Be the Church
By Bill Blakey on December 29, 2019
Be the Church
By Bill Blakey on December 29, 2019
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:00] It is our sincere hope that you and your family had a merry Christmas this last week. I hope that that you did.
[00:00:10] But I've already been corrected by some folks this weekend when I said Merry Christmas and they told me that Christmas was over.
[00:00:19] I mean, I personally believe I can celebrate Jesus being born as a man to save me from my sins all year long. But I understand what they mean, that in our culture, when something happens, we move on to the next thing.
[00:00:33] Right. And so the next thing for many of us is 20/20. It's a new year. I mean, do you realize that right now you are attending the last service of the decade? Makes it feel that much more important. What we're about to do right now. And so a lot of people are starting to think about the new year and maybe plans that they have or thoughts they have or things that they would like to see happen in the next year. And I by no means am a prophet nor the son of a prophet. But I feel like I've got a prediction for something that I could see happening in 2020. I think there's one group of businesses that's going to do very well in the coming year, and that's LASIK. All right. I mean, who doesn't want to have 20/20 vision in 20, 20? I mean, all those optometrist's, all those ophthalmologists, it's like they're gonna be printing money in 2020 is what they're going to be doing. Right. And I don't know if you're like me, if you wear corrective lenses, spray any of us out there. Right. And the nerds among us. That's us. And if you do that or if you don't, maybe you can imagine it. But think back to the very first time that you put on your glasses.
[00:01:47] Do you remember what that was like, where it was like you're out there and you're kind of seen. But then you put on your glasses and you can see you can see clearly. You can see things that you never thought you could see.
[00:01:59] Well, there are blades in that grass. It's not just this clump of green over there. There's detail, right. It is such an exhilarating thing to see and to see clearly. Right. I mean, some of us are thinking I should really update my prescription. I want some more of that here in the coming New Year. And as we think about the new year for our church, as we think about the start of a new decade for our church, there's one thing that I think we really need to be seeing clearly. We need to have our vision may be corrected about. And that's what it means to be the church. I mean, I think there is some spiritual astigmatism happening in our world today where many people have an idea of what it means to be the church. That's not clear. It's not it's not actually accurate to what God says in the Bible that some of us, maybe even churches we've attended in the past or things that we've heard people say or popular thoughts that are out there in our culture, maybe all of those have actually done some work to distort what God wants us to be as the church rather than to help make it clear.
[00:03:13] So it's my real prayer and goal this morning that we would look to God's word and we would see clearly how God wants us to be the church together. I really hope that every one of us that we walk away from this service realizing that the church is not a building, it's not this place that we're in right now.
[00:03:33] The church is not even a time that we get together on the calendar, that we are the church, that the Bible, when it uses that word, it talks about a gathering of people, of people that that Jesus has gathered together from all different kinds of ethnicities and backgrounds and upbringings and socioeconomic status to be one body, one church that are a group of people that he has saved for his own glory.
[00:04:01] And so when I think about the church, there's one passage that I think about often when I think about what it means to be the church. So I invite you to open your Bible and turn with me to Hebrews Chapter 10.
[00:04:12] Hebrews Chapter 10 will be our text for this morning, and we're gonna start reading in verse 19. There'll be two versus that. We really key in on to study in depth. But I wanted us to get the sense of the whole context of the passage. So once you are there and Hebrews 10, please stand with me as we read the scripture together. Let's honor God's word and stand as we read it together. Starting in Hebrews. Chapter 10. Verse 19.
[00:04:42] Which says, therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is through his flesh. And since we have a great high priest, a great priest over the House of God, let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith. With our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 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.
[00:05:21] 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 and ends the reading of God's word, you can have a sea.
[00:05:35] So what's been going on here in Hebrews is that the writer has been going through all of these aspects of the old covenant with the sacrifices and the priests and the temple or the tabernacle. And he's been making the case that Jesus is better than that. Jesus is actually the fulfillment of all these things that happened in the old covenant, these things that we're learning about as we're studying the law here at our church, as we've been read in Genesis and we studied Exodus and we're about to get into Leviticus, which you all are going to love. By the way. Right. We get into it. We're gonna be talking about the priest. We're gonna be talking about all of these things that involve sacrifices. And it's gonna get very specific. And the writer of Hebrews is saying that's all about Jesus.
[00:06:19] It's all about him.
[00:06:20] And and he's died for us. And he's given us righteousness. And so because of that, we should have confidence in the old covenant. You did not have confidence to enter the holy places, right? Only one person, the high priest, got to go into the holy of holies one time a year and we tied the rope around his foot when he went in. So that way, if he sinned while he was in there, we could drag his body out because God would kill him.
[00:06:45] Not exactly a place that a lot of us want to go. But now, through Christ, when we're made righteous, through Christ, it changes everything. Now we have this confidence and we should draw near with his full assurance of faith. And we should have this faith that doesn't waver because it's really his work that he has done and he's going to be faithful to it. Is he saying all of these things about the way we should think about ourselves? And then he turns his attention in verse 24, in verse 24 and 25 is what we're gonna really key in on this morning. He talks about the way that we should interact with one another, he says, and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
[00:07:25] Let us consider that's the command. It's not optional. It's not a suggestion. It's something they wants us to do. And he says that we should do this to one another. And when the Bible uses that phrase one another, particularly in the New Testament, it's talking about other Christians. It's talking about fellow believers in Jesus Christ is talking about people that are a part of the church. This isn't just some general thing for all the people out there, are the people that we know in our workplaces or in our neighborhoods or our extended families. It's talking about the way that that we treat one another, that we can't really stir up a fire that hasn't been lit yet. Right. We're talking about other people in the church in the verb that it's used here is that we should consider we should consider how to stir up one another. That means that we should think about it. We should ponder that it should be something that we allow to roll around in our mind a little bit. And this is actually a pretty good time of year for reflection. I don't know if any of you guys have had the opportunity to do a little bit of that already. I was talking to someone earlier in the week and they're already talking about how they're going back through all of their journals for twenty nineteen and reading it and kind of taking stock of how things are going. I'm like, well, it's pretty impressive that you have the time to journal every day and everything like that. I mean. Wow. Praise. Praise the Lord. And really, if if we think about that, we should if we're told here in this passage that we should consider how to stir one another up. Let's take stock for a moment. How did we do in this last year? So let's get that down for point number one on your notes that you should assess your level of consideration. If God wants you, if he wants all of us, if it's let us consider everyone who is a part of the church that we should all be considering how to stir one another up. How did you do it, considering how to stir other people up in twenty nineteen?
