Hebrews 10 vs 25.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I have become a “fair weather fisherman” gone are the days when I would stand on the shore or at the side of a lake in all weathers. No more hard core for me, it’s supposed to be enjoyment not endurance. Many years ago when the kids were small we had a family holiday to Donegal and not having had the opportunity to fish I decided one evening that I would head for the coast not too far away and I took the youngsters with me. The sea however, was fairly rough yet despite my unease I put the tackle into the water. As it swept immediately on to the rocks I realised that if I fell in the kids would be helpless in such a remote spot and there would be no way out for me. One cast that was enough; we packed up and went home to safety. Even now when I think of that night a shiver goes down my spine.
I have the sense, perhaps without foundation, that the author as he writes suddenly realises that the challenges to faithfully living as disciples in an unbelieving world will increase not diminish and in a sense Christians need to “buckle up”. In that context the final “Let us... in this little section of Hebrews which deals with perseverance is yet another call to encourage one another as we meet together. It emphasises the importance of fellowship in the true sense, not talking about the weather or about sport with tea in hand after a service, but praying for one another, sharing insights into scripture and giving sanctified good advice to one another.
The importance of this should be evident in the way the author returns to the matter of encouragement. The times for these believers were difficult, the reasons to abandon their discipleship perhaps many but the last phrase “and all the more as you see the Day approaching” is much more than a throw away remark. It is at one and the same time a warning and a spur on to hang in there. A warning first that things will not get better for the church or for believers as the return of Jesus approaches but the choices will be more critical and the pressures from a disapproving world will increase. Some argue that we see that developing already, even in Britain. The thing though that ought to encourage the believer to persevere and not give up and not to abandon fellowship is the promise that Jesus will return in glory bringing his Kingdom in fullness. At the same time it is important to heed the reminder of one commentator that the return of Jesus will bring both salvation and judgement. “Even so Lord, quickly come!”