A great deal of emphasis has been placed on assembling together throughout the millennia but why is this the case – what is the purpose of fellowship? This is a question that we at the Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship take very seriously. Many people will point out that it is a Biblical order (for indeed it is) to do so yet there are many who do not truly understand the heart of this commandment. Some find it an effective, entertaining past-time for an otherwise long, tedious day without work. Others believe it is a place to learn new things about the Scriptures. Still others believe it is a place to socialize with people of similar belief and priorities. Some believe it is a duty, a mitzvah, to attend the congregation on a weekly basis and will censure those who do not do as they do, aptly forgetting the countless wilderness experiences mentioned throughout the Tanakh and B’rit Chadasha!
While some of these points (along with many others) are valid, their emphasis is not entirely Biblical. Consider the following verses in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the day coming near.” Indeed the command to assemble is explicit but note the reasons stated for this: “to stir up love and good works”, “encouraging”, etc. A fellowship is the gathering together of believers with the primary objective of driving and helping each other to prepare for the coming end, to spread the Word, and to fulfill the mitzvot and orders of Yeshua.
Though often said this is seldom applied (or emphasized!) for it is very difficult to do. There are several obstacles to this Biblical fellowship, many of which originate from speech (slandering and gossiping) and, ultimately, the quarrelsome pleasures that battle in one’s members (see James 4:1). Sadly, many congregations become breeding grounds for slander, gossip, arguing, accusing, etc. What is the cause of all of this? The complex issue that has plagued so many can be named in one word, “pride”, and fixed in one action: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Master, and He shall lift you up.” (James 4:10) If Elohim commands believers to do something, they can have faith in Him to enable them to obey it!
Our Fellowship has made this a paramount goal – to humble ourselves and refuse to partake in slander, gossip, and belligerence. Unfortunately, however, this task is entirely beyond the grasp of man (see James 3:8) so we turn to יהוה in deference and pray continually to grow together as a group. This theme is a common one, reiterated by the leadership and the whole assembly, for it is one that is central to the efficacy of a congregation.