We Are Connecting - Hebrews 10:19-25

How do people who have been hurt by the church begin to trust God and His people again?

This is difficult to answer without knowing the situation you’re thinking of.  For instance, some people are hurt by the church when they’ve experienced loving correction and accountability.  I’ve seen people hurt by the church because they were told that they couldn’t become members because they were living together while not being married.  That’s one kind of hurt people can experience because the church stood for and with the truth of God’s Word.  The couple wasn’t willing to do so.  So the church hurt them, but I don’t think it’s the church’s fault.

Now there are also many times when people are legitimately hurt by the church.  The main reason is because the church is full of saved and unsaved sinners.  And sinners...sin.  We hurt each other by gossiping, being divisive, and placing unbiblical expectations on one another (to name a few).

In these instances of being hurt, you’re most likely being sinned against.  Thankfully, Jesus told us what to do when we’re sinned by someone in the church (see Matthew 18:15-22).  So if their situation is one where they’ve been sinned against, have they followed Jesus’ word in Matthew 18?  That would be a good place to start.

Where in Scripture do we learn to know that our salvation is secure?

Here are just a few references in Scripture.

John 6:38-40 “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

[Jesus won’t lose a single person given to Him by His Father.  Who are those given to Him?  Those who believe in Him.  And those who believe in Him have eternal life and the promise that they will be raised up on the last day (the day when Christ returns).  If someone is given eternal life, they have life that lasts forever.  That, for me, is one of the strongest arguments why our salvation is secure.  How can eternal life not last forever?]

John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

[Eternal life is in these verses as well (see above).  And those who have eternal life shall never perish.  Not only does eternal life go on forever, but those who have been given eternal life (those who believe) shall never perish.  Meaning it’s impossible for them to perish in Hell.

Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

[This is the “golden chain” of salvation.  The point being that this verse leaves no gaps or possibilities for the chain to be broken.  If you are predestined by God, you will be called to Him.  And if you are called to Him, you will be justified (made righteous) before Him.  And if you are justified before Him, you will be glorified and spend eternity with God in Heaven.]

Pastor Josh, what is your tattoo of? I promise I only got momentarily distracted from the great sermon this morning!

My tattoos are all faith-based and I use them for conversation starters with people.  The tattoos you could see are:  1) “It is Finished” in Greek on the back of my arm, 2) a lamb being pierced with a spear (representing Christ being pierced on the cross); 3) An anchor with the word “hope” around it with Hebrews 6:19 (which says that Christ is the anchor of our hope).  Thanks for asking (and sorry for the distraction).

I question if time isn't better spent with family, Sunday worship, and volunteer work vs time attending weekly Life Groups. So many need help, wouldn't it be best we use our time to share our love of GOD  by helping others in need, instead of exploring our own needs in Life Groups?

All of the things you listed are great things, but why the “vs”?  I think there are too many verses in Scripture that command us to do both and so to say “either we meet the needs of others OR we meet the needs of those in the church” is just not biblical.  In fact, the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:10 NLT).

Do we need to love the hurting people in our world?  Yes!  Do we need to love the people in our church family?  Yes!  That’s why Gateway Church values “connecting to one another” and “going to the world”.  We can’t let this be an “either/or” situation.  The Bible is clear, this isn’t a “vs” situation.  We must do good to everyone--”helping others in need”--but, as Paul says, “especially those in the household of faith” (the church).  Thus we value both at Gateway Church.

Josh, to say we are not connected as we are not in life group can't be true. I am in Bible Study, do mission trips and attend regularly...It does bother me for anyone to be shamed into doing anything. We need to do things out of love, not guilt. 

Let me begin by saying, I’m thrilled that you’re in a Bible study, do missions trips, and attend regularly, but like my response to the question above, why make this an “either/or” situation?

In Hebrews 10:19-25, we saw some things that happen in a connected community.  Things like “drawing near to God together,” “holding fast to our hope together,” and “doing life together.”  All of these things happen in the context of a connected community that goes beyond what a person experiences on a missions trip, in a Bible study, or during a worship service.

Again, let me say that I love missions trips (I’m leaving for one in a few days), Bible studies, and worship services...but, none of these fulfill what we saw in Hebrews 10:19-25.  For instance, a missions trip is a great opportunity to serve people around the world, share the gospel, and build relationships with other believers who are on the trip with you.  Thus we value “Going” at Gateway and and want all of our people to be “going” on a missions trip.  But often (most of the time?), when the trip is over, so is the depth of the relationship you have with those who went on the trip with you.  Why?  Because the missions trip is what drew you together; not being connected to one another for the purpose of preparing for Christ’s return.

The same is true with Bible studies.  Again, I love Bible studies.  Bible studies are designed to fill us with God’s Word (a great thing), but rarely do curriculums help people grow closer together.  Rarely are there intimate, personal application questions in curriculums and even more rare is someone in a Bible study with the courage to share their answers to those questions.

As the pastor I quoted said, “Do you really believe what the Bible says about your sin?  It’s one thing to say, “I know I’m a sinner.  That’s what the Bible says.”  [But] do you know practically the biggest flaws you have?  The sins…that can most shipwreck you are—by definition—the ones you can’t really see, the ones you minimize, the ones you rationalize, the ones you’re really kind of blind to.  By definition your biggest sins are the ones you’re sort of self-deceived about.  A mark of mature Christian community is the members know that, and, therefore, they are accountable to each other.”

I’ve yet to find a Bible study curriculum that gets people to that kind of intimacy.  Why?  Because the point of the Bible study is to study the Bible; not to hold each other accountable to the sins “we’re self-deceived about.”

Finally, my point wasn’t to shame or guilt anyone into doing anything and I’m sorry if that’s how I came across.  And, yes, we’re to do things out of love, not guilt.  But we’re also to do things out of obedience, even when we don’t feel like (or love) doing it.  That’s why we need people in our lives who hold us accountable to the sins we’re self-deceived about.

The goal of my sermon was a simple call of obedience.  “Here’s what God’s Word says about being connected to one another in Hebrews 10:19-25.”  I hope that you’ll discuss the sermon, and how it should be applied in your life, with the Christ-followers you’re connected to.