[00:09:21] How's it going? I mean, maybe the first question that that we should ask is, did it happen when we're talking about this? Can you think back to a time over this last year where you actually spent time thinking about how you could be used to stir up another Christian to help them grow, to encourage them forward in their walk? The Lord, did that happen in your life in the last year? And if it did happen, maybe the next question is how often did it happen? I mean, are you thinking like. Yep. I know there was that one time I did that check done. Twenty nineteen.
[00:09:58] No, I mean, the tenses of the verbs here in the Greek. Help us to understand that this is not just a one time thing. This should be a regular, ongoing, recurring thing like this should actually be the pattern and the habit of how we live our lives. Is this kind of consideration? I don't know if you realized it before you walked in here today, but you have an active role to play in the spiritual growth of other Christians. And this is not a command that is just for pastors or leaders within the church. I mean, this this passage that we read, it's not like only the pastors should draw near with full assurance of faith or only the pastors should should keep their confidence without wavering. This is for all of us. This is for everyone who's a Christian.
[00:10:46] The way that we should be thinking about ourselves and some of us, it's something that we thought about a great deal over the last year. But maybe for some of us here today, it's a thought that hasn't really crossed our mind the way that God wants it to regularly in an ongoing way in our lives. And so it says we're supposed to consider how to stir up one another. I mean, we've had over the last few weeks, we've had some chilly days here in Southern California. I mean, we can all see the snow on the mountains and we're happy for it to stay there.
[00:11:18] We can go and visit it if we would like to. But let's keep it there. But even here in the coastal regions, it's been a little chilly. And I don't know if you've actually gone and got some of that overpriced firewood and built a fire in your fireplace. And maybe you're taking the opportunity to do that. Just set the ambiance there and your kids are there. We got the crackle of the fireplace and it just feels like, yes, things are as they should be.
[00:11:44] Right. And if you've done that. But if you do that, you'll see, like, OK, the fire gets going. Hopefully if you build it right and it gets going, but over time it starts to fade a little bit. Right. And so you actually have to get that really heavy poker. You got to go and you got to poke it a little bit and you got to know kind of arrange the logs. And at some point you actually throw another log on the fire if you want to keep it burning, if you want to keep it going.
[00:12:09] And that's kind of the language that's been up being used here in this passage, that we should be stirring up one another in another way. Maybe to translate this would be to incite one another. Doesn't that sounds serious, like we're in a rebellion or something like this? Is this Star Wars?
[00:12:26] What are we. What are we talking about here? But I mean, if I were to say like, hey, you should go incite someone to do something that would feel like, OK, that's there's going to be some intensity to this. There's gonna be some energy I'm going to have to put forth. I I'm not going to be able to passively incite anyone to anything in my life better. You know, sometimes when I think about this, I remember the days that I used to live in the state of Texas. And I think their preferred translation of this would be to spur one another on. Right. Like, this is very good Texan phrase. Right. People in Texas, they like their horses out there. They think of themselves as horsemen and horsewoman, like they've got the horse market kind of like cornered. They're in Texas arrow. If they realize like horses, we're like a universal means of travel before we invented the automobile.
[00:13:13] But Texans, they think it's their territory. Right. And so they've got all of their you know, like, this is my horse and this is where it is. And I've got my boots and I wear things that I would wear when I riding and stuff like this. And if you've ever been to Texas or you've seen a movie with the cowboy in it, it's like, what do you hear when you hear them walking? Is it just the sound of their boot or is it also the clink of their spur?
[00:13:36] Right then on the back of their boots, they've got these sharp metallic objects that when they're riding their horse and they want their horse to really get it into high gear, they will spur on the horse. They will actually kick their heel back into the horse and it pokes the horse and the horse gets the picture pretty quick.
[00:13:56] And it's like, yeah, I don't want I'm going to I'm going to start going. I'm gonna start galloping. I'm really going to go. And then any time they do that, there's also the phrase that they've always got to say. Right. You know the phrase that I'm talking about the.
[00:14:06] Yeah. Right. Like, I know if you've ever tried to, like, practice that or hone that phrase, but it's fun. It's fun to say. I mean, I like saying I'm not going to lie. Right. But that's that's what it's talking about.
[00:14:18] It's talking about that God has given each of us a role, that we're going to be in each other's lives saying that and saying like, let's go together.
[00:14:30] I don't know if that's the way that you have thought about that, but that is the role that God is giving you, if you're a part of his church, is that you are going to be thinking about considering how you can spur other Christians on. I can stir em up. You can incite them and incite them, stir them up to something very specific to stir up one another. It says to love and good works that one of the things we are trying to stoke. We are trying to stir up in the lives of our fellow believers is love. And there's a good reason that that's listed first. I mean, turn with me to Matthew. Chapter 22 is the Matthew Chapter 22.
[00:15:12] We have one of these accounts where there's these religious leaders that are always trying to trap Jesus. They're always trying to to trick him in and get them caught up in his own words so they can find something against him so they can embarrass him and so that they can win the day. And this is a time where Matthew, 22, 34, the Saget sees a just tried and failed and now the Pharisees thought we will succeed. And it says in verse 34 of Matthew, 22. But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the. That's right. He did. They gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
[00:15:50] Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law. And he said to them, you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets that if Jesus was to say, hey, we could sum it all up, we could. I mean, all of these things that are contained within the law and the prophets, we could really bring it all down to crystal clarity and say that the thing that God wants more than anything else is for us to love him in an all out kind of way where there's there's no real competition, there's no real second.
