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July 26, 2011 / Daniel

Hebrews 10:19-25, Perseverance is a Group Project

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In Hebrews 10:19-25, the author challenges his audience to persevere in the Christian faith.  He gives two reasons for perseverance.  1) Jesus gives us access to God (vv. 19-20).  2) Jesus represents us before God (v. 21).

In vv. 22-25, the author gives us a series of commands based on these two reasons.   He lists three different ways to persevere in the faith.

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.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.

Let Us…

Notice the repetition of the phrase “let us.”   This suggests that  these commands are community projects.   They required a group effort.    They need to be done within the context of koinonia, Christian fellowship.

All of three commands say the same basic thing.  “Do quit.  Keep on keeping on.  Hang in there.”  Have full assurance in your faith.  Hold fast to the confession.    Why?   Because our God is faithful.  He keeps His promises, even though sometimes it doesn’t always look like it.   Sometimes we might think, “God, what are you doing?”   It is easy to doubt God’s promises when we are in the midst of trials.  

This church in the book of Hebrews was facing persecution (12:4).   They had friends and family members who did not want them to believe Christ.  There were people who were opposed to their faith.  It would have been easy to quit.  It would have been easy to doubt God’s goodness.

Go to the Voice of the Martyrssite.  Read about some of the trials that Christians are facing today.  Christians in Muslim countries.

In 2008, the Taliban in Afghanistan shot and killed a 34 year old woman named Gayle Williams who was a Christian aid worker in Kabul for sharing her faith.

In Laos, there were fourteen different Christian families and the Communist government evicted them from their homes.  The government forced them to relocate so they couldn’t meet together any more.  Their building was burnt to the ground.

There is the temptation when things like this happen to doubt God, to doubt His goodness, to doubt His promises.  But the author of Hebrews says that God is faithful.  He keeps His promises.  So hang in there.  Hold fast.   Keep trusting in Jesus.  Persevere.  Cross that finish line.  

Meet Together

There’s another temptation that you faced when you go through hard times.  The temptation is to avoid people, to isolate yourself, especially from other Christians.    I think that’s why the author adds this third challenge.  

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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 you’re going through tough times, it’s important to stay connected to your church family.  Finishing strong requires a team effort.  We need to encourage each other.  We need to hold each other accountable.  We need to pray for each other.  To love each other.  He says, “Stir each other up.”  Together we can cross the finish line.

He adds, “All the more as you see the Day approaching.”  We are one day closer to the finish line.  We are one day closer to seeing Jesus than we were yesterday.  Jesus is coming again.  His return is very soon.  So hang in there.   Together we can finish strong.

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