Hebrews 10.26-39 – Remove, Remember, Remain

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? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.


What kind of people should we be?

Why should keep going to church (vv.19-25)?

What does being part of a body help us become?

We should be the kind of people for whom there will never come a time when we might give in to the temptation to declare that the whole thing was worthless (vv.26-31).

We should be the kind of people who refuse to remove ourselves from right relationship with God through a steadfast faith in the faithfulness of Jesus.

We should be the kind of people who remember what happened to us when we first gave our lives to Him (vv.32-38).

We should be the kind of people who remember the former days when after we were enlightened how we put up with and triumphed over everything that the world, the flesh, and the devil could throw at us.

We should be the kind of people who live by faith and do not shrink back (v.39).

Faith is what matters–God’s faithfulness to us, and our answering that with faith in Him.

We should be the kind of people who have faith in Jesus and preserve our souls, remain in Him.

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Is that you?

Take Me To Church

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.

Hebrews 10.24-25

Some may say, well, I go gather with Christians for breakfast once a month, or, I go to a home-group. Is that what we are talking about?

“The words, not neglecting to meet together, presumably refer to worship meetings…the Greek word suggests some official assembly.” (Guthrie)

We are talking, then, of the formal, organised, gathering and assembling of the church.

So, a home growth group is good, but not church, and not what we are talking about. It’s a supplement to your diet, not your diet.

Watching sermons from your favourite preacher on YouTube, is good, if they are biblically sound, but it’s not church. 

Reading devotionals is good, listening to podcasts is goo, but it is not church. 

None of those things are going to give you a hug when you are sad. 

None of those things are going to help you with your day-to-day life when you need practical help. 

None of those things are going to drive to your house when they hear you are having a tough time or have hurt yourself.

None of those things will rearrange their schedules or drop everything to do something for you.

None of those things I’m going to call you up and offer you a word of encouragement spontaneously because the Holy Spirit prompting them to do so.

Church does.

Church is a special thing, church is a unique thing, church is a holy and sacred thing that we must not neglect to be part of. 

We should want to be at everything with everyone all the time.

Practically, you will never be with everyone and at everything all the time…but is that your intention when you have a choice?

Given a choice, do you choose church, the living body of Christ?

Why do I need to go to church?

To fill our hearts with full assurance of faith.

To strengthen our hands to hold fast our confession.

To consider, to think deeply, how to stir one another up to love and good works.

23.007

N.T. Wright wrote that every Christian who comes through the door in the place of worship is a real encouragement to everyone else who is there. 

And for that reason we need to have the attitude of ‘take me to church’.

1 Timothy 3.8-13 – A Deacon in Character

Yesterday we said that the character of an Elder is something we should all be working towards displaying. Today, it’s the same with Deacons. How your church deploys the service of Deacons will most likely be different from the church down the road, and that’s ok, however the character of the people involved should not be too different.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

A Deacon is one who provides leadership through acts of practical service (Acts 6.1-6). Meeting particular needs, they lead through serving and exemplify the dedicated service of a believer to the Lord. Because they meet particular needs, their service within individual church bodies may look different. Maybe they aren’t as formally structured as the Elders, but will be there for sure, quietly working to make sure the church body is served.

Again, whether we all serve as Deacons or not is interesting. We are all called to serve the Lord and each other (Galatians 5.13, 1 Peter 4.10), therefore, you could make a case that we are all to be Deacons, meeting particular needs and ensuring that our church bodies are well maintained. There is no option in the Word for casually turning up to church, sitting, soaking it all in, and leaving. Everyone is contributing, everyone is part of the body (1 Corinthians 12.12, 14).

Maybe you don’t feel like serving the church practically is that important. Maybe you have refrained from volunteering your time and talents because you don’t think it will make much of a difference, it’s “only…“, but, look at v.13, those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. It’s good for the church that we all serve as Deacons, it’s good for ourselves that we all serve as Deacons, and it’s good for our faith that we all serve as Deacons.

As with Elders, there is a difference between being a Deacon in character and being asked to serve on a particular board or within a particular team. The character is something we are to all be working towards and displaying. The character is more important.

May we be a church full of Elders and Deacons!

1 Timothy 3.7 – An Elder in Character

We continue then with Paul’s letter to Timothy. Today Paul, the church planter, writes to Timothy, the church leader, with instructions on how this fledgling fellowship should be led and supported. Within the structure of the letter, within the who-is-writing-to-who-about-what we begin to see God’s model for church leadership.

Today in 1 Timothy 3.7, the character of the men needed to help Timothy lead spiritually. Does that mean that if you’re not appointed to serve as an Elder you should never focus on these character qualities? Absolutely not!

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

There will never be a church in the world where every single man who demonstrates these character qualities is actively serving as an Elder, because, in theory every man, and woman for that matter, should be working to display these qualities in their everyday life.


Being appointed to serve as an Elder should be seen as separate from simply being an Elder in character, something we all must do.


The character needed (an overseer MUST be…) is far more important than the actual structure within which these traits are deployed. It’s better to have a church full of Elder-like people than have only a handful, for sure. 

