I don't think that you will find a more abused Scripture than Hebrews 10:25 concerning “not forsaking our own assembling together”. This is usually used to chastise us because somebody thinks that we have not been “in Church” enough. However, is that what the Scripture means? We must remove our traditional and religious filters in order to see what is actually being said.
(Hebrews 10:24 NASB)
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
(Hebrews 10:25 NASB)
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
These two verses give us three things that we should be doing as the people of God: 1) let us consider how to stimulate one another; 2) let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together; 3) let us encourage one another.
1. Let us consider how to stimulate one another.
“Consider” means to observe carefully, to take careful note of one another's condition. It is the same word used in Hebrews 3:1 about “consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession”. When we truly “consider one another” there is a result, an outcome that affects who we are and what we do. By doing this we learn how to stir up or stimulate love and good works in each other. This is part of our spiritual duty, an obligation that we have to the Lord and to the Body of Christ.
2. Not forsaking our own assembling together.
Greek for “assembling” = episunagōgē (Strong’s # G1997). This is the only occasion that it is translated as “assemble” The only other usage is 2 Thessalonians 2:1, where it refers to our gathering together with the Lord at His return.
Comes from episunagō (Strong’s #G1996) and means “a complete collection”. Its root is two other Greek words—Strong’s numbers G1909 and G4863, which mean “to collect upon the same place; gather”. Putting all of this together, we get “to collect upon the same place to complete collection (assemble).” Based on this, it appears evident that the way we have been using “assemble” falls far short of its true meaning. To assemble together is more that meeting together.
The meaning of the phrase is “parts brought together, collected to be put together, assembled”. There is a spiritual goal in mind each time that we come together as the people of God. The Assembly, the Ekklesia, is the “ones called out” by the Holy Spirit and it is also the “ones called together” by the Holy Spirit.
There is already an executed design, which was developed by the designer, for anything that is being assembled, . There is a collection of parts that were also designed to be fitted together in a pre-determined place and a pre-determined order. The same is true of the Body of Christ. God has designed His Temple according to His own desires. He has pre-determined (chosen) the parts (living stones) and has a pre-determined placement and function for each one.
We have been told many times that the Sunday morning meeting is the assembling together and that if we don’t attend then we are “forsaking the assembling together”. This is simply not true. First, I have attended many Sunday mornings and that gathering is far short of the meaning of “assembly”. Second, no “assembling” is going on—it is just a bag full of parts that are being jiggled together. I am not at all sure that any institutional church has the capability to “assemble” the way that the Scriptures intend. At least, they can't and continue to function according to their denominational by-laws.
There are aspects of our coming to maturity that cannot be accomplished without us being “assembled together”. The things spoken above about “considering” can only be applied in a corporate gathering—we are “joined and knit together”. That is a two-step process—joined is coming together in relationship and knit is being bound, secured together, by the Holy Spirit. It is a time intensive process that requires commitment, endurance, and change on our part.
3. Let us encourage one another.
The Greek word that is translated “encourage” has a much broader meaning. This is how Thayer's Greek Definitions define it:
1) to call to one’s side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
2a) to admonish, exhort
2b) to beg, entreat, beseech
2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty
2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted
2d) to encourage, strengthen
2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
2f) to instruct, teach
As you can see, the meaning of the word includes exhort, comfort, console, encourage, strengthen, instruct and teach. Therefore, the meaning of the word can only be applied in a corporate context and is included when we “assemble” and “consider” as discussed earlier.
1 Peter 2:5 NASB
(5) you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
While in Eternity the Body is complete, in time, being built together or “assembled” is an ongoing process that is being worked out. This process is definitive and necessary as we are assembled. We need to develop a perspective that looks at “church” from the viewpoint of God's intention.
Ephesians 4:15-16 NASB
(15) but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
(16) from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Each part is necessary and supplies something to the whole body for growth and building up.
As the people of God, these three things from Hebrews 10: 24 and 25 are required of us. They should be important to us as we come together. However, it becomes obvious that for us to fulfill the Word and actually do these three things, requires us to gather in a manner that would allow it to take place. It would also require the direction of the Holy Spirit to administrate these things to provide an orderly manner for them to be accomplished.