About a year ago there was a State mandate that we couldn’t gather together, not even family. When the Church first started Peter was commanded by the authorities to not teach or speak about Jesus, and his response in Acts 5:29 was “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” In Hebrews 10:25 it commands us to “not forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some.” Christians all over the world gather together secretly with the threat of losing their jobs, being sent to prison, and even being killed, but they meet anyway. I once attended and preached in a service in a country where gathering as Christians was strictly forbidden. There was about 100 people squeezed together, sitting on the floor, in a room the size of our living room and they insisted that I preach for three hours. In talking to them I learned that almost all of them had been persecuted in some way in the last several years for their illegal gatherings. Some were beaten, others had their crops destroyed, many had family members in jail, and a number had family members who had been killed. For me, it was a no brainer that we would gather together in person, worship, fellowship, and hear the Word taught, it is commanded by God and we don’t grow without it. During this last year our church has had it’s greatest growth in the 40 year history of our church. Many who came were from churches that weren’t meeting, but now that churches are opening back up many of those people are returning to their home churches. But many who started coming were looking for answers during these turbulent times, looking for peace, and looking for the security that they would spend eternity in heaven if they did get COVID and die.
A sad thing for me is that many are now very haphazard and irregular in their gathering together because they are camping, fishing, traveling, going to the coast, and on the list goes. I am headed for Alaska in a couple of days but I will be attending a church in Soldotna. The reason I will is because God says “don’t forsake gathering together, as is the habit of some,” I either believe the Bible is the Word of God and follow it or I don’t. Jesus is either Lord of my life or He isn’t , depending on if I obey Him. Many tend to pick and choose what is convenient. Being faithful to our church is not an issue of being saved and going to heaven, because heaven is free, a gift received by faith, but it is an issue of growing, of commitment, and Loving the Lord. It doesn’t mean that we never miss, but it does mean that it is not done lightly.,