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Why Are We Told Not to Give Up Meeting Together?

Believers need one another. They need mutual support and spurring toward greater service for their Savior that can only be found in gatherings with other followers. God urges believers to meet together because they need one another to stay strong in the faith.

Contributing Writer
Dec 28, 2021
Why Are We Told Not to Give Up Meeting Together?

In the church’s infancy, believers regularly met together to pray and eat together (Acts 2:46). New Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and found encouragement in the fellowship of the Body of Christ (Acts 2:42).

The example from the early believers in Acts 2 has become a model that many modern churches strive to achieve in terms of community and spiritual growth. Many believers long for the closeness and encouragement that marked the early church.

Today, followers of Christ can continue to be encouraged and strengthened in their faith by regularly meeting with other believers. Although modern churches are far from perfect and have their problems, Christians benefit greatly when they engage in church as a community.

In fact, the author of Hebrews urges believers to “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

Because Jesus is the Great High Priest who enables believers to commune with the Father, Christians can be strengthened in their faith and concerned about other believers by meeting and encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:19-25).

Regularly meeting with other Christians is essential because of the need for spiritual encouragement during persecution, the need for a support system, accountability, and to help build up the church, which can only happen in a Christ-exalting community of believers.

Jesus the Great High Priest

In Hebrews 10, the author of Hebrews continues his discourse about Jesus as the Great High Priest who offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Unlike the high priests of the Old Testament, who offered continuous sacrifices, which never took away sin, Jesus offered His own body and blood as the final sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:11-14).

Because of Jesus’ atoning and sacrificial death, believers have direct and unhindered access to God the Father (Hebrews 10:19-21). When Christ finished His work on the cross and died, the temple veil was torn in two, indicating that people now had direct access to God since Jesus is the only way to the Father (Matthew 27:51; John 14:6; Hebrews 10:20).

Understanding the great privilege believers have in Christ was important to the audience of Hebrews since they were experiencing persecution and pressure from the Jewish people (Hebrews 10:32-34).

Persecution from the Jews had caused some of the Christians to stop meeting together for community, accountability, and worship (Hebrews 10:25). There was a real and dangerous risk that some of the Christians would leave the faith because of the pressure they were experiencing.

The author of Hebrews wanted to warn them of this risk while also urging them onto boldness to worship Christ because of what He had accomplished in His atoning death and role as Great High Priest (Hebrews 10:19-25).

In his warning and encouragement, the author of Hebrews mentioned three main things for the Christians to do to stay strong in the faith. First, they were told to draw near to God with confidence since their guilt and sin had been cleansed by Christ’s sacrifice (Hebrews 10:22). Next, they were to hold onto the hope they professed since Jesus is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Finally, they were to consider how they could spur one another on to love and good works by meeting regularly together and encouraging each other (Hebrews 10:24-25). In this way, the Christians who were addressed by the author of Hebrews would stay firm in the faith.

Why Should Believers Regularly Gather?

The command to meet together has the idea of gathering or assembling together. In the Greek language, the same word in Hebrews 10:25 for “meeting” is only used in the Bible one other time in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 where Paul mentions the future gathering of believers when Christ returns.

Thus, the central thrust of Hebrews 10:25 is to gather with other believers regularly to encourage one another and be strengthened in the faith.

1. Persecution. As was mentioned, accountability and community from fellow Christians were especially important to the Christians mentioned in Hebrews because they were experiencing persecution and needed encouragement to stay grounded in the faith.

The command to not forsake meeting together is just as applicable and important today as it was during the early church period (2 Timothy 3:12). Modern Christians in other countries who regularly experience persecution find comfort and encouragement from their local community of believers.

People in Western countries, such as America, may never be threatened with death because they are a follower of Christ, but the need to connect with other believers is just as vital. Christians in free countries still need the encouragement of other believers to persevere because they may face persecution in the form of opposition or ridicule.

As Dr. Tom Constable stated in his Expositor’s Notes, “Regular attendance at church meetings facilitates love for one another because there we receive reminders and exhortation to persevere” (Dr. Constable’s Expositor’s Notes, “Hebrews 10:23-25,” NET Bible).

2. The need for a support system. Another reason all believers are told to not give up meeting together is because they need a support system to stay grounded in the faith (Hebrews 10:23-25).

God created humans to be with other humans, which is why the Christian community is vital to a believer’s faith (Genesis 2:18). The church consists of individual believers, but the image of the church being the “body of Christ” demonstrates the need for Christians to be connected (1 Corinthians 12:27).

If they neglect gathering together for encouragement and loving fellowship, then the “body” will suffer (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). For the sake of both themselves and others, believers should gather with other followers of Christ and find strength in the mutual encouragement such community offers.

3. Accountability. Regularly attending a local church can also provide accountability in the lives of believers. The author of Hebrews specifically mentioned the return of Christ, which is soon to happen (Hebrews 10:25; Revelation 22:12).

Meeting with disciples who are firmly grounded in the Word and in their faith can assist in one’s own walk with Christ. All Christians will give an individual account to the Lord at His Judgment Seat (2 Corinthians 5:10).

To prepare for that future Day, a person’s local church can provide accountability to stimulate growth in Christ and the production of spiritual fruit.

4. To help others. Finally, unless someone would gain the impression that the Body of Christ exists only to serve personal needs, meeting with other believers also allows a believer to exercise their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

Every believer has a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit intended to be used to help minister to the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25). To neglect these gifts is to miss the opportunity to help another follower of Christ find hope or to grow in their faith (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Believers Need One Another to Stay Strong in the Faith

John Donne’s idiomatic saying that “no man is an island” is certainly true. While Donne’s quote was specifically related to mankind’s relation to society, the pithy statement is just as true for Christians who belong to the larger Body of Christ, the church.

Believers need one another. They need mutual support and spurring toward greater service for their Lord and Savior that can only be found in gatherings with other followers of Christ.

God urges believers to meet together because they need one another to stay strong in the faith and to grow in their relationship with Christ. Christianity is not about individuals living out their faith in isolation and loneliness but is marked by gatherings of believers living for Jesus together.

For further reading:

What Is the Importance of Having a Spiritual Family?

The Excitement of Fellowship 

What Does it Mean to Be in the Family of God?

What Is the Meaning of the Body of Christ?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/jacoblund

Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening. 

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