Hebrews 10:25 – What the World Is Unable to Tell You about Going to Church

In recent months you have heard me refer to Hebrew 10:25 quite regularly in sermons and Bible studies: “Do not neglect to meet together as is the habit of some.” Taken out of context, this seems to be referring to social gatherings. As biblically literate Christians, however, we need to read it in its entire context: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

While this portion of verses does not explicitly use the word Church, notice how many words and phrases are ecclesiastical in nature. “Sprinkled clean” and “bodies washed with pure water” are Baptismal language (v. 22). You cannot help but think of the Lord’s Supper, the new covenant, with the words “Blood of the covenant” (v. 29). The 10 Commandments are brought to mind with the words, “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy” (v. 28).

The word translated as “gathering together” in v. 25 is where we get the word “synagogue” from in English. In other words, the author of Hebrews is saying, “Do not neglect synagogue-ing together, as is the habit of some.” It is clear this “meeting together” is no mere social gathering, but instead the assembling of Christ’s Body around the Means of Grace – the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. When we neglect to meet together, we are “sinning deliberately” after having received “the knowledge of the truth” of God’s Word! When we do this “there no long remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:26). What this means is, when we willfully and unapologetically disobey God’s Word, the merits of Christ’s atoning sacrifice don’t personally benefit us, for we are choosing to live in unrepentance and apart from faith.

This Word is completely contrary to what you will hear from the world, the government, or the medical professionals. This should not surprise you. It’s not their vocation to care for your soul. It is the Church’s loving and joyful duty! It is my personal responsibility. The Church has the privilege to preach and teach God’s Word. The title of this month’s Newsletter article is a reminder that you shouldn’t be surprised when you hear something from the Church that completely conflicts with the world’s message. The world is evil and fallen! When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that God would “break and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our flesh” (Small Catechism). Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:19). Again, “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (Jn 17:14-16).

If you’re reading this, know that I love you. I mean that sincerely. If I didn’t love you, I would just write about unicorns and rainbows or some other thing that makes everyone feel good about themselves. Prayerfully consider why this Hebrews passage is always taught in the confines of the 3rd Commandment, which teaches us about the importance of the Word of God in our daily life, and the gathering of the Body of Christ at least one day a week to receive the very means of life and salvation that the world cannot give. I cannot prove to you things that only faith can believe. Instead I urge us all to: “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23).

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Sunday Services  8:00 AM & 10:30 AM, with Holy Communion
Wednesday Compline Service  7:00 PM

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LCMS-U at OSU Begins!!

Join us at OSU for LCMS-U weekly Vicar-led Bible Study! Wednesdays, 1:00-2:00 PM (Starting August 29th)

Meeting Location: Ohio Union Flag Room

Facebook Group is fb.com/groups/LCMSUOSU.

Wednesday Night Services and Bible Study

The First Wednesday (September 1), the Service, beginning at 7:00 PM, will be Divine Setting Three, with Holy Communion. On Wednesdays (Sept. 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th), the Service will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Services, in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office, these Wednesdays.