Passage: Hebrews 10:23-25
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Together, We…
Together, We…Can Be Real And Belong Together In Christ
“Let us not neglect our meeting together” (Heb. 10:25 NLT) is many pastors’ favorite passage for chiding church members towards more regular Sunday attendance. But that cliché reveals an uncomfortable truth: we all have Sundays where we’d rather do something else than participate in a church service. Thankfully, this misused passage from Hebrews has much more to say to us than “see! The Bible says you have to go to church!”; it actually helps us see why the community of the church is so critical to our life in Christ. As we look at the text in context, we’ll see that we participate in the community of the church to help each other cling to the hope we have in Christ (10:23) and to stir up one another to love and good works (10:24).
First, we participate in the community of the church to help each other cling to the hope we have in Christ(Heb. 10:23). The church addressed in the book of Hebrews had been going through a really tough time suffering persecution, being thrown in jail, and losing their property (10:32-34). There was a great temptation to give up on Christ, since he wasn’t making their life any easier. What should the church do about this? The author tells them to meet together and encourage one another (10:25). We all go through tough times, suffering different tragedies, and the temptation can be great to give up on Christ when he doesn’t make our lives any easier. But God has provided us with brothers and sisters in Christ through his church who can encourage us to hold on to our faith when the pressure is on. And likewise when we feel strong and think “I don’t need to go to church this Sunday” or “I don’t need to go to home group this week”, someone else needs you—your friendship, your encouragement, your confidence in faith—so that they too can cling on to Christ. We emphasize the value of “Community” not so that we can all be part of a nice group of people that we like, but because the bonds we form by intentionally showing love and grace to help people belong are the very same bonds that carry us through the storms attacking our faith in Christ.
We also participate in the community of the church to stir up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24). “Community” at Wellspring involves helping each other belong, and also becoming more and more real with one another—showing each other who we really are. This depth of honesty and vulnerability strengthens the bond of friendship with one another as we continue to extend love, grace, mercy, and patience with one another. And it also provides the opportunity for us to “stir one another up” to further steps of love and faithfulness in following Jesus. Becoming more real with one another is not a comfortable, nor an easy process. Yet by the power of the Holy Spirit we can not only know and be known more fully, but we can also spur one another on to be more deeply transformed by Jesus.
So let us “not neglect to meet together”, not simply because the Bible said so, but because we need one another. There will be times you need the community of faith to help you hold fast to your hope in Jesus. There will be times you will be the one helping others hold fast. And as much as our journey of faith is personal, it cannot flourish when kept private and isolated. We need one another’s help to take next steps in our journey with Christ, and this can only happen as we become more and more real with one another.