When You Don't Come to Church (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
Topic: One Body: Love One Another Passage: Hebrews 10:24–10:25
* Abbeviated notes/outline below:
When You Don't Come to Church
(Hebrews 10:24, 25)
(One Body: Love One Another)
I. Something's Wrong
If a husband didn’t come home for dinner 6 out of 7 days of the week, or not at all, would it sound to you like something was wrong? Yes, could be understandable excuse (travel, hospital, etc.). But what if you knew it wasn't any of those? Maybe liked to work late, joined a bowling league, didn't like his wife's cooking, etc. Would it point to a deeper problem than just missing a meal? Not being in that place physically would probably mean he wasn't in a good place spiritually.
I would argue same is true of Christians when they don't come (sporadic) to church. Hebrews 10!
II. The Passage: “Not Neglecting to Meet Together” (10:24, 25)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.
To understand, let's think about outside and inside of this passage. Inside: v. 25a: neglect... translated “forsake” in 13:5, “I will never forsake you”. Forsake, desert...not one another, but “meeting together” (epi-synagogue). Attendance is not just a school day or a workplace issue. God cares. Like husband and dinner, there are understandable excuses. But for others not attending, or sporadic attendance points to a deeper problem: Lifestyle? Relational? Judgmental? Theological!
And it's not just a problem today (modern): “as is habit of some”. Probably a number of reasons, but immediate and broad context points to pressure/persecution for first readers. V. 23, “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering”.
Also think about Outside: notice bookends: “one anothers”. These brackets are critical to move us past attendance as an end in itself. No one should pat himself on back because he attends. Showing up is a good thing, but it isn't the main thing. Encouraging! Spurring on! It's why we come together. How can you tell an irregular attender is okay spiritually? They are still involved in an encouraging relationships! God's call is not just to come, but to care, to be commited to others. Look at 3:13. They didn't “meet” every day, but encouragement was to be an everyday thing.
So this is not a chastisement about attendance, it is a reminder, a plea to love one another.
III. Consider How and When
So what is God saying to you when you don't come to church? 1. Understandable reason, He is saying make sure you are still engaged for encouragement. 2. Concerning reason, He is calling you to repent, and then to come and care, trusting Him to help your heart.
And for all of us, the goal is practical application of 'how' and 'when'. We are to “consider” how stir up, spur on (from a word for “sharp”) to “love and good works” (example in vs. 32-36). We consider lots of things, every day. But do we consider this, specifics with specific brothers/sisters?
And as we see, this practical application to “spur on” is spurred on by the 'when', by “the Day” of Christ's return. Mark 13:32-37. That should both sober us and encourage us. And we can use that truth to spur on and encourage one another. Will you trust Him to do this in and thru you?
More in The Essentials: One Body
June 11, 2017When You Live Under God's Roof (I Timothy 3:14, 15)
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April 9, 2017The Church-Building Heart (Ephesians 4:31, 32)