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Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 MKJV)
Lies rob, bind, blind, maim, enslave, slay, and destroy, and this one certainly does all of these things.
To be sure, all believers need fellowship, one way or another, at one time or another. But it is true fellowship they need, with true saints. Yet God has set some aside even from true fellowship for a time, in order to prepare them for the service to which He calls them. For now, however, we’re not talking about true spiritual fellowship, but about the fellowship that kills.
Those professing faith, who haven’t known the Lord, declare that unless Christians belong to some nominal Christian church or organization, they will inevitably grow cold in faith and perish. It is taught they will fall prey to Satan, “who walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I say that for believers to fellowship with those gone astray and doing their own thing is folly; it is playing into the hands of the prince of this world. He loves carnal fellowship, and the more spiritual it looks and feels, the more he loves it.
My wife and I have not attended a church as members or regular goers since 1975 – for 37 years. In 1976, the Lord directly, specifically, and categorically commanded us to come out of all church systems. He led us out, informing us that His people in them were perishing in their sins, iniquities, whoredoms, pleasures, superstitions, and idolatries. They were suffering terribly, destroying themselves for lack of knowledge and because of iniquity (not obeying His Law, doing their own thing).
The Lord informed us that all these formal Christian organizations were unclean, and that His wrath was upon them for the many things they believed and practised in His Name. He revealed that all these churches are, in fact, the high places mentioned in the Old Testament. He said they were the gates of Hell of which He spoke, saying they would not prevail against the true Church of God.
He showed us that all these churches are the works of men, the paths of the destroyer, and have nothing whatsoever to do with Him, except that they take upon themselves His Name in vain, feigning faith and worship. He informed us that the reason people belong to a church is because of love of money; they serve mammon (self). For all those in these churches that were His people, He painfully declared He was hurting badly.
We came out, obeying His command. From that time forward, He has been with us in all faithfulness, discipline, instruction, revelation, in great power, blessing, and glory.
He has called on me to bring the knowledge He has given us in our deliverance to others who perish in the systems of religion. Along with my wife and me, several of our believing companions have been out of these churches and systems for decades. We also know that we are His Church, His Body.
Men teach this doctrine of formal church membership because they want you there for them. Notice how important numbers, impressive buildings, and fame are to the flesh. The leaders of these groups will take all that you have, if they can, and enlist your services to build up their works for fame, glory, wealth, and security’s sake. It is all lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. God is nowhere there.
“But we feel God’s presence,” they say. No, it isn’t God’s presence, but entertainment, emotion, and the effect of seducing spirits.
“But our pastor is so wonderful and sincere,” they say. There were many wonderful and sincere people and pastors in Noah’s day, and they were all taken away in the Flood. Wonderfulness and sincerity don’t cut it with God. Neither do an impressive knowledge of the Scriptures, great showmanship, and oratory or organizational skills. These things are all tools in the hands of Satan, who comes as an angel of light, his servants as ministers of righteousness, to deceive and destroy.
We who have “come out from among them” (2 Corinthians 6:17) are God’s Church, 24/7. We became members of His Church when we received His Spirit and were baptized into His Body by the Spirit of God:
“For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 MKJV).
We have come “unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22-24).
We crave fellowship with God and the saints. That’s precisely why we have come out. Christ lives in me, and I in Him. Is He not our Savior and sufficient for all things? If spiritual health and welfare depended on fellowship with other believers, then Noah couldn’t have prevailed. Abraham wouldn’t have made it to be our father of faith, being alone much of the time. Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others would have to be spiritual goners or invalids because they were alone much of the time. Instead, they were strong in the Lord.
John the Baptist was in the wilderness until his showing unto Israel. The apostle John would have perished on the Isle of Patmos, assuming he didn’t have others with him who believed. God took Saul of Tarsus (Paul the apostle) off to the side for many years (Galatians 1). Who did the eunuch "go to church with" after Philip ministered to him (Acts 8)? Was Jesus a Pharisee, a Sadducee, an Essene, or a member of any other sect (denomination)?
Hebrews 10:25 is the one and only verse I have heard used so many times to defend this evil doctrine. The problem, as usual, is that it is misinterpreted and misapplied by men building their own kingdoms and seeking earthly benefits.
It is not those having left the church systems in obedience to the Lord who forsake the assembling together, but God’s people who remain in the gates of Hell and are like fish out of water, with equally disastrous consequences. As it says:
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 MKJV
(15) And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?
(16) And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
(17) “Therefore come out from among them and be separated,” says the Lord, “and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you
(18) and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
“Therefore Jesus also, so that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:12-14 MKJV).
Read The Case for Coming Out and Counterfeit Christianity for exposure of the false and The Church for evidence of the True. Also read Spiritual Reality vs. Make-Believe, His Watchmen Are Blind, False Christianity Unmasked, Christ vs. Christianity, and especially The True Marks of a Cult.
Consider the alternative to this doctrine: Follow the Lord outside the city, without the gate, away from the pernicious influence of men and their works. Meet God where He is, and forget trying to meet Him where He is not. Consider that you’re in church for all the wrong reasons – friendship, social benefits, sympathy, and attention – none of which has anything to do with worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24).