The Importance of Local Church Gatherings | Hebrews 10:23-25

The Importance of Local Church Gatherings | Hebrews 10:23-25

Introduction

Please Stand for the reading of Gods Word

Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV  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.

You may be seated

  • Church, it is incredibly great to be here, in person, with all of you. To worship, to sing, to fellowship as one church body.
  • The passage I just read was written to a persecuted church.
    • In a time and place where people were risking their freedom, and even their lives to meet together and worship.
    • The writer of Hebrews urges the church, even through threat of arrest or even death, to not use those things as an excuse to miss meeting together… to miss church gatherings.
    • Instead he urges the church to be faithful, as God is faithful, to hold fast to their salvation without wavering, and to stir up and encourage each other.
  • By far the most difficult thing I have done as a pastor was navigate the waters of Covid-19…
    • Every choice I made seemed like the wrong one to some people…
    • My peers too struggled with how to run their churches… so asking them what to do didn’t always pan out… we were all doing our best to figure it out.
    • We ended up, like many other churches, live streaming our services… praise God for that option.
  • But, as we exit this season and enter into a new one, as we look back, there are many who doubt the necessity of the measures taken.
    • Certainly Covid-19 is a horrible disease, that much is for sure… but don’t we serve the great physician?
    • Doesn’t the 1st Amendment protect our right to gather as a church?
      • It is my firm belief that our government, though trying it’s best, overstepped it’s rights in closing down churches.
      • And if I have learned anything from this experience, it is this… church online… digital church… is no substitute for gathering together to worship, to grow, to encourage, and to love.
    • Today I am going to take a break from Luke to talk about the Importance of Local Church Gatherings. The importance of “going to church” if you will.
  • To those of you livestreaming because of health concerns, this sermon is not directed at you… in fact we encourage you to stay healthy and stay home as long as you need… but what this sermon should do is encourage you to join us again as soon as possible.
  • For everyone watching, this sermon should highlight the importance of the local church and completely demolish any lack-luster excuse to miss church. There are very few good reasons to miss church, and Covid-19 precautions may be one… but it is one of only a handful. Let’s pray:

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray.

Luke 4:16 ESV  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

Mark 1:21 ESV  And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.

Luke 6:6 ESV  On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered.

Acts 11:26 ESV  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 

The first, and probably the best reason to go to Church is because JESUS went to church!

  • We are Christians, Christ followers, imitators of Christ.
    • You know what Christ never said… Christ never said “I am the church”.
    • That’s the lame excuse I often get when I ask people where they worship and grow at…
    • What church do you go to “I am the church”… no you are not! You are a part of the church, a very small part… you are a member of the body… what good is a nose if it is not attached to the rest of the body?
    • I digress… Jesus went to church, be like Jesus Amen?

The second reason to go to church is to participate in corporate worship.

  • “Corporate Worship” means gathering together with other believers to worship God with them.
    • When someone tells me “I am the church” or “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” I immediately ask them “When was the last time you gathered together with like minded individuals to worship your Lord and Savior?”

Colossians 3:16 ESV  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Ephesians 5:19 ESV  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Hebrews 12:28 ESV  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

  • Corporate worship is COMANDED in scripture… it’s not an option… to neglect corporate worship… to neglect gathering together to sing to God is to sin!
    • I don’t know about y’all, but I am not going to let a week go by without gathering together with other believers to sing to God to show Him how much I love Him!
    • Even on vacation Pastor Amanda and I always find a church to worship at!

Reason Three to attend a local church gathering is to hear the preaching of God’s Word!

Romans 10:17 ESV  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  (17)  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • You need to HEAR the Word of God. Yes, you need to read it daily, but you also need to hear it preached. Because faith comes through hearing.
  • When I prepare my sermons I pray specifically that God would speak through them to the congregation of CLC… these messages are prophetic, they were specifically written for YOU! The congregation of believers that calls itself Christian Life Church.
    • They are specific to your needs, that only God knows… I can’t tell you how many times people have told me miraculous stories about how a message spoke to them with perfect timing… it’s nearly every Sunday.
  • Well can’t we just livestream this Pastor?
    • We do… but the truth is… I don’t know how long we are going to be able to do that…
      • There is no such thing as digital free speech…
      • This Coronavirus pandemic made that clear… Youtube and Facebook and Twitter where all deleting posts, and videos, and accounts they didn’t agree with…
      • How long until they turn their gaze on us and decide they don’t want us using their platform to preach the Gospel on?

Reason Four: Because Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17 ESV  Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

  • We need each other! We need to help each other grow.
    • Anyone of y’all ever been rebuked by someone you don’t know on Facebook…
      • It doesn’t go over well.
    • But when a friend who you see every week… who loves you and who you love… when they pull you aside to share a gentile rebuke… it goes a lot better.
    • And trust me, when you get offended when someone rebukes you… because rebuke hurts… it is a lot easier to stay angry and bitter at that person if you never see them… but if you see them weekly, hug them weekly, worship God with them weekly it really helps ease offence doesn’t it?

Reason Five: To Serve God

1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

  • You know, during this time of quarantine, we have not needed very many people to serve. Far less than we needed before…
    • And honestly that is a disservice to the church… because serving is a great way to find blessings, amen?
    • One of the reasons we were created was to serve God, therefore serving is a great way to find fulfillment and meaning and joy.
    • Not to mention we are commanded to serve God, so not to do so is sin.
      • Whether it is cleaning toilets, greeting people, making coffee, or scanning people’s foreheads to check there temp
      • When you are doing it at a house of worship you are doing it for the Kingdom of God!
  • But pastor! Can’t I serve God on my own?
    • Sure you can, pal. You can also buy a gun and a plan ticket to the middle east and go and fight ISIS on your own…
      • Or you could go and join an elite military unit, get the training you need, then go out to fight the fight as a team that works together to DOMINATE the enemy!

Ephesians 6:12 ESV  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. 

  • If I am going to go and fight against rulers and authorities and demons I am going to do it with a battalion of soldiers who I know by name… because we fight together and train together every week, AMEN?!
    • Listen, we went out and prayed, worshiped, and evangelize to bring peace to protests and deter riots… and I knew everybody in our group… when someone wanted to sing, they sang, when they wanted to pray, they prayed, when they wanted to evangelize, they evangelize… we worked together as a united that trusted each other! It was awesome!

Reason Six to Attend A Local Church: For Discipleship!

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  (19)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Listen, if you can’t make a disciple in the safety of a church… how do you expect to go out into a hostile world to make disciples?
    • That is why at CLC we try to foster discipleship relationships.
    • That is why we share the gospel every Sunday.
    • That is why we do public baptisms whenever needed.
    • Because we know that what starts in the church will overflow and go out into the world and spread!
      • Even during quarantine at a home group a young lady was saved and Baptized! Praise Jesus!

Reason Seven: For the Children’s Sake!

Luke 6:40 ESV  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

  • Notice it says the student will be like his teacher.
    • Not: The student will be like what he is taught… No, he will be like his teacher!
    • And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids to be like the ipad they watch Bible stories on…
      • Watching bible stories on screens is well and good.
      • But our children need teachers to look up to… teachers to imitate… This is why Children’s church is so important!

Finally, reason Eight: Because God Said So!

Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV  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.

  • To disobey the Word of God is to disobey God himself… please, for your sake, obey God! Amen?!

Gospel Call

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.