[00:16:35] That is what he wants for us. That is the most important commandment that God has for all of us. God wants us to be loving him, to be adoring him, to be worshiping him, to be excited about him.
[00:16:51] And so we're going to stir up our friends. We're gonna want to stir him up to that. We're gonna want to be thinking like, how how brightly is the fire of my friend's love for the Lord burning right now? Are they in love with the law? Are they are they just thinking such high thoughts about the Lord? Is there such a real sense of joy and satisfaction in the salvation that they have with the Lord? Or are they spending time with the Lord because they love him, or are they communing with him or are they abiding in him? Is that what's going on in the life of my of my friend? I mean, that's something that God wants us thinking about for each other. And one of the great ways that we have that we can stir one another up, if you want their fire of love for the Lord to burn more brightly, you can just take a gospel log and throw it on the fire whenever we're coming together and we remind one another of how great God loves us. That's going to stir up love for him in return. Man, I just love it. Even when we gathered together and we sing, even as we did this morning, how wonderful, how marvelous is my savior's love for me. And when I think about that, it stirs me up because I remember how I did not deserve anything from the Lord. But yet he was so merciful and so gracious and he loved me and he loved me to the end. That stirs stirs me up when I think about that. You're going to have a time where, man, maybe one of our friends, they're getting distracted. Things maybe are going rough in their life. Circumstances aren't the way they would like him to go. And you need to be there with the log of God's love to put it on their fire and say, hey, I mean, don't forget that you're really not defined by how things are going right now.
[00:18:41] You're not really defined by what other people think of you. You're defined by what Jesus thinks of you. And he loves you. He loves you so much.
[00:18:49] He was willing to die for you and he's preparing a place for you and he's going to bring you this is going to be faithful all the way through. Like if I'm just ready to share that with a with a fellow brother sister, I'm ready to spur them on. I'm ready to to stoke them up. And it says this second thing is that we would love our neighbor as our self. I mean, these are these are two commands that we could have. And they're so important that we focus on the love first. I mean, turn with me to First Corinthians, Chapter 13. If you just go a few books to the right in this passage that many of us, when we hear of First Corinthians 13, we think, oh, that's a chapter about love. And it starts off in verse one of Chapter 13 of First Corinthians.
[00:19:34] It's Paul says, If I speak in tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
[00:19:46] Did any of us give instruments to our children for Christmas? Or maybe you had a relative that decided to do so, and maybe you kids have been getting some practicing on those instruments and now it's like, all right, let's clearly define the practice space in your room with the door shut.
[00:20:06] Right. Sounds like a great place for you to play that instrument you were given there. I mean, a noisy gong or clanging cymbal, those are not like pleasant sounds to experience in close proximity. Right. Like nobody wants to be standing right next to the cymbal when it gets struck.
[00:20:22] Right. Or the gong, it's like, yeah, it's unpleasant. I don't I don't want that in a Paul saying if I don't have love, even if all these other things are going on, it's like this unpleasant thing, he continues. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing.
[00:20:45] If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body, we burn but have not love, I gain nothing. I mean, prophetic powers, understanding all mysteries, all knowledge, faith to remove mounds. Those sound like pretty cool things. But if we don't have love, it's nothing.
[00:21:04] See, maybe some of us we've tried to stir up people to more knowledge. We've tried to stir up people to understand more information about the Bible.
[00:21:13] But the key the key ingredient that we got to be focused on first is the love. If people are not doing what they're doing out of love for the Lord. That's a problem we need to help them with.
[00:21:25] Maybe some of us, you know, we're here at the church and we're serving and we're pouring out ourselves.
[00:21:31] But there can be a times where people are not doing that because they love the other people here at this church. They can be doing it because they feel obligated or they feel like it's just what they should do. We need to stir people up to love. Or maybe there's a fellow Christian that's that's tempted for a moment just to be kind of going through the motions with their kids, with their spouse. And we need to stir them up to love, right? If we don't stir them up to love. First, the second part of trying to stir them up to good deeds won't be very lasting or effective. We need to focus on the love. And have you actually spent time thinking about fellow Christians and thinking like that?
[00:22:09] I wonder how their love for the Lord is right now. How could I actually be useful that help stir that up in their life, to help them to love Jesus more and help them to love other people more?
[00:22:24] Well, if we go back to Hebrews 10, hopefully you've got a finger there or something that helps you get back there quickly. We'll be going back. There are a number of times, and it says to stir one another up to love and good works.
[00:22:41] Obedience, obeying God's commands. I want to incite my fellow Christians to radical obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ. I don't want you to know that. That is the way that God has designed it. Obedience is on really hard times in the church in America today. If you're one to help people obey the commands of the Lord, it's quite often that you're viewed as the bad guy rather than the good guy. But we need to see that this is really the way that God has designed it to go. I mean, turn back with me to a Fenians Chapter two in Ephesians, Chapter two, there's this very clear depiction of the way salvation works. And and it's it's through God's grace. And we put our faith in what Jesus has done. And in verse nine of Ephesians two, it says it's not a result of works that no one may boast. It's not, hey, I did these good things and I made God accept me or love me or I earned favor with God through the good things that I had done or the good person that I was. It's not a result of any of that. None of us are going to have anything to boast about. Right. None of us brought anything good to our salvation. It's all the work of God. But then it says this in verse 10, it says four. We're his workmanship. So once we are saved, once he does save us by grace, through faith, it says we're created in Christ. Jesus for.
[00:24:04] Good works.
[00:24:05] That's the way he's designed it, is that after you're saved. He's got good works, good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
[00:24:16] It is God's desire for every Christian that they would do good works, good works of obedience to his commands.
