On Gathering Together part 1

16 Nov

We as Christians need to make a priority out of gathering on a regular basis with other Christians for the study of God’s Word and for worship.

Let’s look at Hebrews 10:19-25 and over several posts, notice why.

First, let me just point our need to gather.  Before we go much further, I want to show you why it is I say, we need to gather.

The first I thing I want you to notice in this passage, and this isn’t so direct, it’s more like an implication, so there are two reasons we need to gather in this passage, the first is an implication of the gospel, if you just look down at the text, I think you will notice when you begin to read it were all the plurals. 

Now plural words as opposed to singular words, means we or us as opposed to you and I. 

Verse 19,

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence…”

Verse 21,

“And since we have a great priest…”

And then verse 22, 23 and 24 all begin with the phrase,

“Let us…”

So often when we read the Bible we read it in terms of I, but so much of the Bible, like here in Hebrews talks in terms of we and that’s because of course what God’s doing in this great salvation plan is more than just saving you as an individual, He’s intending to rescue a people for Himself. 

The Bible assumes we, it assumes if you are a Christian you are part of an us, because that is a big part of what God is doing in salvation, creating a new community.

Someone once said when we talk about salvation we shouldn’t only talk about justification, we should also talk about familification.  Because just as you are justified when you are saved, you are also familified, made part of God’s family and just as you need to apply the truth that you are justified to your everyday life, you need to apply the truth that you have been familified to the way you live your life as well.    

Unfortunately, you know, you will meet people who say they are Christians but have no regular, intimate, accountable, relationships with other Christians outside of themselves and their family.

They say I am saved but they are not gathering together with a church on a regular basis and what’s sad is they don’t think it matters, because they think I can be fine, just me and God, or me and God and my family, I don’t need the church, and if you talk to them they might even tell you, I can be just as obedient to God by myself with my family as I can be in a church, and you know I think the writers of the Bible might say to them, really, is that true, you can be just as obedient to God by being disobedient to what He says, because when you read the Bible and passages like this one in Hebrews, you will find it is always talking about the Christian life in terms of an intimate community with other believers in a local church, in terms of us, and not just I.   

As someone has said, “The gospel has a purpose– and that purpose is bigger than just saving you by yourself – it has the the purpose of calling out a people for God’s own possession. This is the whole point of the good news – God forming a people for His glory and the good of the world.”

If you try to think about the gospel without this forming of a gospel community, you are missing that goal.  It would be a little like going to adopt a child and rejoicing when the adoption papers are signed, but forgetting to bring the child home and make him part of your family.  I mean it’s good the papers are signed, but there is a point bigger than the signing of the papers, and that’s making him part of your family. 

When we look at the gospel, the implications of the gospel, means we have to think in terms of us, that’s one reason we need to gather.

The second way we see our need to gather in this passage is a lot more direct.  It is a command. 

Hebrews 10:24 and 25, “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 approaching.”

The word for meet together is actually the Greek word, epi-synagogue and you might be familiar with the word synagogue, because that’s where the Jewish people in Jesus’ day met on a regular basis to talk about God’s Word and here, when the writer uses this term, he’s simply talking about an assembly of believers like we are having today.   There certainly can be more to what he’s saying than that, but definitely not less.  At the very least, he is commanding us not to neglect meeting together like this.

Now, it’s important to understand that back in the day when the writer was giving this exhortation, people generally lived with a whole bunch of other people in their homes, they had these big households, and so when they talk about not meeting together, you can’t picture just one person on his own week after week, but this is a person staying back with this big family, and the writer is saying that is not enough, you need to be meeting with the people of God.

They would have plenty of excuses and probably better ones than ours, this was a time of great persecution and more persecution was coming, and so there were people who didn’t want to gather together with the church, because it seemed physically dangerous to them and yet, the writer says, not meeting together is not an option.

When we look at what God was doing in our salvation, the assumptions the Bible makes about Christians and community and this command to gather even in the face of persecution, it’s obvious, that this meeting, is to be a priority in our lives as believers, we need to gather. 

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