Heb 10:22-25 – Small Groups: A Weapon In the Battle For Holiness
Please turn in your bibles to Heb 10:24-25.
Being a disciple – or a follower – of Jesus Christ includes a LOT of things, but there 3 key components of being a follower of Jesus Christ is LOVING GOD – LOVING OTHERS – & SERVING PEOPLE.
That is our goal here at Grandview. We want everyone here to grow in these 3 areas of their life. We want you to grow in your love for God, your love for others, and in serving people. That’s the goal.
That’s why we do what we do.
Last Sunday when we looked at “Loving God”, I pointed out to you that each week – about 30 hours of
work is spent preparing for our Sunday morning worship service. I spend about 10 hours a week getting ready for Sunday morning. The other 20 hours are spent by Bonnie on the bulletin & by the people on the praise team & by people doing special music & by people in the sound booth. 30 hours every week – for a 1 hour & 15 minute service.
WHY? Why do we do that? Here’s why. We are doing the best we can to enable you to grow in your love for God & your worship of God. Our goal is not to put on a good show that will entertain you. Our goal is to do all we can to connect you to God.
BUT – that doesn’t start here with us. That starts in your heart. And the very first step is salvation.
That’s why Jesus died on the cross. We looked at 1Peter 3:18 last week – here it is again:
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God
We are born into this world separated from God b/c of the sin nature that we inherited from our parents. And there’s nothing we can do to remove that separation.
People try. They try to build bridges to get connected to God. So they go to church & they take classes & they get baptized & they give money; & they try to be good citizens and help other people & they try to live an OK life – hoping that God will accept them.
All of those things are good. But none of them are good enough to remove their sin. In fact – Isaiah
64:6 says that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags “Filthy rags” is a euphemism for menstrual cloths.
The very best that we can do – all the things that we think are righteous & good & hopefully pleasing to God – is – in God’s eyes – something to throw away.
That’s why God sent Jesus. Jesus came to die on the cross so that we can be brought to God - so that there is a bridge over which we can cross so that we are connected to God.
But crossing that bridge isn’t the end of the journey. That’s just the beginning of the journey. Now we
need to grow in our love for God & grow in our worship of God. And that’s why its so important that you
feed your soul on God - both on Sunday morning w/ other believers as well as the rest of the week on your own.
stSo – the 1 key part of discipleship is “loving God.” And here at Grandview – one of the primary tools
we use to enable you to do that is our Sunday morning worship service.
ndNow – this morning – we want to look at the 2 key part of discipleship - and that is “loving others”.
And the primary tool that we want to use to accomplish that is classes offered on Sunday morning & small groups offered throughout the week.
Many people look at this and read it through the lens of a visit to the doctor’s office. The doctor is only for people who are sick. As long as I’m doing OK, I’ll stay away.
And that’s what I think of being in church every Sunday – and going to Sunday School – and being in a
small group. Those are all fine & good if you need them. But I’m doing OK – I’ll stay away.
That is a wrong way to read these verses. That kind of thinking is what gets people into deep trouble.
Heb 3:12-13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from
the living God. But encourage one another day after day [or daily], as long as it is still called "Today,"
lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
There’s the danger. We can all be deceived by sin. And that sin will harden our hearts. And then we’ll
turn away from the living God. That’s why we desperately need other Christians in our life to encourage
us in the right direction.
We find the same truth in Hebrews 10. The two verses we want to look at is vv24-25. But for context
we’ll begin reading in v25. 19 20 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the 21 new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we 22 have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, 23 with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let 24 us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us 25 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. In a nutshell, we are commanded by God to do 2 things:
1 – we are to get closer to God
2 – we are to get closer to one another
In vv19-23 we are told to get closer to God. And the imagery here ties right in to what we looked at last week. In 1Pet 3:18 we’re told that Jesus “brings us to” God. The word there is “prosogogues” – which
was one of the Roman officials of that day. If you wanted an audience w/ the emperor, you needed to gain access through the “prosogogue” – the “introducer” – who stood at the door and decided who got
in and who didn’t. Those who he thought should get he would introduce to the king.
Jesus is the “prosogogeus” – He is “the introducer” – He is the One who opens the door to the throne
room of heaven and introduces us to God. THEREFORE – since Jesus opened the door up – since
He introduced us to God - THEREFORE let us go in!!!! Let us draw near to God! Let us grow in our re-
lationship w/ Him. Let us remove whatever obstacles are standing in our way; Let us turn away from every sin – no matter how dear & precious it might be to us; & Let us come close to God – through Je-
sus Christ. Let us grow in our relationship w/ God to the point that we could rightly be called, like Abra-ham and Moses, “friends of God.” Let us be so passionately in love w/ God that we can rightly be called, like David, a man after God’s own heart, or a woman after God’s own heart.
Jesus has made it possible for us to draw near to God; therefore, do it!! Don’t be content w/ where you
are at. Keep climbing higher & higher in your relationship w/ God.
stndThat’s the 1 command – draw near to God. The 2 command – the one that we’re focusing in on this
morning – is found in vv24&25. And that command is – draw near to one another. Grow in your rela-
tionship w/ God. Grow in your relationship w/ God’s people.
Now I realize that there are many different translations being used this morning, and some of them have put a period at the end of v24 – making v25 a separate sentence. And now you have 2 commands.
But these 2 verses are one sentence. And when they are kept together like they were originally written –
you discover that there is really just ONE command – found in v24 - And in v25 we’re told HOW to
obey the command.
I was fighting w/ the sanctuary computer this past week. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t figure
out HOW to do it. So I called my nephew – Chad – who’s a computer geek. And I discovered that he
didn’t know what to do either. It was something that he didn’t understand. Isn’t it frustrating when you
know WHAT needs to be done, but you don’t know HOW to do it?
