ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12 – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE SPIRITUAL DANGER OF ISOLATION. It is an epidemic greater than the pandemic we are in and far more dangerous. It has been around since the church was founded. We are warned against it but still allow it in our lives. We know it is a commandment yet it is easily ignored. And probably nothing reveals our foolishness and stubbornness as sheep in the Lord’s pasture by our disobedience. Perhaps what is most alarming about what I am talking about is the ease Christians live this out with little regret, remorse, even thinking it is okay and they are healthy Christians. It is the sin identified in the New Testament letter of Hebrews – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:23-25). It is the willful decision to miss being with God’s people for times of worship, prayer, the Word and service. Now before we go on, let me make a couple of disclaimers. This isn’t a “pastor beat down of sheep” who are physically incapable of gathering with God’s people regularly for spiritual purposes. Nor is this a cry against vacations or legitimate emergencies. I am referring to those Sundays and opportunities for Bible studies, service in a church ministry or prayer time with other believers that we may attend but choose not to. Instead we opt for personal ease, comfort, or worldly pleasures. The dangers of choosing spiritual privatization or absenting ourselves from God’s clear commands to not neglect meeting with other believers are many, but let me just offer two.
First to not regularly meet with other believers for worship, time in the Word, prayer, mutual ministry to and with one another is simply choosing to disobey known commands of God. Quite simple, but quite serious. Any disobedience not only displeases the Lord but will remove our joy, create a hard heart, a critical attitude, and resistance to truth that brings conviction. Nothing ever good comes from disobeying God. Oh, if we choose worldly entertainment and pleasure over the Lord’s Day and time to be in spiritual engagements with other believers, we may have fun but it will be fleeting and forgotten. Conversely, sweet times with God’s people are lasting and not forgotten.
Another danger of trying to go alone in the Christian life is the sin of self-deception. When disobedience is tolerated in a life, then self-deception by justifying disobedience quickly follows. I have had Christians actually defend themselves to me when I ask, “Why don’t you regularly come to church?” or “How come you don’t come to prayer meetings?” or “I don’t see you in any Sunday class or Bible studies.” I hear, “I don’t have to do any of those to be a good Christian. I am good with the Lord.” My response, and is the response to any of us who think we can do “Lone Ranger Christianity” is . . .“You are right. You don’t have to do any of those things, but my real question is why wouldn’t you want to since you know the Lord wants you to?” Think about if you are trying to do this Christian life isolated from other believers. It is a very bad and dangerous place to be.
PRAYER: “Lord, please don’t let me fall into the sin of self-deception by thinking I can be a healthy Christian alone.”
QUOTE: “Try to be a private Christian, ignore fellowship with other believers and you will be a worldly, joyless Christian.”