God made us to connect with other people. Lasting life change, personal transformation and spiritual growth best occurs in the context of authentic, life-giving relationships.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews writes to a group of people who had been struggling for more than a decade. They’ve watched as members of their community have been arrested, jailed, imprisoned, had their personal property confiscated, and even been executed for their faith in Christ.
After 10 years of loss, pain, hurt, and seemingly unanswered prayers, some in this community are starting to lose hope. Some are ready to throw in the towel. They’re thinking about abandoning their faith in Christ and reverting back to Judaism.
They have it all rationalized: “Hey, I’ll still believe in God... I just won’t do the ‘Jesus’ thing anymore...”
So, for 10 chapters the writer of Hebrews describes some incredible doctrinal insights that he believes will build up the faith, hope and confidence of this weary group of believers.
He lays out why Jesus is so much BETTER than any other alternative, but he wants to make certain these insights become more than just words on page. He wants to make certain these guys put his words into action. So, towards the end of Chapter 10, the writer gets really practical. Check out Hebrews 10:21:22:
And since we have a great High Priest [that’s Jesus] who rules over God’s house, let us...
Underline those two words, LET US. That two word expression gets used no less than FIVE times in the next FOUR verses! It shows up no less than TWELVE times in the thirteen chapters of Hebrews.
It’s like the writer of Hebrews wants these guys to know, “You don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades of hanging on, standing strong, walking this stuff out, if you are NOT IN COMMUNITY! In a LIFE-GIVING RELATIONSHIP!”
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:21-22 NLT)
In other words, “Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, because of the blood of Jesus Christ, it is ancient history. You’ve been washed! You’ve been cleansed! Christ’s blood has made you clean...”
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:23-24 NLT)
The writer is basically saying, “Guys, I want you to hang on. I don’t want you to give out or give up. I don’t want you to WAVER...” The NIV says, “Let us hold unswervingly...”
We all know what it means to “waver,” right? We all know what it means to “swerve,” right?
These guys and gals are not only about to swerve or waver, if something doesn’t happen, they’re going over the ledge. So, the writer of Hebrews says, “Guys, I want you to HANG ON! I don’t want you to give out or give up... I don’t want you to WAVER. But you need more than sound theology to keep you from wavering, swerving and getting weary, you need some dynamic, courageous, compassionate, biblically grounded, Jesus-focused RELATIONSHIPS...” That’s why he keeps harping: “LET US, LET US, LET US…”
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
The writer of Hebrews understands that it’s really easy to lose hope, throw in the towel, cash in your faith, maybe even give up on life, if you’re doing life SOLO... If you’re not CONNECTED in deep level, life-giving, biblically grounded, Jesus-focused AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS...
If you just attend the morning worship experience... If you just show up whenever it’s convenient... If you don’t make worship and small group a priority, the writer of Hebrews knows it’s really easy to lose hope and give up!
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS VERY PERSONAL BUT IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE PRIVATE.
Andy Stanley said that and I agree! I’ve already said this, but that little phrase “LET US” gets mentioned at least 5 times in these four verses. The phrase gets mentioned a total of 12 times in thirteen chapters... (Heb 4:1, 11, 14, 16; 6:1, 10:22, 23, 24; 12:1, 28; 13:13, 15)
The writer is reminding us, “Your relationship with God is very PERSONAL, but it was never mean to be PRIVATE. It gets lived out in the context of authentic, life-giving community. He wants us to know that there is a connection between our faithfulness to God and the PEOPLE we allow into our lives. There’s a direct correlation between your relationship with God and your relationships with other people.
THERE’S A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. (Proverbs 13:20 MSG)
Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Show me a person who is growing in their faith and relationship with Jesus and I’ll show you somebody who is CONNECTED in right relationships with other believers – every single time.
On the other hand, show me someone who is stuck or regressing and I’ll show you someone who is either attempting to walk out their faith in isolation or they aren’t CONNECTED.
Here’s the point: You weren’t made to do life alone! There are no LONE RANGERS when it comes to living out your Christian faith! You’ve got to invite some other people in to do life with you.
Throughout the Bible, there’s a short two-word phrase that shows up at least 100 times in 94 verses the New Testament. It’s two words in English: “ONE ANOTHER”. It’s only one word in Greek, but it’s a phrase that gets used again and again to describe God’s heart and dream for RELATIONSHIPS:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10)
Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
Stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:13)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you (Romans 15:7)
Instruct one another (Romans 15:14)
Greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12)
Have equal concern for each other (1 Corinthians 12:25)
Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)
Carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Forgiving each other (Ephesians 4:32)
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual (Ephesians 5:19)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:2)
In humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
Do not lie to each other (Colossians 3:9)
Bear with each other (Colossians 3:13)
Teach [one another] (Colossians 3:16)
Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
Make your love increase and overflow for each other (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
Encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Pray for each other (James 5:16)