Last post I talked about my journey towards a deeper understanding of Hebrews 10:25. I began by sharing what I realized this scripture did not say, specifically:
- It didn’t say be sure to go to church every Sunday.
- It didn’t say be sure that you gather in a specially designed building.
- It didn’t say be sure you join an institution.
- It didn’t say gather in one place around one primary leader.
- It didn’t say make sure you hear a 1-hour sermon every week (or a 40-minute one, or a 30-minute one).
- It didn’t even say how often to meet.
So what does it say? Well, let’s look at the context a bit. Hebrews 10:22-25 says:
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean 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 how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
These verses imply a number of things about the purpose Christian community. Here are a few, I see:
- To draw near to God
- To experience forgiveness
- To help each other hold fast and to not waver in our faith
- To spur each other on to love and good deeds
- To encourage each other
Furthermore, when reading the entirety of the book of Hebrews, one finds a major theme through out is that this world is a very difficult place, very much like a wilderness, which has a hardening tendency on our hearts (2:1, 3:7-8, 3:15, 4:7). It is in this context that we are exorted to:
The verse in 3:13 is especially interesting. I remember reading this verse once a few years back, and realized for the first time that it said to encourage each other “daily”. I looked up this word in my Greek lexicon, and found it meant (and I quote) “daily”. It hit me then that I wasn’t sure I had ever in my life encouraged someone or been encouraged by someone every single day.
So, a radical return to Hebrews 10:25-type gathering is what I would like to experience, in every increasing measure, in this life. Are you experiencing that? Let me hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.