Heb 10:23-25 (NIV)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Many quote part of this passage to tell you that you must go to church. In the context we see a broader application and meaning of meeting together.
The writer goes from discussing the topic of Jesus as our high priest to encouraging the reader to stand firm in the midst of the persecutions that they were going through. This same encouragement is applicable to all believers in all times who face daily persecution.
"...hold unswervingly to the hope we profess...encourage one another..."
The author is saying we should meet regularly, for the sake of encouraging one another. Part of what we are encouraged here to do is consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. I think most of us know that the type of love mentioned here is what in Greek would be called agape (sacred love). The love that seeks the highest good for the one loved. A sacrificial love that causes one to give up their own needs to provide what is needed for the one loved.
The good deeds mentioned here I think needs to be addressed more. What kind of good deeds are we to encourage each other to do?
When I first became a Christian at age 15, I wanted to know what was required of me. I read the bible to find out what God required of me. I listened to my elders, pastor, teachers about what I should be doing as a Christian. From those early days I came up with a few things that Christians must always do;
1. Read the bible daily.
2. Pray daily.
3. Witness to someone about Jesus daily.
4. Attend Church every time the doors are open.
5. Pay a 10% tithe to the Church.
This is what I was taught from the pulpit and in the classrooms. As I have matured in the Lord and my understanding of the way and will of God, I have come up with some differences in my list of good works.
I base my list on Jesus teaching about what is most important. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was. The man who asked him was testing Jesus as to whether he was the true Messiah of God or not. Jesus answered his interrogator that, "the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and all of your strength."
Then he added, "the second commandment is sprung from the first, love your neighbor as yourself."
Out of our love for God springs forth the river of living water which is our love for our neighbor. Interesting that Jesus did not say, love your brother. Or, love your fellow Israeli or Jew. Neighbor has a broad application, extending to everyone in need that you meet. Jesus' example of who ones neighbor is, we call the Good Samaritan. From this we know that Jesus was saying that our neighbor is anyone in need of help.
Throughout the Bible God directs Israel to do good works towards three groups. The widows, orphans and homeless in the land. Jesus here is directing the good works to any one in need, any neighbor, even from a differing city.
These days I find my direction towards the homeless. In the past I was blessed to show my love for God by serving with my construction skills on a house for an orphanage. Now I look forward to being able to serve the homeless.
I have been sharing my situation and thoughts on the application of God's word with the hope of spurring you all on towards love and good deeds towards the homeless around you.