In the first part of our series, we began to look at one verse that is the foundation of why we should go to church as
I want to go back to the foundational verse we’ve been looking at in laying out
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. (Hebrews 10: 24-25)
The number one reason why the church gathers is that God commands it. This reason undergirds all the rest. It is the cornerstone on which every other reason rests. The church gathers because God said to do so.
There is a lot of talk about the love of God in the church but much of that is based on fluff, not substance. If we truly love the Lord, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15, John 15:10). Notice that the Lord didn’t say anything about how you felt in terms of loving Him. He simply said if you truly love Him, this is what you will do. Loving God is not only about what you feel on the inside but what you do on the outside because what you do on the outside shows what you feel in the inside.
Not only will we keep His commandments,
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
If we fail to congregate with other believers then we are derelict in this call to do good to them. It is another reason why we gather as the church, so that we can fulfill this call to do good to other brothers and sisters.
I said earlier that we talk an awful lot about love in the church but we don’t consider gathering with the church an act of love when we should.
First, it is an act of love toward God. Second, it is an act of love towards other brothers and sisters. It is an opportunity for us to encourage one another to love (the Greek word here literally means ‘to incite’) and be able to bless others with an impetus to do good work. However, when we neglect the gathering of the church, this is impossible. It might be said that we can do good to other believers and not congregate as a church but the gathering of the church is a specific call to love other believers for this purpose. It is fulfilling the command the Lord Jesus left for us, that we would gather to let the world know that we are His disciples by loving one another (John 13:35). It is thinking about others before we think about ourselves (Romans 12:10). So a main thrust of the church gathering is to love other believers and stir up that same love within each other.
This has been one of the cornerstones of the church gathering that has been lost. Everyone is coming to a church gathering these days to be served and not to serve. They come to the church gathering not with a sense of loving God and blessing others, but they are in their hearts saying the same thing that Janet Jackson said in the mid-80s in her hit song “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” You find this in the way that people go about looking for churches. The attitude is that they shop for a church that has the programs and features that they want like a television instead of praying where God wants them to serve.
As a side note, the Galatians 6:10 passage is speaking about
If you are not active in your church and the only thing you do is sit there like a bump on a log, that’s a problem, but it’s better than not showing up at all. If that’s all you have to give at the moment then give yourself in presence. That means we don’t sit at home watching it on a television screen. We actually interact and have communication in person, face to face with other believers.
It becomes clear in verse 25 that this was even a problem during the time Hebrews was written. If you want to go with an approximate timeframe, that would be around 64 A.D. So this is not a new problem though I believe we have an exacerbation of that problem today.
Another reason that we see at the end of verse 25 is as we see the Day approaching. This Day being talked about is the Day of the Lord which is the Lord coming back in judgment. We should be preparing ourselves to be in saintly communion as much as possible because we are in the Last Days.
So we’ve seen that in this passage there are three reasons for gathering with the church: because God commanded it in his word which is the reason that undergirds all the rest, so that we can provoke one another to love and do good, and so we can encourage one another as we see the Day approaching.
In the next installment I’m going to expand on the things that we do as the assembly of the saints in terms of provoking to love and good works.
God bless you and keep you.by