[00:24:24] That's the way he's designed it to work. And if you go back even further, turn with me back to Matthew again in Chapter 28 this time. Matthew, Chapter 28. There's this passage that many of us refer to as the great commission, like right at the beginning of the church when there's a group of people that have been assembled, that have been saved, that are following Jesus Christ, and they're going to be the start of the church and this church is going to actually get founded in in in just a little bit of time. And Jesus is giving his parting instructions after he's raised from the dead right before he ascends into heaven. He says this in verse 19 of Matthew, 28 go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. We think about this with a lot of evangelism and everybody needs the gospel, you know, baptizing them in the name of the father and then the son of the Holy Spirit. But they need to really key in with me on verse 20 what he says here. He says, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
[00:25:19] And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.
[00:25:22] Another way to translate observe would be to obey everything I have commanded you that it is the job of the church of all of us to teach one another, that we would obey everything Christ commanded us.
[00:25:37] That's the way God is designed. That may not be the way a lot of churches are doing it, but that's the way Jesus wants it done.
[00:25:45] And so if you think about that, I mean.
[00:25:49] If God's desire is for us to be in obedience to him, and that's the way he's designed the church to do that. And that's what you and I are being commanded to stir up one another towards. When we talk about God's commandments, we talk about the way God wants us to live.
[00:26:05] Do you know what that looks like?
[00:26:08] Mean, could you depict that clearly of like, hey, I know from the Bible this is what it looks like for a person to obey God and do good works for him in the year of our Lord.
[00:26:19] Twenty nineteen. Do you have any clue what that looks like? I mean, it doesn't seem like you will be very effective at stirring up people to good works if you don't know what good works. Those are.
[00:26:31] I mean, if you're going to do this, if you and I are going to obey this command that we're reading in Hebrews 10 24, we're gonna have to know the commands of the Lord.
[00:26:39] We're going to have to know what the good works are that he wants us to stir up other people to. And some of us, that's not really the way we've been approach in the Bible. We haven't been approached in the Bible in our own life. Like these are actually things that God wants me to put into practice, that God wants me to do. We've been thinking about it informationally, but we haven't really been doers of the word. We've just been hearer's.
[00:27:04] So if we're not thinking about it that way in our own life, how are we going to be able to help someone else figure that out if we're not doing that ourselves? We're going to have to really know what God's word has to say, because when I know what God's word has to say, then I can actually stir up other people to it. Right. When I know that that when hard things happen, God wants us to respond to those things with trust, that he wants us to not turn aside into worry and to fear, but to really trust in him and and pray about those things. And when I know that that's what God wants us to do, because I've read that in the Bible.
[00:27:41] And then I see a fellow Christian here at the church and I know they're going through hard things and I see them not responding and worry and fear, but I see them responding with trust. Guess what? I'm now ready to do. I'm ready to stir him up. I'm ready to encourage them. I'm ready to say, hey, I saw how you responded to that. And I was so encouraged by that. Like, that is what God wants you to do. And I see him doing that in your life. Praise the Lord for that. And then maybe that person wasn't even really thinking about that. God's at work in their life right now. God's helping them to obey his commandments.
[00:28:13] And like me bringing that up because I know the commandments of the Lord like that's now stirred them up. And they're that much more encouraged to keep doing that, even though maybe this situation that they're in isn't going to get easier in the short term.
[00:28:26] We have to know the commands of the Lord. If we're gonna be able to do this or if I know the commands of the Lord and maybe I see a fellow brother or sister and maybe there's something they're not thinking through clearly, maybe there's something that they that I see their life. And I and I know what God. God's word has to say. And I'm seeing, hey, these two things aren't really matching up right now. And I can come alongside them and help them. And the way I can do that best is not just by sharing my own thoughts. It's by actually sharing this scripture with them. Then maybe I'm going to get some time with them and I open up the Bible and I'm, you know, taking them to a specific passage. And I'm just reading it and saying, what do you think about that? Like, I mean, if I'm going to stir them up, like, I don't have to be, like, super intense in my tone or, you know, getting up in their face or giving them a hard time, I can just kind of put the scripture in front of them and it can do the poking. It's got all the sharpness that it needs right there in the scriptures. Right. And I can just put it before him. And I can I can try to encourage him.
[00:29:23] I could say, hey, why don't we. Why do we start praying about this together? Why do we start going for this together? Why do we. Why do we text each other every day this week? And I would be really praying for you. And for that we would really obey this commandment of the Lord. Let's do this. Let's go for it together. See what you just did there.
[00:29:41] You stirred someone up to loving good deeds, right? That even though love it can really be the overarching thing that we could summarize all of God's commandments by saying love God and love people.
[00:29:52] But God has given us very specific ways that he wants us to love him, very specific ways that he wants us to love other people. And we need to know what those specifics are. We need to be ready to share those with other people.
[00:30:07] Now, if you go back to Hebrews 10, you'll see that that he gives us a little bit more information on how this stirring up not just what we're stirring one another up to, but how it's going to happen if we keep reading. And Hebrews ten, twenty five, it says, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.
[00:30:31] Let me just tell you that you will not be able to stir up other Christians to loving good deeds if you don't know them.
[00:30:39] You won't it will be impossible.
[00:30:42] You have to know them. And that means that you're going to have to meet with them. So as we think about the year ahead, let's get this down for point number two on your notes, that 2020 needs to be the year where you and I and every one of CompassHB five wishes that we reject isolation. Reject it completely out of hand.
[00:31:01] We we are going to have a zero isolation policy in our lives at this church in 2020. I mean, let's let's talk about the kind of meeting that it's describing here. Man, I've heard this this passage kind of used to talk about going to church. Right. That, hey, this passage would say you can't be neglecting to meet together.
[00:31:22] So if you're one of those people who's trying to say, I'm a Christian, I just don't go to church. Well, here it is. You should not neglect meeting together. And I think there's an element of truth to that. But the kind of meeting that it's talking about, what we're doing in this meeting as we gather together, it's encouraging one another.
[00:31:41] That's that's what's going on that that everybody in the church is active in that not passive.
[00:31:49] You understand that. So like when we gathered together here, I mean, we are coming together and we are praising the Lord together. But then in this time, which actually is coincidentally the majority of time that we spend together in a service looking at the word, it's primarily one person doing the encouragement, the exhortation from the scripture and the rest of us. We're listening. We're not actively engaged encouraging each other right now. I mean, as we see each other beforehand and afterwards, we have many opportunities to do that. But it seems like if we're going to really do what we're being commanded to do here, we're going to need more than a 90 minute time once a week.
