I am not sure where this is going to go today. If this were back in my Biker days, I would suggest that I am going to follow my headlight around for a while and see where it takes me. This past week has been kind of jumbled like a ride down an old twisty road. There have been a few straight stretches where I could open it up a bit, but mostly a lot of twists and turns on a shade-filled lane.
Don’t get me wrong this is not a bad thing. It is just different. Sometimes there was a lot of uncertainty about what was around the next turn, but through it all, I still had the light… the light of God’s Word. Despite the distractions of these twisty lanes, I could always count on His Word.
The Starting Point
The starting point for me was a couple of weeks ago when first Pat, my wife, got sick with a stomach virus and then me. It was just enough that we missed two weeks of Church. Now I do not know about you, but I really do need my church family every week at the very least. The more, the better.
I do understand that not all can attend a church due to health issues. That makes perfect sense to me, and I have family and friends that fall into that bucket, but I do not understand folks that say they have no place for organized religion, or structured churches. Sometimes it is not what you get from Church but what you give. I go to worship and to learn and to have fellowship with others. It lifts me up, and I try to share the joy it gives me with others. God had a reason for Hebrews 10:23-25.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV)
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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.
When I get into a position that I cannot meet with fellow believers, it does negatively impact me. I miss everything about it. It is not perfect, but neither am I. It is my wellness checkup. It is part of my assurance of faith, and it is my opportunity to share with others. That I may see no other time during the week.
The Full Assurance of Faith
The heading for Hebrews 10:19-39 is the “The Full Assurance of Faith” in my ESV translation. Chapter 10 opens with the writer explaining Jesus sacrifice once and for all through verse 18 then you get the “Therefore” in verse 19, and for me, that passage through verse 25 is so powerful.
Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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 read that passage, and I am humbled by the price Jesus paid for me… for all of us. It is beyond words for me. I am filled with thanksgiving.
I read verses 19-25, again and again, this morning. As I read this passage over and over, I saw a distinct break. The gift and the response. The gift, or light, in the passage for me came in verses 19-22
Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
That “Therefore” spells it out. Since Jesus did all these things for us including cleansing us from all evil we need to do something with it within the body of the Church.
As believers forgiven by the blood of Jesus, we need to hold fast to our hope and encourage each other. Verses 23-24 to me are just as important. God knows us and knows our needs. He knows our memories are short and He never intended for us to walk this path alone. Just reading these words remind me of how wise God is.
Hebrews 10:23-24 (ESV)
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
He reminds us to hold on, but also to, “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” The question that comes to my mind instantly is answered in verse 25.
Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
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.
Now meeting together is not the only thing that we need. In fact, if that is all you do is go to church on Sunday that is less effective than the current flu vaccine. That is only a portion of what we need to grow and protect ourselves against the onslaught of the adversary.
Just look at Ephesians 6:12-18
Ephesians 6:12-18 (ESV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
You need to put that Armor on every day. Your body needs more than one meal a week to sustain it. So, does your spirit. To count on Sunday morning as sufficient to keep you going spiritually is like taking one glass of water and assuming that is sufficient for the week.
Well, I started this telling you I was going to follow my headlight around a bit this morning. I guess that is true because this final turn even surprised me a bit. I looked back at the passages that God had laid on my heart and the need we have for His Word and each other, and I got thinking about how our actions also impact each other, good or bad. That lead me to Deuteronomy 17:14-20. The heading for that section in my ESV translation is “Laws Concerning Israel’s Kings.” It always struck me that God wanted to be the King of Israel. But in Deuteronomy, He knew that they would cry for a king like all other nations, and He would grant their wish.
As I read verses 14-20, I saw the king that God spoke of rising in me on occasion. I only have one wife, and Pat and I both pursue Jesus, but I can see the importance of this warning. God knows the temptations of this world. He also speaks of wealth and gold and warns against acquiring too much. But the safeguard against all of these is spelled out in verses 18-20.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (ESV)
18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
We have God’s Word and the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s Word and intercede in our prayers. Now we are not kings, but like kings our actions impact others. God knows us so well, and He gave us all this to bring us closer to Him. These things were written to teach us that we might avoid the pitfalls of those who came before. But we cannot do that if we do not act on His counsel and seek to know Him through His Word and in prayer.
Father, thank you for the morning. Thank you for your guiding light through Your Word. Father, let me not forget that this trip is not one that I can run alone, and I cannot do without immersing myself in prayerful study of your Word and openly sharing it with others. I thank You for all Your Provision Lord in Jesus name, Amen