We see, then, that in this passage it all comes down to character, not gifting or ability.

We are all called to serve God (Hebrews 9.14), we are all uniquely gifted (1 Corinthians 12), but the character of a mature and maturing believer is something we should all aspire to regardless of age, gender, gifting, appointment, calling, or service. 

Today then, let us be believers who are outwardly demonstrating our growing maturity in the Lord by the character we display, let us all work towards being Elders in character.

1 Timothy 2.11-15 – What This Does and Doesn’t Mean

This is one of those passages in the Bible that people get so wrong. Detaching verses from context is not right and true handling of the Word of God (verse numbers were not added until around the 16th Century, and they certainly aren’t inspired). So, what does this passage mean?

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Maybe you have heard this passage taught to say that women should never speak in church, full stop. That’s wrong. Take that chit-chat outside Eve, only Steve can talk in church…

But, think of the context; the whole letter is instructing Timothy on how to run this church as the leader, chapter two is about, predominantly, prayer. So, can v.11 be detached from both of these things and used against women speaking at all in church? No, it cant.

Quietly and with all submissiveness carries our thoughts back to v.2 wherein we read that the church and the believers are to live a quiet and peaceful life, dignified and Godly in every way. Throw in the culture of the day where some say that women and men never worshipped together, but now they can, so the women may talk to her husband across the room and ask him questions as to what it going on, and we begin to see that learn quietly doesn’t mean that women can never speak in church. That would be inconsistent with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11.5.


The consistent and orthodox interpretation is that not permitting a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is referring to when the assembled church gathers together, it is a male’s job to deliver the Word of God in an expositional sermon, the message, the Word, or however you refer to that part of a worship service. 


Other than that particular point of the service, other than the overall ‘who is in charge on earth in this church’, we see throughout Scripture that women have an equally important role in the worship of God to that of their male counterparts. Ladies lead worship, ladies lead prayer ministries, ladies lead children and youth ministries, ladies lead home groups/small groups, simply, ladies lead in churches. Having the ultimate earthly authority in the structure of the church be male takes nothing away from the value and leadership contributions of women, as we said yesterday, different roles for different people. 

So, ladies, yes, pray in church, talk whilst you are at church. Teach a home group, lead a Bible study, serve in Kids Church, lead us in worship, read our Scripture, pray aloud.

But also, everyone, read the Bible in context, don’t detach single verses from a paragraph, or a chapter, or a book, or even a section of the Bible, and things make much more sense.

1 Timothy 2.8-10 – Hands and Hair

It stands as truth that men and women are different. Different appearance, generally different interests, different strengths, different weaknesses. Different, yet complementary. Different, yet equally loved. So, when we come to passages like this in the Bible where either gender are exhorted and instructed we must not think that this communicates value or worth, simply instructions that are right for the different people.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Today we see something for both men and women to do in the assembled church (the context of the letter, remember?).

Men are to lead the church in prayer. Men are not the only people in church that should pray, or pray publicly, but the men should lead the church in prayer. The fact that this should be done without quarrelling carries the meaning of praying without doubt, so, the men should steadfastly lead the church in prayer without doubting. Guys, do you do that in your church? Do you lead in prayer? Praying for the church would be a great start.

Ladies, as the men are covering themselves and the church in prayer, you should also pray, for sure. In addition to this covering, Paul writes that ladies should be adorned in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. Quite a lot for the ladies there, isn’t there. 

Essentially it comes down to this – dress modestly for the location you are in. You wouldn’t go to church in a Muslim majority country wearing your yoga pants and a vest, that would be inappropriate. You wouldn’t wear your most formal of dresses and hats to a church service on the beach. Simply, dress modestly and appropriately for the location you are in. 

Men are called here to lead the church in prayer, to cover themselves and the church in prayer.

Ladies here are called to cover themselves appropriately.

Different, but of equal value in the eyes of our Lord.

Above all these things, as an assembled and gathered church we are to put on love (Colossians 3.14), and we are to cover ourselves in Christ (Galatians 3.26-27).

His righteousness covers us, His blood covers us, and His love covers us.

1 Timothy 1.1-2 – Grace, mercy, and peace


In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy as a new church leader. Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1.1-2

Paul sets out his credentials and his authority (an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Saviour…). Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Timothy and the church are addressed with grace, with mercy, and with peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord

Churches need grace, mercy, and peace, for sure. Individuals need grace, mercy, and peace too. I read something interesting that mercy is added to Paul’s address only to Timothy and in Titus, the other letter written to a church-leading Pastor. Does that mean only church leaders need mercy? Absolutely not, we all do.

For you and me now, today, the church body we are a part of, both global and local expression is a place to find grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a place where we take our failures, shortcomings, anxieties, doubts, and questions and find them answered in Christ Jesus our Lord through His people. 

The church is also a place that needs your grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is full of broken people who need you to come alongside them and show them in the grace, mercy, and peace He offers. 

Why not take a moment and pray and see to whom you can minister today?