Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord- Part 2

Here are my notes from Sunday morning's sermon:

Hebrews 10
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.

What does it mean to stir, or stimulate, one another to love and good deeds? We know what it is like for the world to try to stir people to do things. Marketers spend 1 trillion dollars trying to get people to buy products. But how should the Christian be stirred up and stir others up to do those things that God would want us to do?

First, this call to stir one another up is linked to the Gospel itself. Notice the "and" in verse 24. We need to hold fast to the confession of our faith
(Hebrews 10:14- "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified."), which results in loving one another and doing good deeds. The sin of liberal "Christianity" is that they try to do good things and try to love others and yet don't hold fast to the Gospel. But, we are told in Scripture:

Ephesians 2
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The words "let us" have a humbling effect. It isn't just the pastor who is to stir Christians up. It isn't just those in positions of leadership that are to spur one another on. Every Christian is called to do these things, although how each one serves will look different.

As Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."

Also see Romans 12:3-8

"Consider" means to think about carefully, to notice, to envision. This is the same also used in Hebrews 3:1: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession." We should not only consider Jesus but consider one another as well.

Who is this "one another"? We are fragile in and of ourselves (Psa 103:14-16). But we are beloved of God, and Christ does not break off a battered reed nor put out a smoldering wick (Matthew 12:20). And neither should we: Romans 15:1-2 "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification." In one sense, our eternity depends on stirring one another up. Hebrews 10:26-27 comes on the heels of the command to consider how to stir one another up to love and good deeds and to not neglect the assembling of ourselves together: "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES."

How should we stir one another up? By being with one another, as commanded in Hebrews 10:25. It means getting people to do what they already want to do! Christians love the brethren (John 13:35, 1 John 4:12). They long to see one another conformed into the image of Christ. This means that the church needs to focus on making disciples, not drawing crowds (God loves to conquer the world with small armies- consider Gideon's in Judges 7). Preaching the Word and pursuing love and good deeds will build the church. Marketing strategies can't and won't.


At 12/17/2005 10:12:00 AM , Anonymous Bob Christenson said...

Hi MarieP been awhile since I talked with you. Great article! Elihu from prosapologian. Hope all is well with you. Freel free to email me anytime.


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