Tuesday, August 2, 2011

how to keep from being a Loser Christian.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us 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.
Hebrews 10:23-25

There are two admonitions given in this passage that are crucial to Christian discipleship. We should insist that all who call themselves Christians know, understand, and commit to these calls upon us all. If we don't, faith in Christ will die out in this generation.

The first exhortation is to a tenacious belief. We hold fast without wavering to our hope in Christ. Hope in Christian theology is not a "cross your fingers, close your eyes, and make a wish" kind of experience. It is the exact opposite of this. It is an assurance. It is a very real, very confident expectation. It is an assurance that what has been promised to us in Christ will come to pass. It is a guarantee. It is certainly a hope for all eternity, but it is also a real hope for right now. It changes us right here and right now! God is real and is at work in our lives. We confess (talk about) that hope and focus our lives around that truth every day. That is what it means to hold fast to our hope.

The second command is to live that hope out in Christian community. We share that experience in the local church, with other believers, in the daily contact in the Body of Christ. We need to always be ready to move our brothers and sisters on to love like Jesus and to do His good works. We need to be pushed and encouraged by them to do the same. The Christian life is deliberate. We do not engage this call in neutral or by ourselves. The church as a collected group is about people shifting into gear and going somewhere that Christ commands us! That "somewhere" involves love to people and doing good things in this world right now.

There is additional commentary to the second command. It involves loving the Church and NOT leaving it. I know how hard this is, mostly because I know how hard it is to love me. I can be unlovable. I don't think that just because people are hard to love gives anybody an "out" on being a part of the church. I really don't care for the criticisms made by those who only want to snipe at the church's faults while abandoning the chance to meet together with ALL the saints. They are guilty of not loving the Body of Christ. Sadly, this is becoming increasingly more popular, driven by consumerism. a desire to justify a certain practice, or doctrinal division. And it is stunting the advance of the gospel.

Christians thrive in a community of other Christians. It is what Christ wants. And that community is expressed in the local church. Christians who will not worship and assemble with and encourage other Christians will fail at love and good works. Yes... I said fail... as in Loser with a big "L". That is the implication built into the warnings in this passage.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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