[00:32:27] Like, we can't really be meeting together like it talks about here, if we only come to a service, that that's what it's it's trying to say, it's it's going to say that, hey, I need to do more than just go to church.
[00:32:40] I mean, really, in the life of our church, the meeting that this might describe more than this meeting, it might be describing fellowship groups even more than a service where they hear there's a time in fellowship groups where we're gathering together in smaller groups and we're all active in encouraging one another. Right. That we got the chairs and we're we're facing them towards each other. And all of us have an opportunity in that fellowship group to stir one another up. All of us have an opportunity to share what we're thinking through from the Bible or to encourage other people in our group. And that's where we're even getting to know people better because we're spending more time with them. You're not going to be able to stir people up if you don't know them. And there's no shortcut besides time spent with people to be able to do that.
[00:33:26] I mean, if I if I'm going to stir one another up, I've got to know what the Bible says in the commands of the Lord. But I also need to know the life of my friend. I need to know, like, what's going on. I need to know how their life is going. I mean, if I don't know what's going on in their life, how can I compare it to what the scripture says so that I have something to encourage them?
[00:33:46] I'm going to need to know them. I'm going to need to to spend time with them. And you might be thinking like, OK, Pastor Bill, this is the service between Christmas and New Year's.
[00:33:59] And I'm here, don't talk to me about neglecting to meet together. I could have neglected this and I did not. Right. You might be coming in here thinking about that.
[00:34:08] But some of us I mean, here's the here's the honest truth, friends, is that we can become into to services regularly at this church and still be isolating ourselves. We can have a friendly smile on our face. We can shake people's hands, we can remember people's names and still be nowhere in the type of stirring up of one another that God commands us to be a part of as a part of his church. I mean, I just want to read for you Proverbs 18 one here on the screen. You can look at it, write it down on your notes. It says, Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire. He breaks out against all sound judgment.
[00:34:49] I mean, if you isolate yourself, it's saying you're selfish. And breaks out against all sound judgment. I mean, that is a very fancy way to say your stupid. I mean, like the Lord has not designed the church to work where we're going to do this on our own. The Lord has designed it to work where we're going to do this together. And so, hey, if we're thinking you, I'm I'm going to reject that. I'm going to go on my own. Proverbs is saying you're actually kind of stupid. You're breaking out against all sound judgment, friend. And maybe that's a great kind way to say it to someone else. Hey, are you breaking out against your sound judgment right now?
[00:35:26] Maybe you should try to use that one in 20, 20. But let's let's just look at this here for a moment. I want you to see this from the scripture. Go back to the Book of Acts and act Chapter two and enact Chapter two after Jesus ascends into heaven. And then the Holy Spirit comes upon that that group and the apostles and they start preaching there in Jerusalem. And there's this epic time where 3000 people get saved right there. And one day as a result of one sermon and boom. Now we have this church. Now we have this group of people that God is gathered together, you know, maybe 30, 230, 300 souls or so. And look at this depiction of how their life as a church is described and acts to verse 42. It says, and they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching things that might happen in a service like this.
[00:36:19] And the fellowship and the time with one another to the breaking of bread and the prayers and all came upon every soul. And many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles and all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belonging and distributing the proceeds to all his and he had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people in the Lord added to their number.
[00:36:52] Day by day, those who are being say mean. Doesn't that just sound like the church you want to be a part of?
[00:36:58] So vibrant, so full of life. Did you catch some of the depictions that togetherness that's there, how devoted they are to fellowship to one another? That's what God wanted us to know that characterized the early church. I mean, go go with me back to Ephesians, but this time to Chapter four. And as Paul talks about the church, I mean, we need to see that he describes it like a body. Go to Ephesians four, verse fifteen.
[00:37:27] And he says, yeah, we don't want to. We want to be mature, we want to be like Christ. We all want to be children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning and deceitful schemes, but rather in verse 15 says, rather speaking the truth in love, stirring up one another.
[00:37:46] We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. I mean, ah, our body is not a loose association of body parts. Our body is knit together. It is joint together. Have you ever had something be out of joint in your body? You ever experienced something as painful as that? That is not funny. That is not something we're like. Oh, yeah, it's out of joint. It's fine.
[00:38:25] No, we're like, let's get it in joint. Let's get it connected together in the right way that it's supposed to be very often then.
[00:38:31] And the sad truth, I mean, where it says there when every part is working properly, I mean, the truth is, even here at our church, we've got parts that are not working properly. We've got parts that think I'm okay to be isolated and away from the rest of the body.
[00:38:45] I am okay with none of my body parts thinking it's OK if I just go hang out over there away from the rest of my body.
[00:38:52] That would not be all right with me. Shouldn't be all right with you either. Right. That's not the way God is. All right. With it being in his body, the church. Now, I mean, when we gathered together on a weekend here at our church, I mean, we've got around fourteen hundred souls that God is bringing together. It is difficult to be deeply connected. Fourteen hundred different people. But if you go to a fellowship group and say, hey, we got 15, 20 other souls in that group, that's a group of people I can get really connected to. I can go really deep with that. That amount of people. Right. Like everybody part of mine is not deeply connected with every other body part. I mean, we're one body, but there's parts of the body that maybe I'm closer to than others. Is that the way that you're functioning within the body of God's church here at CompassHB Bible Church, that there's people that it can be really said that your joint and knit together, that you're so close that you actually can speak the truth and love to one another, that you're so close and you know what's going on in their life.
