HEBREWS 10:22-25: “…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
OBSERVATION: It is so much more than mere church attendance! Verses 24-25 are favorite verses for pastors who like to remind their congregations about the importance of church attendance, and justifiably so. Yet, these verses are about so much more than church attendance. They are about our standing in Christ and fulfilling our God given call and destiny!
We are called to draw near to the Lord in full assurance of faith. We can do this because our sins have not just been “covered”, they have been taken away by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have entered into a new destiny. We have received a new hope. We are no longer slaves to sin – we are freedmen in Christ. We are called to hold fast to our confession of faith without wavering. We can do this because He who promised is faithful. We are His new creation. We are the redeemed sons and daughters of the living
As such we have a new perspective toward life. We are no longer living our lives for ourselves. We now have the mind of Christ. We are called to look toward the needs of others, not just our own needs. We are enabled to do this because the power of selfishness, that found its’ strength through sin, has been broken. We are now compelled by the love of Christ. This love calls us to consider our brothers and sisters. It calls us to stand along side of them and encourage them to draw near to the Lord and to hold fast to their confession of hope.
This is one of the key reasons we attend church. This is why we do not neglect the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some. First and foremost we gather to worship the Lord. Second, we gather to minister to one another, to encourage one another, to stir up the God given calling and destiny He has given to each one. We all grow tired and weary in our walk of faith. It is our call to mutually fan the flames of our faith and love. As we abide together, even the smoldering wick is saved and enflamed. Left alone we lose our zeal and open ourselves to the attacks of the enemy. Together, we stand strong in the hope of the Lord!
So the next time I have the chance to gather with the saints – I need to think of it in a whole new way. It is not a matter of – “Well, no one will miss me anyway.” It is a matter of – “Who will not be encouraged if I am not there?” And we discover something dynamic that happens as we begin to stir up one another in our love and commitment to Christ – our love and commitment to Christ is also stirred up! Jesus said – “Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measured, pressed down, and running over…” The context of this verse was love, mercy, and forgiveness! This sounds like our call to stir up one another, to exhort one another, to walk in the completed work of Christ with one another!
Lord, help me to open my heart to those who are hurting. Give me a sensitive spirit as I gather together with the saints at church to encourage someone who is weak in the faith, to exhort someone who is lacking courage to fulfill Your call, and to fan the flames of faith, hope, and love in everyone – including myself! It is so much more than simply attending church! In Jesus Name!