Summary: There is a vast difference between professing one's relationship to Christ and one demonstrating the reality of one's relationship to and faith in Christ.
There is a vast difference between professing one's relationship to Christ and one demonstrating the reality of one's relationship to and faith in Christ. Paul in writing to Titus (Titus 1:16) speaks of a group of professing Christians and says, "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." What Paul is saying is that they profess to be saved, but by their lifestyle, the habitual practices of their life, their lips lie. However, their actions tell the truth about their spiritual condition. In Hebrews 10, Paul presents the argument that one of the evidences of being a child of God is a love for the things of God and an active participation within the body of the family of God along with an accompanying transformation. Many have their name on the roll of a local church but that does not mean that they are an active part of the family of God. This point is clearly demonstrated by a study that was conducted by the Strategic Information and Planning Department of the SBC's Sunday School Board that reported only 37% of members in SBC churches attend the primary worship service of the church and that only 12.3% of the membership attend something more than a once a week meeting. This does not even address how few actually serve within the church. There is a vast difference between being a member of a local church and being an active member within the family of faith. An active member is one who has committed him or herself regularly attend and participate in a local New Testament, Bible preaching, Christ honoring church, unless they are prevented by circumstances beyond their control. Just having one's name on the membership list of a local church falls far short of God's expectations. In looking at Hebrews 10, I would like you to see an exhortation, an expectation, and a admonition or warning.
I The Exhortation - Stimulating and inciting others to live for Christ
A. Hebrews 10:24-25 "let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
B. Here we are not given the command to love one another and do good works but to live lives in such a way that others will be stimulated and incited to live for Christ.
C. This stirring one another up to love and good deeds ought to be motivated by a sense of our Lord's imminent return. Each day closer to His glorious Second Coming should serve to motivate us to pour ourselves into acts of love toward one another.
D. John Piper has an interesting comment on this section writing that stimulating one another...is the focus for your life. Here is what you aim at from morning till night as a Christian. Notice carefully: it is not what you might expect. It is not: consider how to love each other and do good deeds. That would be Biblical and right. But it’s different: “Consider how to stimulate each other to love and good deeds.” Focus on helping others become loving people. Aim at stirring up others to do good deeds. And of course the implication would also be that if others need help and stirring, we do too, and so we would be aiming at what sorts of ways we can think and feel and talk and act that will stir each other up to love and to do good deeds. The aim of our lives is not just loving and doing good deeds, but helping to stir up others to love and to good deeds. - John Piper, Consider Each Other How to Stir Up Love, April 6, 1997
E. As the Body of Christ we are to come together in order encourage, exhort, admonish and even when necessary to rebuke other believers to press on for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, to fight the good fight of faith, to run the race with endurance, and to finish well. You cannot do that by staying away from or infrequently being with the church.
F. John Wesley once said, There is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian.
G. It is interesting that the word that is translated "admonishing" or "encouraging" in verse 25 is the Greek word parakaleo - which means to call one alongside. Again the idea is the necessity of helping each other to live for Christ.
H. Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
I. The world will try to pressure us