The concept for our Better Together series was formed during a staff retreat almost a year ago. As we all sat together in that room, we realized that we had missed being together as a team. We laughed, we prayed, we sang, and we dreamed. As we dreamed, we realized that just as we (the staff) were better together, so was the entirety of our congregation. God was moving amongst all of us to come back and tell you about “Better Together” immediately, but to do this right, we needed to plan it out. We needed to write our own curriculum. We needed to wait until the timing was right, but we knew that this was from the Lord and He who promised is faithful.
Wouldn’t you agree that He is faithful? Have you felt as encouraged by this study as we have? Don’t you feel more connected to one another than we did even a few months ago? The final word of our study tells us that we will be encouraged as we draw near to God personally and as we draw near to one another in community. That is how we will continue to be Better Together beyond these 13 weeks, for He who promised is faithful.
The main reason we are better together, it would seem, is because we are more likely to finish the race when we are together. That is the main thrust of this text. Afforded by the blood of Christ, we discover new life (forgiven and cleansed), not independent, but dependent on others.
When we are together we are better at holding tight to the hope we have in Jesus, we are better at encouraging each other to obey Jesus even when life is hard, and we are better at finishing strong.
Don’t let the world convince you, you are better on your own. It’s a lie.
Take the risk, be very intentional, invite others into your life, step into the lives of others-be better together!
Re:Verse passage –Hebrews 10:19-25 (day five) This week’s Re:Verse passage is fascinating. We are reminded and exhorted to draw near to God. Coming before Him in His holy place. Not intimidated, but rather with a humble and sincere perspective. As we experience God in His glory and His beauty, our faith and trust grow stronger and more resilient. Our hope becomes more tangible. As God’s beauty becomes clearer we begin to see and sense His faithfulness.
Then the remarkable happens: a personal faith becomes corporate. We gather with others. We encourage others. While our focus is still on the Lord, our desire for the spiritual growth and effectiveness of our brothers and sisters increases.
As we draw near to God (He becomes bigger) we also invest in and encourage others (they become better).
Our culture today has lost their reverence for God. Recognition for and respect of the holiness of God seems to be a thing of the past. There was a day when even non-believers had respect for our holy God. Those days are gone.
Even for believers in Christ, there is a failure to remember what our salvation has cost. It was the blood of Christ. He gave His life so we can have forgiveness of our sin. When we approach God in prayer…in worship…or in study of Scripture, we should do so in reverence and awe of God’s holiness. Casual or flippant attitudes disregard the sacredness of the love and work of salvation.
We must never forget the high cost of salvation. Whether we are in corporate worship or private devotion, always remember that God is a holy God who desires our holiness as well. Our holiness, rather than our comfort and safety, is the goal!
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”
Being in the presence of another person presents you with an important question: How will you live toward that person? That question might seem like it makes too much of a simple situation. After all, it’s only cousin Frank, or it’s only somebody you’ve bowled with for seventeen years, or whatever. Some of these decisions on how to live in a particular person’s presence you made long ago — and without really even thinking about it. That’s not uncommon. But you’re good for that person. Not because he or she is deficient, but because as a friend, you, with Christ, can see the heaven-placed potential within that person waiting to be summoned into action, if you’ll take the time to see it.
Re:Verse passage –Hebrews 10:19-25 (day two) …and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, vs. 24
We spend a good deal of time thinking how we can motivate others to success. We do this with our children, students, and those who work with/for us. We want people to succeed, right? It is good for the family, school, business, etc. No one would likely dispute that statement, and success is a worthy goal. This, however, is not what the writer of Hebrews is asking us to consider. We are to think about how to motivate people to love, and make good choices. Beyond your children when was the last time you considered that for your fellow believers? Imagine also the tangential impact of such an action. If others love and do good, it is likely their idea of success will alter considerably. It will often be less self-motivated and more kingdom-minded. The idea of love and right thinking should be our new concept of success.
When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. vs 24
How much is 10,000 talents. One talent was approximately 20 years wages for a working class citizen. Just for fun, let’s see how much that is in the U.S. Dollar. Twenty years working $15 an hour for 2,000 hours per year is $600,000. That’s just one talent. This individual owed 10,000 talents: $6,000,000,000 in todays economy. That is 6 Billion with a “B!”
Why would anyone allow such a debt to accrue? That just seems like bad management. Why would the king even let it get to that point? It seems absolutely ridiculous until you realize what Jesus was saying. We have a debt on our hands that is incalculable.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The wages of our sin has accrued a debt we cannot pay back. Yet, Jesus absolved it all. We are debt free. God tells us we are Better Together when our relationships are in order. We can find forgiveness with one another, because God has already forgiven us all.
Jesus is introducing a new kind of community to the disciples. He is answering the question, “How should we relate to one another?” No longer are they to pursue personal greatness through jockeying for position, but through mutual care for one another; the kind of care that goes to great lengths to preserve the other through accountability, forgiveness, and restoration.
Peter was intrigued. “How many times should we forgive each other? Surely, there is a limit?”
Jesus responds with a question of his own, “Is there any limit to God’s mercy?” There is no limit, save for the person without mercy.
Our merciful care for one another is fueled by God’s limitless mercy towards us. Our mercy should have no end, because his doesn’t.
“If your brother sins , go and show him his fault in private;”
Last week’s text pictured drastic metaphors that communicated God’s Holiness and tolerance of sin. When we learn about God (Holiness) and love Him more deeply, we begin to have the same perspective about our own sin (Romans 7). Now, Jesus extends the parameters of addressing sin, to include fellow members of the local Body of Christ.
None of the prescribed conversations and confrontations in this week’s text seem pleasant. In fact, they seem awkward and uncomfortable. Yet, Jesus plainly and unapologetically gives guidance for dealing with the sin of another saint.As we obey, He does grant authority, underscores power in unity, and promises His presence. Sin is a big deal to a Holy God. Addressing it, personally and/or corporately, reflects God’s grace, love, kindness, and Holiness.