HEBREWS 10:23-25b
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Heb. 10:23   “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
“for he is faithful that promised:)”

We must hold fast.  Faithfulness is the only valid test for security in the faith.  The ones being saved by God are the ones staying true to their profession.
Christians are not perfect, but do desire to fulfill their profession.  Salvation is ratified not by claims of a past experience, but by evidence in a present lifestyle.

Heb. 10:24   “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to
good works:”

It is easy to drift into a selfish kind of Christianity, but if we commune regularly ?with the Father, we soon become aware of His other children.  Sons and daughters who truly love the same Father cannot be mindless of one another.
The Father views His children as a group, a family.  The word “saint” occurs only once in the New Testament (PH 4:21).  Elsewhere, it is always plural.  We are parts of a whole, and must look?? out for any tendency toward failure in each other.

Heb. 10:25a   “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,. . .”

The only way we can help one another is to gather together.  Only in com?munion can we get acquainted.  There’s no other way to know one another’s needs.
Unfortunately, by nature we tend to drift apart.  We must fight the exclu?sive?ness rampant in our culture.  In our homes, we are often as isolated from oth?ers as are criminals in a prison.  We have our own version of solitary confinement.
Our author presents missing church as a very selfish thing to do.  It puts self above others, leaving the rest of the group stranded, forsaken in the face of con?flict.  Faithful church attendance is a loving, unselfish activ?ity, a great help to oth?ers.  The pastor may not always miss you when you are absent, but someone does.
Amazingly, this text is the nearest thing in the New Testa?ment to a com?mand? requiring attendance at public worship.  We may have expected to find more on the subject in Scripture.  Early Christians assembled due not to a command, but to a spontaneously felt need.  Devoted to the same Lord, they consid?ered one an?other co-labor?ers in a common cause, each needing help to live the Christian life.  They came together daily, not weekly, to help one another serve God better.

Heb. 10:25b   “. . .as the manner of some is;. . .”

Alas, even in Bible days, some quit attending church.  There has never been a shortage of reasons for not attending church.  A century ago, a large group of la?bor?ers in Cam?den Town were surveyed to learn why they as a class were “con?spic?uous by their absence” from worship.  Many of their excuses are still used today.
One excuse was the outdoors.  The Camden Town workers spoke oft?en of nature.  “I like to walk out on Sundays to see the works of the Creator.  The world is God’s house; I can worship God anywhere.”  Many still love to worship in “the temple of nature,” and Sunday must be an especially good day for it.
Christians ought to care about nature.  Man was given domin?ion over the creation, and how we treat it is an important part of our stewardship under God.
Believers have a responsibility to address environmental con?cerns.  Nature is important, but is not meant to be a substitute for true worship among believers.  If nature is necessary to evoke thoughts of worship, it becomes a graven image.
Nature helps call our thoughts to God as Creator, but what of the Son’s role as Redeemer?  Nature has no answers for sin, and no word for a crying conscience.
Trees and flowers do not call us to repent.  An outing in nature may make us feel better, but does not therefore make us a better person.  Corporate worship, not solitary meditation in nature, is our best challenge to reach higher spiritual heights.
A second excuse was family.  Camden Town workers said, “I work hard all the week; Sunday is the only day I can be with my family.”  Isn’t it amazing how Satan twists things in our minds?  The underlying thesis here is, worship is anti-family; it hurts our family.  Worship is one of our culture’s finest family events, an activity each member of the family can participate in.  A local church is one of the last places left in the USA where each family member is welcome, cradle to grave.
Poor church attendance often betrays a serious time management crisis in a family.  We may need more family time, but cutting back on church attend?ance is not the way to accomplish it.  The problem is not what we do Sunday mor?n?ing, but what we do the rest of the week.  We kill ourselves, working over-time, and taking extra classes to pursue jobs and career advancements.  Have we been duped into agreeing with our culture’s belief that job promotions and educa?tion are every?thing?  Work and school are impor?tant, but not supreme.  Something is wrong when the life we are striving for makes the life we now live not worth living.
As life becomes overly cluttered, church is usually relegated to re?ceiv?ing a small piece of the pie.  Church? should never be viewed as only one small piece of the pie; it is the pie.  Other things should be done only after this vital spiritual need is met.  Neglecting church says physical needs, employment needs, and edu?ca?tion?al needs are more important than spiritual needs.  That is a dangerous statement.
A third excuse was, “Going to church won’t carry me to Hea?ven.”  True, we don’t have to attend church to be saved, but if we’re saved we will attend church.  Our writer will go on to say, neglect of public worship can indicate the neglecter never was a child of God.  Going to church identifies us with the Jesus crowd.  This is important, for one cannot be a secret disciple of Christ long.  “Either the discipleship kills the secrecy, or the secrecy kills the discipleship.”  Going to church demon?strates where our loyalty lies.  It shows people what side we are on.
Faithful church attendance is an effective way to witness to our family.  It is often difficult to talk to near kinsmen about the Gospel.  A seemingly impenetra?ble barrier is often erected there, but when we cannot speak with words, we can nevertheless make a powerful statement through faithful church attendance.  This is how my mother won my father to the faith.  She refused to quit going to church.
A fourth Camden Town excuse was, “The sermons are dull.”  I call this and other excuses like it, “The bellyaching whines.”  We hear them often.  “Church is boring.”  “Pews are uncomfortable.”  “I don’t have good enough clothes to wear.”  “The building is too cold (too hot, too cramped, too empty).”  “Sunday is my only day to catch up on chores.”  “I work hard all week.  I like to sleep late on Sun?day.”
“I can worship God on any day as well as Sunday.”  Experience proves the result of this attitude.  Instead of all days becoming holy, all days become profane.
Some bellyache, “The weather was bad Sunday.”  I want to patent a Sunday umbrella.  Ordinary umbrellas work well Monday to Saturday, but Sunday rains are more trying.  People fear using their Monday-to-Saturday umbrella on Sunday.
Some whine, “My parents made me go to church when I was young.”  They also made you eat food and wear clothes, but you have not given up those habits.
A fifth excuse was, “I can read and pray at home quite as well as at church.”  Some believers try to be a Christian in isolation, “a pious particle” (Moffatt), but Christians are like coals of fire, more efficient when clus?tered.  One red coal will quickly go out alone, but put others with it and they will all glow brightly.
The Christian is crippled who does not have a corporate expression and reinforcement of his faith.  John the Baptist, the second greatest man who ever lived, began to doubt after a period of isolation from the fellowship of believers.
In the Christian walk, the inward and outward go together.  Worship begins as something private and internal; the individual spirit first bows itself before God.  Then in the congregation we give public and external expression of our inward devotion, thereby helping to strengthen one another’s faith.
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (MT 18:20).  Let us gather together regularly, that He whose presence is Power may be in our midst often.