“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. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries”. Hebrews 10:23-27
Not rocket science
We have all heard the verse “forsake not the assembling of thyselves together” (KJV) or “not neglecting to meet together” (ESV). The writer to the Hebrews exhorts the recipients to not neglect meeting together. Pretty straight forward, correct? Let’s think about the context of the passage.
The writer of Hebrews is concerned about the spiritual well-being of Christians who have left the Jewish faith after believing. The argument presents various aspects of the Jewish faith and compares these aspects to the Lord Jesus. In each comparison, Jesus Christ is found to be far superior, complete, perfect, eternal, substantial, and real in contrast to that which is incomplete, imperfect, temporal, symbolic, and temporary.
The Lord’s work as priest
Within that context, we get to Chapter 10 in which the Lord Jesus Christ is compared to the priests of old and their sacrifices. The conclusion is that Christ’s priestly work is far superior and that His sacrifice, which was Himself, is far superior!
There are some very practical benefits that result from His sacrifice. The Holy Spirit draws our attention to these by repeating a phrase “Let us” followed by something we should make real in our life. It is within this context that we come across the phrase we are discussing – “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…”
Investing in others
We are directed to invest in each other’s lives by “stirring up one another to love and good works” as a result of and because of the Lord’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross! Immediately following that exhortation is the directive which reminds us that meeting together as believers is a responsibility, not an option.
The two exhortations are linked by the Holy Spirit and should be linked in our lives as well. While we certainly have modern conveniences that may allow us to “stir up one another to love and good works” via social media, email, and telephone, God’s Word would have us accomplish this primarily by attending meetings of the local assembly.
When is the last time you attended a meeting of the local assembly because you wanted to impact someone else’s life? According to the Word, it seems to be one of the main reasons we should gather (worship, prayer, and receive teaching are others). Acts 2:42 indicates that the early church continued steadfastly in fellowship!
Counting the cost
Continuing steadfastly has the essence of purposefulness at the cost of other things. Sadly, many Christians today feel like their attendance at most of the meetings of the assembly is no more important than whether they attend a sporting event or other social event.
Some believers have fallen into the habit of attending meeting when it is convenient to them or when they themselves benefit from the meeting. The Word of God would correct both of those attitudes if believers would allow the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to our lives!
As believers who desire to follow New Testament principles, one of those principles is the regular, consistent, purposeful, selfless attendance at the meetings of the local assembly so that you can be useful in stirring up other believers to love and good works.
Editorial note: This article was first posted on Digital Sojourner and is used with permission of the author.