Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Hebrews 10:22-25. let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.
God by His Holy Spirit is saying through the writer of the book of Hebrews for us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This was said as a commandment. Our Father knows what happens when we get out of fellowship with other believers. I know of many cases where people let the cares of this world come first and then they quit coming to Christian services , and the next thing you know they just slid away from God. This is not God's will for us. He wants better for His children. But in order for us to have better we have to follow His precepts, and one very important precept is not to forsake the assembling, or we might say the gathering of ourselves together. This is not just Sunday morning church service although this is certainly the beginning of fellowship, us coming together. I think I should make it clear that the church is not an organization or a building. The church is the body of Christ. Any time Christians gather we should have fellowship. Something happens when we fellowship. We share the very life of God. There is a sharing of Godís life when we come together. Fellowship is much more than coming together for a church service or function, although there is nothing wrong with that. True fellowship is God's life flowing from one believer to another.
Zoë, is the Greek word for the life of God, the life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself and has given to the incarnate Son to have within Himself. We are sharing Zoë. Sharing the very life of God with one another. Have you ever noticed that when you are gathered together you can feel that life, you get edified, and you have the opportunity to edify others. This is that intimate sharing of the very life of God. The Word of God tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Our Heavenly Father has very good reasons for this.
One dictionary definition says that the Greek Word for fellowship means to make alive, and to give life. We are to be givers and sharers of God's life. We are to be sharers of the very life of God. We are suppose to share this life with others. How are we to do this?
Firstly we canít if we are not coming together, can we? As Hebrews says; And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.
God would not tells us to do this if it were not His will. We can't stir up one another or exhort one another if we donít come together can we? This is a vital part of fellowship, exhorting one another and stirring up one another. You might think why is this so important. Because if we donít, we aren't doing what God is telling us to do. If we arenít doing what God is telling us to do, we aren't going to fulfill His will. We will lose out on a blessing, and others will lose out as well because of our disobedience.
Acts 2:46- 47. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people, and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
We see that the disciples were in one accord in the temple or as we would say today; in church, also they were sharing meals together in their own houses. It says with a glad heart. The result of their fellowship together was the Lord added to the church daily. I do not think this was a coincidence. Having fellowship allowed God's life to be shared, and gave the Holy Spirit an opportunity to move amongst the body, and the Lord added to the church daily.
Col:3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Here is another instance where we see that we are to admonish and teach one another with the Word of God, along with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We also see that the gifts of the Holy Spirit can come and should come into operation under these circumstances. We have to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to move in and through us.
If we donít, He wonít. He will never come in uninvited, only with our permission.
1Cor:14:26: 26. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
You will notice it says whenever we come together. Not if we come together. This is when we as believers come together, this is not talking about an evangelistic service, where you are there to share the Gospel to the lost, this is for believers only. The lost wouldnít understand some the things that go on in this type of service. This is for the edification of the body of Christ.
-- New Jerusalem with Apocrypha
Ephesians 4:16 by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.
We have a job to do within the body of Christ. We are suppose to build one another up first. How are we going to be effective in the kingdom of God if we are not first effective to one another. The answer to this is, we canít. We are each a part of the body of Christ, and each part is necessary for the whole of the body to work together properly. You might think, what can I do. Iím not a preacher. The Word doesnít say the preacher will build the body, it says every joint adding its own strength. In other words we each contribute to the building up of the body that we are a part of. We each have God given gifts and talents the Lord has given to us to be a blessing and to minister to the rest of the body of Christ. If one person doesnít do his or her job, that means that someone else will have to do that job for them, or it wonít get done. You donít have to be a Pastor or a teacher to edify the body. Get before the Lord and find your talents. Maybe it is in the choir, maybe you are good working with children, or maybe you are a great organizer. Whatever your part is, it is necessary for the body of Christ and for the whole body to function properly. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love. When we get to the point where we are all walking in the place God has given for us to walk in, then and only then will we see maturity within the whole body. The whole body grows together, and the whole body build itself up together in the love of God.
It is not supposed to be the work of just some select few. We all have a vital part to play in this process. It is also vital that we admonish and teach one another with the Word of God. The importance of this canít be minimized. If we aren't doing our job, who will?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
The whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. I canít tell somebody else what their function is within the body of Christ, only that it is so important not only for you individually but for the body as a whole to work together in fulfilling the call of God individually and collectively. We are in the last days. Jesus is coming soon, and He has called us to do a job together. One person can't do it alone. Our pastors can't and are not supposed to do it alone. They are there for leadership and guidance, but we are suppose to do the work of the ministry.
Ephesians 4:11-15 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ.
We see here there are 5 main offices within the body of Christ that help equip the saints. But read on and you will see that the reason they are there is to equip the saints so that the saints can do the work of the ministry. The New Revised Standard with Apocrypha says it like this -- Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
The 5 fold ministry is there to equip you to do the work of ministry, and this ministry is the building up of the body of Christ. This is contrary to what many people believe. People say that is what I pay my pastor to do. NO itís not. I said, NO IT IS NOT. We are in this together. We have to succeed together. Let's reach for the high calling in God.
Philippians 3: 14-16. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
In other words, let us walk in the things God has shown us to walk in and not be slack, and if we need direction God will reveal this to us. Amen
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.