We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works, not absenting ourselves from the assembly, but encouraging one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The assembly. The Apostle has just gotten through explaining how the ancient sacrifices, offered in the Temple according to Moses’ prescriptions, do not effect definitive peace and reconciliation with God. Rather, these sacrifices were instituted solely to foreshadow the truly pleasing sacrifice, the offering of the one, true priest of Melchizedek’s heavenly order, namely…*
The holy assembly, from which we must not absent ourselves—this assembly convenes for one reason: to participate in the one offering that consecrates.
Moses designed the ancient Temple after the pattern of the vision of heaven which God granted him to see. Our assembly, the assembly to which St. Paul refers—this assembly convenes not in Jerusalem, Israel, but rather on the threshold of that original Jerusalem—Jerusalem, Heaven.
Now, some have the custom of absenting themselves from this assembly. We can’t very well blame God for that, and it would be un-Christian to judge others, so I think we have to blame ourselves.
Others absent themselves because I have not helped them to want to participate like should have. I have been overbearing when I should have been lighthearted. I have held my tongue out of fear when I should have spoken courageously out of love. I have secretly betrayed my own principles, and that betrayal has publicly shone forth in my lackluster, uninspiring behavior.
But it’s not too late! The great Judgment draws ever nearer, but we still have today. We still have today to get over ourselves and reach out with love. We still have today to trust God enough to risk everything for the sake of helping other people get to heaven.
The sacrifice around which we assemble: It will never fail. It is not just human; it is human and divine. The love with which the Son has always loved the Father and always will: that love, and nothing less, is our sacrifice. The divine love will not fail. Nothing is more solid. It holds up the very pillars of the earth.
So let’s rouse one another by confessing our sins and living out of this divine love. Only God knows what all will come of our efforts. But He has given us to know that nothing we do in the name of building up this assembly—none of it will be done in vain.
Other assemblies come and go. There will come a day when the Virginia General Assembly will cease to convene. And the U.S. Congress. The U.N. General Assembly. Even the international Star Trek Aficionados Convention will one day meet no more.
But our assembly will last forever. Nothing we do to build it up will be done in vain.
* The Lord Jesus Christ!!!