January 5, 2014 by Chris French
Every Sunday we meet together to worship and to remember Jesus’ sacrifice, but that is only the vertical component of our worship. By that I mean that we come together for the purpose of worshiping God, but there is also a horizontal purpose of our worship. I have an obligation to you, as my brothers and sisters, as I come to worship. Paul is very clear what one of those purposes is in Hebrews 10.24.“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
He’s in the midst of telling us how important worship is and how vital it is, so integral that we should not miss it when he throws this little gem in there for us. We’re not supposed to miss worship because then we miss the opportunity to stir one another up to good works. One of our obligations to each others as we are worshiping is to provoke one another to the extent that it’s tough for us to not do good things. In fact, if you’re reading from an older translation you’ll probably read that we should “provoke one another to good works.” I’m betting you’ve been provoked before, it’s probably happened lately. You found yourself waiting in line at your favorite grocery store and the dude in front of you wants to argue about the price of something or, (deep breath) the cashier can’t find the price of an item so you’re left to stand in your holiday inspired purgatory until someone from the questionable department rings back with the price of the coveted item. Normally this wouldn’t have set you off like it did, but things have been building. You’re stressed over the holidays anyhow, the lady in the grocery isle wouldn’t move her buggy, when you tried to get a buggy they wouldn’t come apart and on and on it went until finally you’ve found yourself in the current situation provoked.
Now, you’ve been provoked to anger and you might want to work on your patience (I remind myself of this every time I stand in the line right behind the guy that needs a price check), but you’ve been provoked. Paul says I can, and should, do the same thing to you. I should encourage, admonish, inspire, test, push and challenge you to do good things. Just like it wasn’t one thing that provoked you to anger it probably won’t be just one thing that provoked you to do good things so don’t stop there. Keep pushing, keep challenging.
My vertical purpose for coming to worship is to bow down before God and extol His holy Name, but I have an obligation to you too. That obligation is to inspire you until it’s tough for you to NOT do good works when you leave our assembly. Today focus on praising God, but also look for ways to stir up a brother or sister to good works. If each one of us came to worship today with the purpose of provoking one another to do good things it wouldn’t seem like such an insurmountable task. You say one encouraging thing to Craig, I follow it up with another encouragement to do good, someone else follows that up with another. Before he leaves our assembly Craig may have had 10 pushes to do good things! Today look for ways to stir one another up!