[00:39:54] And so you're ready to encourage them. You're ready to stir them up to to spur them on. Are you that close with other people? I mean, I just think, OK, when I when I see the depiction of the early church in Acts Chapter two, when I read here that this is the way that God thinks about the churches, it's like a body. And then I look at the church in America. It doesn't feel like I see that when I'm looking around. I mean, I hear so many sad stories from people about how they went to a church for a long time and they were able to go in and go out. And it was like they never knew anybody at that church. That church wasn't connected with one another that a lot of churches. It is just a service. It is just some content that all of us are going to take in while breathing oxygen in the same room together. But there is none of this connection. There's none of this together in this. It's like, hey, great to see you this week. I'll see you next week. No, I mean, we need more than that. We need more than that here at our church. And when you try to encourage people like gay people who are coming to the church and you meet him and and our goal is that people who come to this church would be connected with other people, that we would be having deep relationships getting so far past the surface where we can be honest with one another and really encourage one another. And this way, when you try to do that, sometimes you know what?
[00:41:17] You find excuses.
[00:41:20] We have some real talk. At the end of twenty nineteen, at the end of the decade, can we say it the way it really is, that some of the excuses I've heard from people. One of them is, hey, it's that's not my personality type.
[00:41:33] I don't love people.
[00:41:38] Can I refer you to Hebrews 10, 24 and 25 and let it poke you?
[00:41:43] Right. I've had people say that. I've had people talk about the busyness of their schedules. There's a lot going on. And here in Southern California, there's a lot that we can't have going on. There's a lot to do in this world. And a lot of people sometimes what's what's keeping them from loving other people at the church. The way that God wants them to. Is their kids' sports schedule. I mean, we are a part of. Of every kind of sport and extra curricular activity that could be possible. So we don't actually have time to love other people the way that God wants us to. At the church or other people, I mean, sometimes when you've just had a long day of work. Anybody else get tired after a long day of work in some of us, maybe we work down in Irvine. And then there's this thing called the four or five.
[00:42:28] And with this traffic, with this construction, that maybe is going to be like completed by 20, 120 or something like that. I mean, man, I have to suffer through all that and they fight through all of that to get to church. And I'm tired.
[00:42:42] You know, maybe what sounds good to me is just some me time at the end of the day where I could just relax and focus on myself. And I'm so thankful that we've got so many good examples here at the church of of people that have been willing to say no to some of the hard things or some of the the hurdles that they have to jump over there. They're willing to do that. I mean, I'm so blessed to gather with a group of people on Tuesday nights for our fellowship group. And there's this one gal that got saved a little over a year ago, and she got saved right around the same time that she got diagnosed with cancer. And over the last year, she's been going through treatment and maybe not everything is going in as positive a direction as far as the cancer goes. But you have this this guy is there in our group and she's saying things like, yeah, I know my doctors are saying that my body's kind of, you know, going in the wrong direction, but I've never felt so alive because of the life of Jesus Christ that's in her, because of her joy, of her salvation. And she's sharing that. You better believe our group was stirred up when she shared that at our group. And and I'm talking with this gal. And she was like, yeah, I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to make it tonight. So I was taking my chemotherapy earlier today.
[00:44:00] Kind of puts some of our excuses in perspective. My tiredness versus chemotherapy. Right. But she's here because she loves the other people and she loves the Lord and she wants to be a part of that encouragement. I mean, we really ultimately need to look at the example of Jesus. I mean, go with me to John Chapter 13.
[00:44:24] Because I think it's very easy for us to think that we can love other people up to a certain limit that we might have.
[00:44:32] And as long as it works with my schedule, as long as it's convenient, as long as I'm feeling at the optimal level, then I will love other people. And John, 13, verse 34, the words of Jesus Christ to his disciples, to us. He says this. He says, a new commandment I give to you that you love one another. And maybe you're thinking, what do you mean Jesus? How is that a new commandment? I remember that from the law. I've studied that. That's not new. How are you saying that? Well, what's really new about it is what he says next.
[00:45:02] Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people that will know that you are my disciples if you have love, one another. So what is it that Jesus has just done to express his love for them? He's washed their feet. I don't know if you spend a lot of time around FT recently. Ken Gross. They smell.
[00:45:24] They're nasty and we've got like socks and shoes here in America. But back in the day when you're, you know, walking around everywhere, you go through the dirt, through the streets with your sandals on, and that's all you got. I mean, it was the lowest of the low job of the servants to be the foot washer like a new guy. You're watching the feet. I'm out of that. I've been promoted out of that department. I'm very glad I don't have to be around those kind of feet. And here's the Lord of the Universe. And apparently we didn't hire the foot washer servant at this gathering of disciples. And so he's going and he's going to the lowest of low.
[00:46:01] He's already gone low by taking on flesh and living as a human being as a man.
[00:46:06] But he's willing to go that much lower. And he keeps going lower than that. All the way to death on a cross. I mean, some of us really need to rethink whether or not we love people. If there is a limit to how far we're going to go to love other people, then we're not doing what Jesus wants us to do.
[00:46:25] We're not obeying his command. He's saying go all the way, have a no limit love towards your fellow Christians.
[00:46:35] You know, we as we think about 2020, right? And God's desire is us to not neglect meeting together, but maybe there is something we need to neglect. Some plans, neglect in 2020. Maybe we need to neglect our excuses. Maybe we need to give them no care and attention that maybe our feelings like how tired I am on any given day of the week, maybe that's going to get no vote. I mean, yeah. I mean, don't come to your fellowship group and share your influenza with everyone. Right. I mean, there are times to stay home. There are times where you're sick and you can't come. But how many times is it just, hey, I really could go, but I'd rather not. And I can't tell you how many times I've had something at the church or a fellowship group or a meeting with someone. And my feelings are ha.
[00:47:23] I'd rather not do this. Is there a way I can get out of this? But then when I when I go in there and I make it not about me and I start focusing on that other person, I cannot tell you how many times I've gone into something and I've felt like my energy level is low. When I go in. But then I come out of it and my energy level is high. It's like I got charged up by loving this other person. That's the way God is designed to work. That some of us, you know, if we think about, you know, going into a group and our thoughts can really be focused on ourself, like, well, are these people going to love me the way I really want them to, or are they doing a good job of loving me? Meet my needs of caring about myself. Right. Is this a fun group of people? Maybe.
