The Bible tells us we need Christian fellowship so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25). Fellowship is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honour one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
Any who claim to have faith in Christ are not expected to persevere alone. Instead, it becomes a community project with Christians encouraging Christians to stay true to their profession. The moment you think that you are excluded from building each other up or that your participation is unnecessary you hurt the well being of your own soul and that of others. We are told in Hebrews 3:13 to encourage one another in order that none of you be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Mutual involvement in each other lives is required to build up the faith of others, especially weaker members. Hebrews warns that some have chosen to leave their assembly – forsake not the assembling of yourselves as some have (10:25) – an intentional defection by some who may in time turn completely away.
It is common practise for those who belong to Christ to have a desire to enter into the company of other Believers to pray and worship and receive His Word. God puts it in the Believer’s heart to fellowship and worship with other Christians. It is an anomaly and a sure sign of spiritual decline when avoidance of fellowship and worship is preferred. While Hebrews sets before us a clear warning that it is possible to fall away from God; consequently, we are to fear, lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. (4:1)
What should we fear? We should fear unbelief! Fear not trusting God! The Israelites were not able to enter into God’s rest because of unbelief. Therefore, fear from descending into a faithless state and ruin. Not trusting God will keep you from entering God’s rest—God’s haven of salvation and God’s heaven. Not trusting His Gospel, not responding to His Word!
Apostasy was a common concern in Old Testament time. On his return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah warned the exiles about Israel’s unbelief in rebuilding the wall (9:9-20). About a thousand years later again Israel’s failure was chronicled in Psalms 95 during King David’s day, and 1st century Jewish Believers were cautioned about their forefathers’ sin and told to make every effort to enter into that rest and not fall into the same sort of disobedience. For any to think that this same hardening that happened to Israel cannot be our experience is prideful thinking. We must strive to keep our faith alive and active, and to rest inwardly in Christ finished work, and that he will carry us through tempestuous times. Our daily efforts to remain faithful must be united to our faith in Christ, who is at work in us through His Holy Spirit.
So think about this the next Lord’s Day or prayer meeting night. A person cannot be much help to exhort others to remain faithful when he chooses to stay home from meetings. Plenty of good comes when care is taken to encourage others. While Believers do their part, spiritual maturity grows, and the weak are strengthen. It may be that you have not made a commitment to Christ and are disobedient in many things. You have trained yourself to hear the Word but have never mixed it with faith. Very dangerous to keep on hearing and not believing what it says. Make a commitment to obey Christ today, and harden not your heart.