7. Note the Intensely practical character of the gospel. Our section (78-25) is only one sentence. It begins with spiritual, heavenly mysteries; It ends In the plainest rules for our conduct to our fellow-men. Let us be sure that the deeper we enter into the perfection-teaching of chap, vil.-x., the fitter we shall be to be a blessing In the world.
2. When Christ spoke His farewell discourse to His disciples, one of the things He pressed most urgently was that they should love one another. He toves all His redeemed ones, however feeble or perverse they be, so Intently, that He tells us that we cannot prove our real love to Him in any other way than by loving them; the proof of a real entrance into the Holiest of All Is the humility and gentleness and self-sacrifice with which we speak and think and prove our care of one another.
3. Study carefully the connection between these last twelve meditations, and see to get a clear hold of the unity of thought in this portion, the living centre of the Epistle,