Worship Times

Sundays    10:30 a.m.
                    4:00 p.m.

Today's Verse


An Unfaithful Example

By Mark Grant

In Hebrews ten we read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 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” (Heb. 10:23-25; NKJV). This passage sets forth the crucial importance of the local church and the necessity thrust upon every Christian to be faithful when a local congregation of saints comes together for public worship. To believe in Jesus and stand “firm to the end” will take determination, because our faith will be challenged and opposed. This involves overcoming difficulties and withstanding pressures from the world. One of the ways in which we can overcome these trials and troubles is to meet God inside his dwelling place, his holy temple. Going to a church assembly can help us step aside from the busy cares of this life so we can quietly meditate and pray. The place that Christians are to find edification and encouragement is not out in the world, but in the prayers, singing, teaching, and fellowship in the worship of our God. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

WITHOUT WAVERING

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…” Just as God has been faithful in keeping His promises, the church is called upon to be faithful in holding fast to its confession that our only “hope” is in Christ.. The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. Severe trials will sift true Christians from fair-weather believers. For eternal life in Christ Jesus in not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact God is faithful to keep his promises (Tit. 1:2). God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total confidence in Him. Faith in Christ Jesus is the supreme effort of your life, and part of that faith is “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.”

LET US CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” We have significant privileges with our new life in Christ. A new life produces a new hope, which should motivate us to a new purpose. Notice how the Hebrew writer stresses to “let us consider one another” which is directly related to the appreciation and encouragement of the faith of one‘s fellow Christians. As Christians we should demonstrate the utmost care and concern for every one of the Lord’s disciples. The apostle wrote, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints” (Col 1:3). To “consider one another” speaks forcefully of the tremendous impact believers can have on each other. This is why “to stir up love and good works” shows the importance of mutual encouragement and participation in the body of Christ. When Christians gather, everyone should give and receive. Our mutual faith gives us a common language and common purpose for encouraging one another. “Stir up” comes from the Greek word “paroxysmos” which means, “to arouse, to excite, to call into action,” and it is used in this sense here to promote Christians to “stir up” and urge to action “love and good works” when we come together in the assembly. This enables us to go further and rise higher in our Christian growth than if we try to go it alone. To neglect Christian meetings is to give up the encouragement and help of other Christians. We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen one another in the Lord. That is why Christians need each other for the assemblage of saints can create greater spiritual fervor, devotion, and service to God. We help others to be faithful to Christ by “exhorting” one another when we regularly attend the assembly. Just as physical food keeps us alive and strong, so also the spiritual nourishment of teaching and fellowship are necessary for our survival. It was Jesus who taught, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27). A person who went to church regularly wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for thirty years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like three thousand sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some thirty two thousand meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!” Let us never forget, that it takes an assembly to make sure that our worship experience is fruitful, our fellowship as believers is valuable, and our gathering together as Christians is profitable. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Ac 2:42).

NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLY

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…” Evidently some believers had stopped attending the worship services of the church, perhaps because they feared persecution (Heb. 12:4). Difficulties no matter how hard they might seem should never be an excuse for missing church services. Rather, as difficulties arise, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance. A preacher went to visit a Christian whose attendance had slacked off. When the preacher entered his home they both gathered by the fireplace to talk. The preacher asked the church member about his absence from services, and the Christian replied, “I think I can worship God alone as well as at Church.” After reflecting a moment, the preacher took the fireplace tongs, lifted a live coal from the fire, and set it down at the side of the grate. As they watched, its color turned to gray and the heat slowly died. The church member got the point. After a pause, he said, “I’ll be at the services Sunday.”

If we aren’t actively involved in fellowship and worship when we are to gather together, our spiritual fervor tends to die and grow cold. The Greek word for “not forsaking” speaks of desertion and abandonment. When Christians forsake the assembly, then the glow of spiritual vitality will gradually disappear for no Christian life can be sustained in voluntary isolation. When we sense this happening, we must take action immediately. David said, “I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psa. 122:1). Going to worship God should never be treated as if we are going to a funeral service. “My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psa. 84:2). Worship of the true God is intended to remove human misery, and help us serve God with gladness. The best assurance of perseverance is to attend the public worship of Almighty God through Christ. It is only by this constant mutual encouragement that comes in meeting together, that the Christian can avoid falling away. “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Psa. 92:13 -14). By banding together it will provide the stimulus that will help us grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ for there is great encouragement in a shared commitment. Christians should never forsake the assembly of the church; and the fact that some still do today, as was the case back then, is no permission for the faithful to follow an unfaithful example.