[00:48:09] Is there a a group that's more fun than this group that I could go to, Pastor Bill? Could you direct me to where the the fun group is or the group that I mean, this group talks about the Bible a lot. Is there a group that doesn't talk about the Bible as much that I could that I could attend?
[00:48:24] If we're going into it with those kind of thoughts, we're thinking about it all wrong. What God wants us to be considering thinking about is not how other people are going to love us. It's how we're going to love other people. And let me just encourage you friends that there is such a joy and a freedom to be found in neglecting yourself. That's not what the world's going to tell you. It's not even maybe what some of the churches in this world are going to tell you. They're going to tell you you should focus on yourself. You should get some serious self care going on the Bible saying, hey, well, we should really be thinking about and having our thoughts consumed with is how can I stir up others? And there's this amazing thing that happens that when that's my focus, that's actually the way that I grow the most to. That's actually the way that I get stirred up the most to is when I'm just trying to help someone else. And I'm praying about that and praying for them.
[00:49:15] And then I get to share with them the scripture and I'm like, let's do this together. And I see that like that gallops start in their life. Like maybe they were kind of like trotting along. And then God used me to really spur them on. And now they're running and they're filled with joy like that. Pumps me up like I got to be a part of that. Like I'm just this, like, normal person who's just trying to help. And God used that in someone else's life. Like, how cool is that? That I could be a part of it. And that's what you will will find when it's not about you. I mean, really, this word neglect that's in Hebrews 10, you maybe be better to translate it for sake or abandon. It's not just like, oh, it's slipped my mind. Oh, fellowship group. It's more like these people. They're not they're not even being a part of it at all. Well, we need to forsake or abandon are the excuses that would keep us from obeying what.
[00:50:08] That's what we need to see if you go back to Hebrews 10 with me. It says it said it negatively not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some. And sadly, that is the habit of some people here in this service.
[00:50:21] Meeting together is on form neglect mode in your life. That's the habit of some but positively sates. But encouraging one another. And all the more as you see the day drawing near that word, encouraging is this Greek word para calado, which means to call collect oh, alongside parrot parrot collect. Oh, so it's basically it's not this like, well I'm going to become the teacher and the professor and you all should sign up for my class and you know, be here with your homework on time. No, it's just saying like hey, let me come alongside you and let's do this together. So I mean, like when you come to a fellowship group, you want to know a great way that you can stir up your group is just by having something to say that God is teaching you. You win when you say, has I heard this sermon, I was thinking about this and God was really putting on my art that I need to do this in my life, and would you guys pray for me? Would you guys can we come alongside one another and we can do that together? You see what you've just done. You've encouraged one another. You've stirred them up to love and good deeds. I mean, can we just make 20? I mean, a lot of times a lot of the groups what we're doing is we're talking about the questions on the back of the hand. I know if you realize this is this not so mysterious thing that happens pretty much every fellowship group where we we talk about we want to talk about the passage that we heard on the weekend and we want to put it into practice in our lives. We want to be doers of the word and not just hears only and we want to encourage one another together as we as we do this like this verse right here, these two versus a really why we do fellowship groups here at the church. And I would really love to see if 20-20 could be the year where all of us before we go to our group, we've actually considered something that we could share that would stir up other people. And so when the leader asks the question, we could just obliterate the awkward silence that sometimes occurs at our group of leaders.
[00:52:15] Some leaders in the room are nodding their heads with great appreciation, right. That all of us we've thought about it ahead of time. We don't have to be bashful about sharing it. We're actually commanded to encourage one another. So let's go. Right.
[00:52:28] That's the attitude you need to have in this year ahead, that there's been some consideration, that I've got something to say that I can actually come alongside. Not like I'm this super spiritual kind of person, but I've just thought about it. And I've got something to say. Even if you just do those questions on your own or with your spouse before you go to your fellowship group the next time it happens, I mean, you'll be prepared. You'll have something to say to encourage one another. And then there's this phrase right after that.
[00:52:58] And all the more as you see the day drawing near that, all the more I mean, I don't know if you've noticed this, but around this time of year, there there has been a phenomenon that I've noticed where I get advertisements targeted toward me. And you can tell that there is a group of people out there and they've got this idea that like, hey, people want 20-20 to be better than 2090 and I'm going to sell them some kind of product. I'm going to design some kind of course, I'm going to have an e-book out there that they can download that's going to make their life better, right.
[00:53:34] That you're going to be able to 10x your investments. You're gonna be able to 10x your nutrition. Everything's going to be able to. I mean, have you seen these things? Are you.
[00:53:42] Are you aware of this phenomenon of you? Am I the only one that they're trying to make better in in 2020? Right. But this is the thought on a lot of people's minds. Right. Like, yeah, I could 10x my portfolio in 2020. I should really think about that. That sounds pretty good. Let me tell you, if there's one portfolio of yours that needs to be 10 Xed in 2020, it's your encouragement portfolio that needs to be so. Let's get that down four point number three, that you need to 10x your encouragement in 2020. You might have been thinking, OK. Twenty nineteen. I was used by the Lord, I got to encourage some people, you know what God wants you thinking about twenty twenty, like twenty nineteen. Doesn't matter more. All the more. Some of us might be like, yeah. Twenty fourteen. I remember encouraging some people back then back in nineteen ninety nine I encouraged a few folks. It was a long time ago friends were in a different century than that right now. Multiple decades. I mean, the thought we need to have is no matter where we were back in this previous year.
[00:54:44] God wants more in the year ahead. And we should not be content with where we were at last year. We should be striving for more. So for. For some of us that's saying like eight, 20, 20 is going to be the year where I actually commit to a fellowship group.
[00:54:59] And it's not like I'm doing this dance of like which group is right for me. And while I like this year because of this, but I don't like it because of this. So I'm gonna go over here and maybe child this other group. And I know if I like this group because of that. Right, let's just let 20, 20 be the year where we're done thinking about it that way, where we say, hey, I'm going to find a group of people that I'm going to choose to love.
[00:55:20] Whether or not I feel like they're loving me, I'm going to love them.
