“And 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; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

At the close of the service on the first Sunday of the month, our church worships by taking communion.  Communion has always been a deep, intimate form of worship for me, as I consider it a memorial service.  Jesus Christ said that when we  eat the bread and drink the cup, we do so “in remembrance of me”  (I Corinthians 11:24-25).  It is a time that I take to concentrate and meditate on the suffering that the Messiah endured so that I could have eternal life.  The Great Creator God loved me so much that He would give up His life for me, and I am overwhelmed by this demonstration of His undying love and devotion.  I almost always cry during communion as a result.  But on a recent Sunday, a dear sister came up beside me, kissed me gently on the forehead and hugged me.  She didn’t speak a word, but preached volumes with that gesture.  This is church.
There are a number of reasons for church.  According to Jesus, the mission of the church is to win souls (Matthew 28:19-20).  According to Romans, we must gather to increase and strengthen our faith by hearing the Word preached (Romans 10:17).  But here in Hebrews, we must gather together to do two other things.
The first thing that we must do as a church is to search for ways to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).  The greatest artists and writers cannot create a masterpiece until they are inspired to do so.  They need a spark that can be nurtured and fanned into a flame that roars to heights so that no one can ignore its light and heat.  We as brothers and sisters in the faith must stimulate and inspire each other for the work ahead of us.  This is church.
The second thing that we as a church are to do is to encourage one another.  The Greek word for encourage means to summon, admonish, entreat and comfort.  We are to lift each other up.  It would be much like a runner in a race, who is encouraged by the bystanders who are clapping and cheering her on.  She hears their cheers, and is encouraged by it.  Brothers and sisters in Christ are to do this for one another.  This is church.
Church is about winning souls first, while increasing and strengthening our faith.  But is also about meeting with kindred spirits who embrace what we hold dear and encourage us along the way, cheering for us in the race!
This is church.


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