Well – God doesn’t do that to us here in these verses. He tells us WHAT to do.
and He tells us HOW to do it. In order to get us all on the same page, I’ve put the two verses up on the
screen so that you can see how they fit together.
So look at them for a minute: 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
That’s the command. HOW do we fulfill that command?
v25 – [BY] 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.
So the command is “look for ways to spur each other on toward love and good deeds” and the
way we fulfill that command is by “regularly meeting together so that we can encourage each oth-
Very simply put – God does not call us to be Lone Ranger Christians. There are more & more people who say that they are just fine w/out a local church. In fact, just yesterday I heard that the average Christian goes to church once every three weeks!! And its no wonder that they are so weak and empty spiritually. And it’s no wonder that – when trials come into their life – they are a complete mess.
In the past two weeks I’ve had conversations w/ people who have told me they don’t need the local church. One said “I’m a part of the universal church of Jesus Christ; I don’t need to be a part of the local
church. The other said “I know what I believe; I don’t need to be in church.”
God doesn’t agree w/ them!! God says – we do need the local church. We do need each other. We should not NEGLECT meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. We should BEND OVER BACKWARDS to meet together b/c we need each other!!!!
God gives us the reason why: we need each other so that we can
1 – stir one another on toward love
2 – stir one another on toward good deeds.
3 – encourage one another
We live in a world where people are crying out for someone to truly love them. We live in a world where
we’re constantly told to live for ourselves – “it’s all about ME”. We live in a world where it’s very easy to get discouraged - & down. We all need to love – and be loved. We all need to live for something great-er than ourselves. We all need to be encouraged. But that’s not going to happen in a vacuum. That’s
going to happen in relationship w/ other people. And that’s why we need each other. That’s why its im-
portant to be in church every Sunday. That’s why its important to be in bible studies & small groups.
That’s why its important to have good Christian friends that you stay in contact w/. Not just to shoot the breeze. Not just to talk about sports. But someone to talk w/ - to open up to.
God didn’t call us to be Lone Ranger Christians. God called us to be in a team w/ other Christians so that we can stir up in each other love & good deeds & so that we can encourage one another.
That’s the big picture of these two verses. Now let’s zoom in a bit closer and look at a couple of key words.
st1 – let’s look at the word “consider”.
v24 says “let us consider”
The word “consider” means to carefully & thoughtfully look at – or think about – something. In other
words, it’s not just a passing thought; its not something that happens by accident. It’s the object of our
attention. It’s something we think about on a very regular basis.
“I know he’s discouraged – I’m going to call him & see how he’s doing & let him know I’m praying for him. I know she’s going through a tough time; I’m going to invite her out for lunch. I know he’s been
doing a really good job teaching; I’m going to put thank-you card in his mailbox. I know she’s put in a lot
of hours to put the music together for that service; I’m going to go out of my way to let her know I appre-
CONSIDER – LOOK FOR – FIND ways to encourage one another & to stir up love & good deeds
ndThe 2 word we need to zero in on is the word “stir”
– or “spur” as some translations have it
The word means to provoke someone to action, or to stimulate them. Last month congress
passed an $800 billion stimulus package. We can’t begin to fathom how much money that is. I heard on
the news that if we spent a million dollars a day from the time of Christ, we still will not have spent the stimulus package!!!
So, we may not fathom how much money that is. And time will tell whether it works or not. But we all understand the goal - the economy is weak, & slow, - & it needs to be stimulated.
The natural tendency is for everything to slow down – and to cool off. A ball rolling on the ground is
going to slow down & eventually stop. A home w/out a furnace is going to cool off & eventually freeze up. The same is true in our Christian lives. The natural tendency that we all must fight against is the tendency to slow down – to cool off. But the command from God is to NOT slow down – to NOT cool off.
We are commanded by God to GROW in our love for Him & our love for others.
You can readily think of many Christians who have done that - some who used to be here – who eager-
ly came every week so that they could grow in their love for God – who looked forward to fellowship w/
other Christians who could help encourage them on. But now their spiritual life has slowed down. Their passion has cooled off.
That could easily happen to any one of us. And that’s why we need each other - we need each other so
that we are stirred up – so that we are stimulated to love & good works.
rdThe 3 word that we want to focus on – the word “encourage” in v25.
To encourage someone is to build courage into them. Barnabas’ original name was Joseph. But he was
such an encourager that the disciples renamed him Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36).
That’s the ministry God has called each one of us to: to be a Barnabas to our spouse and to our friends
and to other people in this church body.
So how can we intentionally be involved in each other’s lives? How can we purposely set out to spiri-
tually influence one another? How can we support each other in our battles for personal holiness? How can we help each other see our sins and blind spots spiritually and encourage and exhort and love
and teach one another?
the world (the 70, all other disciples, and the lost)
afew (Peter, James, John)
The ANSWER is found in looking at Jesus’ life. Jesus had 4 different levels of relationships w/ other
people in his life. His Father at the core of his life. After that, his closest friend was John. Next to John, - there were also Peter, James. Then there were the twelve. And then the world.
ndBased on Jesus’ model, the 2 set represent the 4 levels of relationships we should be in.
the world (coworkers, neighbors, etc.)
afew (small group)
We need God at the center of your life - then we need a dear friend – your spouse or another person -
then a few close friends - then a small group of friends- then the church body at large.
All of those levels are important. All of those play a part in living the victorious Christian life. All of those help us grow in our love for God & our love for others.
Here at Grandview – it is our goal to help you grow in these various levels of relationship. The reason why we have a Sunday morning worship service is to help you grow in your love for God. The reason why we have Sunday School classes & small groups is to help you connect w/ other people. And through that connection – we can spur one another on toward love & good deeds as we encourage one another.