Summary: A sermon to encourage faithful church attendance.
“Does Church Attendance Matter”
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
I. The Admonishment “Let us consider one another…”
The writer here speaks of the duty of mutual consideration as a means of sustaining us in this “new and living way.”
a. Our dependence
It has been said that “no man is an island” and this is true for we are all interdependent and this is especially true of the Christian church.
b. Our discernment
Consider means to have empathy for and sympathy with our brothers and sisters in Christ so as to look for their best interests. Barnes says; ‘Let us so regard the welfare of others as to endeavor to excite them to persevere in the Christian life. They were not to be selfish; they were not to regard their own interests only.”
c. Our dedication
Let us consider is in the Greek present tense so we are to “keep on considering” our brothers.
II. The Aim “…to provoke one another to good works…”
Our walk with Christ was never designed to be lived in isolation. The mutual consideration we give to one another in Christ is of the utmost importance. Cain asked if he was “…his brother’s keeper…” and the answer is yes we are!
a. The right agitation
That’s the idea behind the word provoke. We are to stir up and spur on one another.
b. The right attitudes
The Christian attitudes of faith and hope can be practiced in isolation but love can only be exercised in the company of others.
c. The right actions
Good works is a broader term for deeds that are not only morally good, but also internally beautiful and externally appealing.
III. The Activity “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…”
This admonition about the Christian assembly is directly connected to the mutual consideration of verse 24. Basically he is saying that there is no more appropriate place to provoke one another to good works than in the weekly assembly of believers.
a. It’s abandonment
Forsake is a very strong word indicating abandonment. It is the same Greek word for our Lord’s cry on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
b. It’s act
The word assembling is a noun rather than a verb and refers to the act of assembling rather than the assembly itself. It is a reference to assembling for prayer, praise, worship, reading, and exhortation. So he is saying do not forsake the act of assembling together.
c. Its actuality
The admonition is not speculative for some had already grown accustomed to this habit or “manner.” Some from the Christian community had taken up this sad practice perhaps because they had backslidden and needed a renewal of their faith or they were being persecuted and were withdrawing out of fear. Others perhaps had abandoned the assembly because they had “loved this present world” while others felt spiritually superior and that they no longer needed the fellowship or instruction of the assembly.
THE SILENT SERMON
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending Services regularly, stopped going.
After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited...
The preacher made himself at home, but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.
And after some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.
Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.
The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.
Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday..."