[00:55:25] Maybe a great step for some of you, I mean, every week in the back, we got Pastor Daniel. You can come talk to me, Pastor Bobby.
[00:55:32] Any one of us would love to help you get connected to a fellowship group, a group of people that you could really get to know and a group of people that's going to care about you. They will care about you. They will love you. You might get poked with the scripture by someone in that group for your stirring up. Like you'll be blessed as a result of it. But this is the year for some of us. We got to stop just being an attender of services at this church. And we've really got to consider how we're gonna store other people up. And we've got to meet together. We've got to meet together more than just this time.
[00:56:03] We got to we've got to get to a group and say that some of us that means when we're at that group, we've got to have something to say. We actually need to open up our mouth and say something at that group. We can lurk in the shadows no longer at our group. We're gonna encourage people. They're gonna hear us saying something from the scripture. That's going to encourage them. Some of you have just gotta gotta commit to that. And the first time that you do that might be different because you haven't done it before. But after you do it, you realize.
[00:56:32] I can do this. The Lord can help me to do this.
[00:56:35] And maybe some of us that you're there at a group, you're committed, you're getting to know other people, you're sharing things from the scripture, the scripture of the day through the sermons you're putting out there, you're faithfully loving people. Maybe this needs to be the year where you pick a few people in that group and you think, how many times can I meet with this person? How can I really get to know them better, to really understand what's going on in their life to where if there was a day during the week that they were being particularly tempted or particularly discouraged that I would know about that because I'm that close to them and I'd be ready to encourage them to pray for them, to build them up. Maybe that needs to be the year where you need to go for it in that kind of way. And if we keep reading here for just just a minute, it says all the more as you see the day drawing near. Only many of us, when we think about that day. And you can see it's capitalized there because it's not just talking about any given day, it's talking about the day that Jesus returns, which I can confidently say.
[00:57:34] In 2020, we're gonna be a year closer to it than we were back at the beginning of twenty nineteen. Amen. And it went well. And we say that we can tell, like, OK, there is excitement. A lot of us are looking forward to that day because we're ready, we're ready to be with Jesus. We would much rather be with him and be away from temptation and sin and rebellion and be in his presence because we love him because of his love for us.
[00:57:57] There's many of us that that is the case in our life. But then the next verse, it says, for if we go on sinning deliberately. After receiving a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for since. But a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire will consume the adversary's.
[00:58:20] So actually, when the writer of Hebrews is writing this down, he's not thinking about that day in a positive way. He's thinking about that day in a very scary way. That there are people that when they meet that day, that will not be the day of their deliverance and their entrance into the presence of God in his glory. That will be the day that God cast them out forever.
[00:58:41] And judges that.
[00:58:44] Matt, I want you to know that there are people here among us who have a knowledge of the truth.
[00:58:52] But are still sinning deliberately. They know it's wrong. They know they shouldn't do it, but they are unwilling to stop. They're unwilling to seize. One of my great fears is that there could be people among us like that. And who knows that?
[00:59:10] Who actually is going to try to get involved in someone's life and is going to get to know them well enough that they could see that, hey, I'm trying to stoke up a fire, and as I'm trying to do that, I realize there's no fire there to stoke up. And when I realize that I can love that person, I can help that person. I can maybe help them to see something that they're confused about or they're not seeing clearly. I mean, if you choose to love other people at this church, it very well be made much more than just encouragement that you give, that you spur them on.
[00:59:43] You might be used to actually see someone come to salvation in the year 2020, the eternal state of someone's soul could be changed by you loving them in this kind of a way. I mean, when we think about it the way that it's presented here, there is a sense of urgency about this. This is not something that we can put off another year, another month, another week. This is like something we need to have a priority of right now in our lives.
[01:00:14] So I hope that this morning that our vision of what God wants us to be as his church. I hope that we're seeing it more clearly. I hope that there is no confusion, that it's not ambiguous what that means to us right now, that there's crystal clarity. And I think if you and I and every one of us one another, we commit to loving each other in this kind of way and maybe for some of us. That's I oh, that's more than I've done before. I haven't experienced something like that. I don't know what that's all going to look like. Maybe I feel like I could use some help, like maybe help me to understand how to do that better. You realize you got a ton of people right here in the room that would love to help you with the pastors fellowship group leaders, friends. You go to someone, you're like, hey, I want to do this more. But I, I feel like, I don't know specifics of how to go about this. Would you help me with that? You're going to get help if you ask that question. You gonna find people that want to want to spur you on so that you can spur others on. Right. That's the kind of church that we can be together. And I think if if that's the way that God really makes us as much as his church, that he wants to build his church and we are encouraging one another and we're doing that all the more, more and more all the time. This will be the best year in the history of our church. I mean, other people will come in and they will be amazed at this church really loves one of these must be the real followers of Jesus Christ. I get so excited when I think about that, when I think about how God can use ordinary people like you and me for his glory and the lives of other Christians. I can't wait to see what God's going to do. But it's going to come down to you and me making a choice. Am I going to choose to obey this command? Am I going to choose to be the church?
[01:02:02] Or am I not? So let me pray about that for us all to get.
[01:02:12] Father, you were just it makes your will so clear. God, it makes the way that you want us to do good works and to love you and to love the others around us. So clear, God. And God, we. We must confess that for for so many of us. God, we have been isolating ourselves. God, we have been neglecting to encourage one another. We've been forsaking it.
[01:02:37] Maybe there have been excuses over this last year that that we've been allowed to keep us from obeying your commands. God help us to see those is what they really are. God help us to turn away from them so that we can be the church that you want us to be. God, we we are so excited to see what you're going to do. God that we know that that we have a role and you want us to be working properly. But really, all the growth is going to come from you. God, we obey your commands. We will see you build your church and this church will build itself up in love, God, as you've designed it to. So help us to embrace what you say by faith, God, that we would take you at your word and that we would obey you and God through all of this. May your name be lifted. Hi again. May we be a church that is more set apart from sin than ever at a church that pleases you?
[01:03:30] We pray this in your name and for your glory. A man.
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