Saturday 31 October 2015

Bible Book:

“Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, … encouraging one another.” (vv. 24-25)

Hebrews 10:19-25 Saturday 31 October 2015

Psalm: Psalm 119:33-48


The sting of this passage is in the tail(verse 25). Some members of the congregation were drifting awayfrom regular attendance at meetings. The author urges everyone toarrest this decline by identifying three tasks which can only beachieved when Christians meet together in fellowship.

Worship (verses 19-22). Still usingthe rich Old Testament images of priests, sacrifices and thesanctuary, now reconfigured to spell out the Christian message, theauthor clarifies who worships in the Christian way and what worshipis.

Who worships? All who have been baptized (verse22 is a fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:25-26). That is: people who havecome to faith; and, demonstrating their sincerity ("a true heart"(v. 22)), have been inwardly cleansed of a guilty conscience byGod's free forgiveness and outwardly washed with pure water.

What is worship? A deliberate and confidentapproach to the ultimate mystery of holiness (pioneered by Jesusand now an open and "living" (v. 20) way for the baptized) with theexpectation of enjoying immediate communion with God. It is asharing with the angels and the exalted Christ in the praise ofheaven.

Confession of the Christian hope(verse 23). Rich and wonderful may be the "new" (v. 22) life ofworship, freedom and grace to which faith gives access, but God haseven greater joy in store. God's promises are utterly trustworthy.Quite when that is to be delivered, no one knows (Mark 13:32). Butsurely it would be soon? Was that not the natural corollary ofJesus' majestic achievement on the cross? ("You see the Dayapproaching" (v. 25)).

Provoking one another to love and gooddeeds (verse 24). In fellowship Christians stimulate oneanother, stir up one another and support one another in thepractice of the Christian life, within the congregation and insociety at large.

To Ponder

  • Reflect on your experience of Christian fellowship - what doyou consider to be its strengths and weaknesses?
  • How attentive is your congregation at noticing when regularworshippers miss a service? What response is best made toabsenteeism?
  • Many perceive a Church where, overall, the number ofworshippers is declining and their average age increasing as beingprofoundly demoralised. What in your judgement can best kindleChristian hope?
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