When you think of attending church, do you think the experience is more like going to the movies or enduring boot camp?
In our current sermon series, we are taking a look at the importance of gathering together as the church. Unfortunately, for far too long, I think we have thought of church more like going to the movies. Like the movies, we’ve gone to be entertained with friends and family. If it doesn’t go like we want or expect, we find ourselves complaining about the experience.
When soldiers go through boot camp, they’re being prepared to go to war, to defend their country and loved ones. They know why they are there. They don’t expect it to be easy. In fact, they know it will be hard, really hard.
The early church was being reminded of the importance of gathering together in Hebrews.
24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10, CEB)
They needed one another to follow Jesus. It was not easy for them either.
32 But remember the earlier days, after you saw the light. You stood your ground while you were suffering from an enormous amount of pressure. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to insults and abuse in public. Other times you became partners with those who were treated that way. (Hebrews 10, CEB)
This next verse really jumped out at me.
34 You even showed sympathy toward people in prison and accepted the confiscation of your possessions with joy, since you knew that you had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10, CEB)
How would you feel if someone came to confiscate your possessions? Pretty sure you wouldn’t be feeling joy.
They were “all in” to follow Jesus. Following Jesus, loving as He loves, was their primary task. So much so, they could look at what happened around them, and even their possessions, as secondary.
This is not only the call of the early church, but it is the call for us who follow Jesus now. Church is so much more than a place we go on a Sunday morning to be entertained. We gather as the church to praise God, for who He is and the life He has given us in Christ. We help one another to love as Jesus loves.