Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.
What made the early church so energy-packed? They received emotional nourishment from one another. Acts 2:42 says, “They were continually devoting themselves . . . to fellowship.” When we think about fellowship, we picture standing around the coffee urn engaging in small talk. But fellowship in the early church was the unconditional devotion the believers had to one another.
Why do we need fellowship with other Christians? First of all, other Christians challenge us when we are complacent. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” I think one reason God created the church is to put us in contact with Christians who have gifts we do not have so we can start to exercise those qualities. For example, God challenges us to be more giving by putting us in contact with believers who have the gift of giving, whose example can be an encouragement to us. We need to be around other Christians who will stimulate us to be more like Christ.
Second, other Christians encourage us when we are discouraged. The writer of Hebrews continued, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (v. 25). Sadly, many Christians allow problems in life to drive them away from the church. I like what David Jeremiah said about that: “Our faith isn’t a luxury intended for periods of smooth sailing–neither is our fellowship. When trouble comes along, that’s when it’s wonderful to be part of a faithful, Bible-believing body of people who will rally around you. . . . The devil is the only one whose opinion is that you should take a sabbatical from church in the hard times.” During life’s storms, the church is where we find the encouragement we need.
Third, other Christians correct us when we stray. The book of Hebrews was written to a group of Christians who were in danger of falling back into their former way of life. But there is an antidote to falling away from the faith: “Not forsaking our own assembling together” (v. 25). You see, one of Satan’s most effective tactics is to isolate us from other Christians. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation.” We need to be around other Christians who will have the courage to lovingly confront us when they see us starting to drift in our relationship with God. That is God’s plan for the church.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Winning Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
David Jeremiah, “Shelter in God” (Nashville: W Publishing, 2020), 74-75; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Life Together,” trans. John W. Doberstein (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1978), 112.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.