Observe the progression in this passage (Hebrews 10:19-25). The writer moves from the way we live before God to the way we live before people outside the church to the way we live before one another in the church. Sharing life together in the church used to be overlooked almost completely. For example, Jerry Bridges said that his least popular book was True Fellowship. They even tried to increase sales by giving it a new title, The Crisis of Caring, but it didn’t work. Now thankfully, more attention is given to life as a body of believers. Yet there is a long way to go. To paraphrase a comment by the seventeenth century writer John Owen, the Christians of old used to live as spoken of in this text. But now the principles of building one another up have been lost as if the New Testament Scriptures had never presented them. Surely our life before God is crucial and primary. And we must never forget our responsibility to live as a light in the world. However, the restoration of biblical practice in a culture of “me first” needs to be a constant emphasis. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… (NIV).
Believers are capable to serve another. This might seem obvious, but too many have the wrong opinion that such matters are better left to the professionals, since they have more skill and time. In contrast, the Spirit says through the writer, “Let us consider…” This means that each of us are to pay thoughtful attention to the ways that we can help one another. (The same verb is used in Hebrews 3:1.)
A right approach begins with the correction of a mistaken idea. We can call this the “professional minister” view: the church has a pastor or pastors so that the members can release themselves from any duty to one another. The roots of this view are such concepts as a wrong view of church authority, an idolization of institutional education, a practical lack of spiritual maturity among God’s people, and self-centeredness. The essence of the idea can be stated this way: “We’ve got the pastors; let them do it!” But notice carefully that this text lends no support to such a mistaken idea. The Holy Spirit does not say, “Let the pastor (or the pastors or the church staff) consider how they may….”
In the Bible the Lord stresses the responsibility of each member of every local assembly to help each other spiritually (Romans 14:19; 15:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11,14-15; Hebrews 3:13). Since the Holy Spirit has been given by Christ to help us (Romans 8:26), and since we have the sufficient Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), we should never plead incompetence in this manner. The Spirit of God loves to help the ordinary follower of Jesus to build up and strengthen and encourage and care for other believers.
To continue a correct approach, we must launch a new attitude. Our starting point is the reality of all that we are and have by God’s grace. We are right with God and have the position of an adult son in the Father’s family. You have the Holy Spirit as your leader, the Bible, and in many cases years of Biblical training. Since these things are so, each of us need to see ourselves as fellow workers in the job of building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Brothers and sisters, our time cards are in the rack by the time clock; it’s time to punch in and get to work helping each other. Don’t wait for tomorrow. How much can we do today for the cause of God and truth?
This involves the application of what God has taught us. Certainly first to ourselves and then to others in God’s family. How fervently we ought to pray, “Lord, help me demonstrate the reality of your truth in my life, my family and my church.” But then, we need to stir ourselves to act. This requires more than merely agreeing, “Yes, I need to do something… sometime.” We need to be alert to opportunities to help one another. Find ways to act!
Grace and peace, David