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Building Blocks of Community IV: Meeting Together

Today, as we turn to Hebrews 10, we add a third building block to the ideas of bodily presence and holy households. Today’s text shows us that community is built when the holy households that make up the community meet together. In fact, you might describe the act of meeting together as holy households sharing bodily presence.

There are two parts to the first command in verse 24, centered around the two verbs: consider and stir up. In the first part, we are called on to consider, to think about, to meditate, and what we are supposed to consider is not plans and strategies and abstractions, but one another. People come first, before the strategies.

The goal is that we all begin to think like this: how can I help my brothers and sisters grow up in love and service? And in order to answer this question, we need to do two things: consider one another, that is, intentionally think about one another, and meet together, so that through bodily presence, we can learn enough about someone to profitably consider them.

In verse 25, God sets up a contrast, and it’s a different one than we might think: God’s contrast is not between meeting and not meeting, but between encouragement and not meeting. God assumes that this activity of stirring each other up will take place when we meet together, and so if you aren’t meeting together regularly, then you aren’t getting the encouragement you need to survive as a Christian! God’s command to meet together is for our good.

But all sorts of worries and misunderstandings come in at this point, and so I want to reassure those tender consciences who think that since they were sick one Sunday a few years ago that they have forsaken God’s people and are in spiritual danger. This is not a word to rebuke people who have been sick, or on vacation faithfully attending another church, or who have been called for a short time to work on the Lord’s Day. If you desire to meet with God’s people, but providence has hindered you, then be at peace: you are not in trouble. When God shuts a door, you are not responsible for not being able to get through.

But it can be very easy for us to blame God for shutting doors when in reality, we’ve shut the door. “Well, if God wanted me in Church, He wouldn’t have made it such a beautiful day for boating!” Or, “God’s the one who put Sunday right in the middle of my three day weekend!” No, silly person, you are in charge of your vacations, of your normal schedule, and your sleep on Saturday nights. You need to repent, and walk through the meeting house door.

God commands us to meet together, because when God’s people meet together, Jesus is there. Jesus has made special promises regarding the gathered assembly of His people that go beyond His personal presence to you as an individual. No one person can represent Jesus like a congregation can, and so you see more of Jesus when you meet with His people! And this is the ultimate reason why we meet together: when we do, we see Jesus, and when we see Jesus, He transforms us into His image.

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by CJ Bowen