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CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (the Church) - WHY YOU NEED IT


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CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (the Church) - WHY YOU NEED IT

Hebrews 10:19-25

 

INTRODUCTION

“Maryland community gripped by fear” -- the worst kind of fear, that your life could end at any moment. (headlines)

 

This passage was written, I believe, by Paul (2 Peter 3:15) to Jewish Christians living in and around Jerusalem not long before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70.

It was very difficult to live openly as a Christian, particularly if you were Jewish.

Therefore, some Jewish Christians were considering returning to their former Judaism.

To Paul such a thought is unthinkable.

So he writes this great epistle in an effort to explain the superiority of Jesus Christ to all of the Old Testament rituals.

            The sacrifices of the O. T. were just shadows; Jesus is the real thing.

In chapter 10, Paul says, that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has paid for all sins for all time.

 

We now come to these verses in which he urges them to continue on in the faith.

            Moreover, He says to do it together.

            That is what captures our attention.

            Great emphasis is placed on staying together.

Twice he uses the word "we";

                        twice he uses the word "our";

                        four times he uses the phrase "each other."

                        seven times he uses the word "us"

                        five are found in the phrase, "let us."

 

Church fellowship:

            It is what takes place when Jesus Christ unites us together in the body of Christ.

            It is much more than just having a good time.

            No, Church fellowship helps us to be the ‘people of God.’

            There are many people today who think they can find their Church fellowship on the TV.

                        They never get involved in a fellowship of believers.

            That is sad because they miss being the kind of Christian God wants them to be.

It is impossible, to do what we should without other Christians in our lives.

            When we are together, we can become stronger Christians.

 


I.                    TOGETHER OUR FAITH IS STRENGTHENED (19-22)

 

This passage addresses the atoning work of Christ.

            He mentions the curtain.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all mention that at Jesus' death, the curtain that separates all from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom.

This signified access to God, meaning that each and everyone of us can come to God knowing that all barriers have been removed.

Ephesians 3:12  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 5:14 ¶ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:


 

II.                 TOGETHER OUR HOPE IS STRENGTHENED (23)

 

Now Paul is talking about the hope we have of eternity with Jesus.

            Look at how the Bible over and over talks about our hope.

Titus 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

1 Thessalonians 1:3  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

The Bible tells of future events that are ‘Biblical’ in their proportions. 

Occasionally I hear some say, "When we talk about future things, the coming of Christ, the tribulation, Armageddon, all that stuff, I get scablack."

 

I would answer you, "Brother or sister, you don't need to be afraid. Jesus said he will, 'Keep us from that hour that is to come upon the earth.' He has something much better for us."

 

Still I know that some of you get a little edgy about all of that. And I understand. I used to be that way.

But one day in church I had a preacher who was so filled with the joy of the Lord begin telling us about the second coming of Jesus.

            At first mention of that event, I was a bit fearful.

            But this preacher's infectious enthusiasm began to calm my fears.

I'll never forget his statement. "If the Lord comes tonight, in the next moment we will all be sitting together at the great marriage supper of the lamb. There we will be looking at Jesus and O how he will be smiling at us."

            By the time I left church that day, I never again feablack the coming of the Lord.

            And it was "together" that my hope was strengthened.

            Now my hope really had something to look forward to.

 

III.                TOGETHER OUR SERVICE IS STRENGTHENED (24)

 

First let’s stress that we are not saved by works but by faith alone. 

            Many who are born again, never serve the Lord.

            Or if they do, it is out of convenience, not out of commitment.

Listen to what the Bible says about this.

Galatians 5:6  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Galatians 5:13 ¶ For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

 

People serve, but often its only for a few weeks at a time.

            Few seem willing to commit to a ministry for as long as it takes.

            They will say I need to keep my priorities;

                        I need to spend quality time with my family.

            Now certainly, we don't want to deprive families of quality time together.

But I am concerned that this world has seduced us into following the god of recreation and convenience instead of the God of the Bible.

 

Do you remember David's words when he wanted to buy the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite in order to build an altar to sacrifice to the Lord.

            Araunah wanted to give it to David because David was the king.

            But David would not hear of it. His statement is so important.

“Nay; but I will surely buy [it] of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.”  2 Samuel 24:24

            If we serve and it does not cost us, then our service is cheap and not too valuable.

 

As for family time, what greater activity to engage in than serving the Lord together.

            Do you remember Joshua's words at the end of his days?

He said to Israel, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

 

No you just can't get away from it.

            Being a Christian is serving Jesus Christ all the days of our lives.

            It's finding out God’s will for your life and focusing on it.

Now what makes us serve God with our whole heart?

            What will make us truly grow in the depths of our faith.

            How can you begin experiencing the joy of serving?

Start surrounding yourself with people who are doing exactly that.

            I don't mean the people who doing it to their friends. Anyone can do that.

            While helpful, it doesn't really push you deeper in your faith.

No, surround yourself with people who are loving the unlovely.

Surround yourself with people who serve the difficult cases, the difficult people, the difficult situations.

            Surround yourself with people who see their world as Jesus sees it.

 

"If you want to mount up with the wings of Eagles, then you have to stop walking with the Turkeys."

 

IV.               TOGETHER OUR TESTIMONY IS STRENGTHENED (25)

 

“And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" refers to the day of the Lord.

 

Things looked grim at the time this letter was written.

            The Roman legions were on the horizon.

            Certainly it appeablack the world was coming to an end. And for some it was.

 

What is Paul's advice?

            "Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together

            …..but encourage one another

            ------Sure the world is coming to an end

            …..Yes life has suddenly become fearful and hard

            …..Things are going to change and it isn't going to be fun.

Instead of withdrawing into yourselves, find your real strength in each other.

 

The Christian faith is not meant to be lived alone.

            Few people can endure the punches life can throw at us.

            Only with the encouragement of others do we endure.

 

V.                 IT'S YOUR DECISION

 

What can you do today to begin experiencing the strengths Paul is talking about?

Let me give you five things that can help you toward a greater involvement in God's family. 

 

Make decisions


 

1.                  I will find and join a church like the ones in the NT.

 

2.                  I will take the risk to share my struggles with them and trust them to pray for me and support me.

 

3.                  I will share my faith with other believers who can give me encouragement and insight.

 

4.                  I will look for people to encourage in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

 

5.                  I will handle with great care and prayer every burden that someone shares with me.

 

I heard a story about Jimmy Durante, the great comedian of a generation ago. Jimmy was asked if he would participate in a show for World War II veterans. Because his schedule was very busy, he consented to only a few minutes. He would do one short monologue and then immediately leave for his next appointment. The show's director agreed, happy to have Durante for a few moments.

 

That night, however, something very wonderful happened. When Jimmy got on stage, he quickly went through the short monologue. But instead of leaving he continued to perform another monologue and another and another. The applause just grew louder and louder and he kept staying. By the time he finished he had been on the stage for over 30 minutes. Finally, he took a last bow and exited. Backstage the director stopped him and said, "Mr. Durante, I thought you had to go after a few minutes. What happened?"

 

There was a tear in Jimmy's eye. Then he answeblack, "I did have to go, but I'll show you why I stayed." He pointed to the front row where two men were sitting, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. And, together, they were clapping each other's hand, loudly and cheerfully. "That is why I stayed."

 

Beloved, individually we can't do much, but no matter how wounded or imperfect we may be, when we are together we make beautiful music and beautiful ministry and we capture the attention of a world that needs the hope we have.

 

 

 

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