Today’s Scripture is taken from the book of Hebrews, chapter 10. It is part of a long “therefore” passage which itself builds on the wonderful truths about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25:
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.
I have previously spoken to the unreality of being a Christian “in isolation.” These one-another commandments continue to point out the fact that we can only be what we are called to be together, together in real local fellowships, together with real and flawed fellow Christians, together learning to become the kind of distinctive community He calls us to be for His glory.
This passage reminds us of a very real responsibility we have with regard to the other. We are to “stir up” the another to “love and good works.” So, going to church, or to a small group gathering, or to a community Christian event, we find that should not go with the idea merely of what we’re going to get out of it, how we are going to have this quiet private thing with God (or loud noisy thing with God), how we expect to get a spiritual buzz from the music or sermon or whatever. Church is work. Life is work. Being a Christian is work. If you need to collapse and think only or mainly of yourself, go to the woods, or to a spa, or go get a manicure.
We are to “consider.” This means think about, ponder, set our minds to something. How can we bless our brethren? How can we edify them? How can we help them be what God wants them to be – people whose lives are full of love and good works. We need think to think ahead about that.
One reason that we aren’t as keen about this stuff these days is because, either as consumerist Christians, or as semi educated Protestants, or both, we have forgotten that God fully intends to make us different. He fully intends to change us and transform us. “Being saved” includes that as much as it includes being spared from hell. As it says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” I could cite a dozen verses, or more, to this same effect.
And God uses each of us as agents of the other’s transformation! We have a role in whether or not our brother or sister becomes what God has called and created them to be! They have that same role for us. So we are to put our minds to how we can best spur others along, edify them, encourage them, so that their lives will be characterized by love and by good works.
This is all the more important as we see “the Day” approaching. “The Day” is the return of Christ. It is “the day of the Lord.” It is “the day of His appearing.” And guess how He wants to find us when he comes? Holy, blameless, expectant, going about His business, alert, awake, obedient. I could site dozens of verses along these lines, but this a devotion, not a book. So I will end with a couple of passages which connect up our obedience and good works with His appearing. Please think about your role in your brother’s being what Jesus wants him to be when he, Jesus, returns.
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints (1 Thessalonians 3:11-12).
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 24-25).