Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently I had my annual routine doctor's visit. As is typical before I saw the doctor the nurse measured some parameters that are basic indicators of overall health – weight, temperature, and blood pressure. If there was a significant problem in one of those areas the doctor would know I had a problem.
Similarly as a pastor for many yearsI have said that I can get a picture of someone's spiritual health by looking at three things in their life – prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance. Although there are many other indicators, if there is an issue in one of these three areas then there is likely a significant spiritual problem(s) present.
Being restricted from assembling together for an indeterminate time it is appropriate for us to think about if we can accomplish the function of meeting together without actually meeting.
“. . . let us draw near to God . . .
. . . let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering . . .
. . . and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (selections from Hebrews 10:19-25 with emphasis added)”
The underlined words above are the commands: be saved, hold fast to the truth of salvation, and consider (think about) how to encourage others. Encouraging of others occurs in the presence of others which is typically in the form of our church services. However, if we have not considered how to encourage others, even though we are together, then we have not obeyed the command. On the other hand, even though we are not together, we can accomplish the function of command by considering how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Of course the assumption is that thinking about encouraging people results in doing the thing we have thought about.
The challenge to us is to strengthen our personal relationship with the Lord (draw near and hold fast) and accomplish the function of considering how we can help one another hold fast in faith - Let's do that.
It is my prayer that not being able to assemble together will result in us being even more obedient to the command than ever before.
Serving with joy,