Vol.XVII No.XI Pg.4
January 1981

Taking Time To Grow

Curtis Wubbena

Using Christ's definition in Matt- 5:6 there must have been many blissful Christians in the early church. The church on the day of Pentecost was one that did hunger and thirst after righteousness. God says they, "...continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers-" (Acts 2:42)

Since many who had obeyed the Gospel were not from Jerusalem there was a problem with sustenance. Would they starve or would they have to immediately return to their homes? Neither would come to pass. So highly regarded was spiritual growth that "...all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need." (Acts 2:44-45) What a fantastic attitude towards exhortation.

However, not all in the first century possessed this love of truth. The book of Hebrews mentions some who had flippant attitudes toward spiritual maturation. By reason of time they should have been teaching. Yet, they had not even left the doctrine of the first principles of Christ (Heb. 6:1). They are mentioned by God as those who "...have need of milk and not of solid food." (Heb. 5:12)

In the same book we learn of others who did not think righteousness was important. Their mind was such that they refused to meet with brethren. "...let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh." (Heb. 10:24-25) The gathering of Christians has a specific purpose. It is for exhortation and strength. Some made it a custom or a habit to miss this time of growth. How would God describe us? Are we like those on the day of Pentecost? Many try to justify their weak inward man. "I don't miss much." Some even quote Heb. 10:25. They profess, "It is alright to miss as long as I don't make it a custom."

Heb. 10:25 does not teach it is permissible to miss the assembly. In fact, it forbids us from missing spiritual encouragement. It is important that we grow in grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18). God clearly says, "not forsaking our own assembling together." How many times car we willfully miss before we are forsaking? The Bible is its own best commentary. The same Greek word is used in Matt- 27:46. On the cross Jesus cried, "...My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" To forsake is to turn one's back upon. How many times did God turn His back on Christ? Ht did it only once, and it was for a purpose. Christ had to die to take our sins away. If one's absence is a "turning of the back" upon assembling, it only takes one absence to be wrong. What kind of attitude do we possess? Do we make excuses, or done take time to grow? There are times when we must miss. When Paul was in prison he could not meet with brethren. But he wanted to be present and so should we.