The Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation but in fellowship with other believers. For this reason, Hebrews 10:24–25 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 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.” If we hope to grow spiritually and endure for the long haul, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ for encouragement.
The writer of Hebrews observed that many of his readers who professed to be Christians were throwing away their trust in the Lord (Hebrews 10:35). Persecution and hardship may have led some to give up meeting together. The solution was to start meeting together again.
Regular, real-life, day-to-day fellowship with other Christians is an essential component of Christian growth and perseverance. If we, like the writer of Hebrews, live with the expectation that the day of Christ’s return is soon, we’ll grasp the importance of spurring one another on in our walk of faith. But if we give up meeting together, how can we expect to give support and receive encouragement?
The richness of community among first-century believers provides a worthy model for Christians today. These early believers were devoted to meeting daily in their homes for teaching, fellowship, worship, eating meals, sharing in the Lord’s Supper, and praying together (Acts 2:42). “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46).
Besides gathering in smaller home groups, the book of Acts confirms that the early believers came together for larger corporate meetings (Acts 2:44). Their commitment to one another was so profound that they pooled their resources and shared what they had with those in need (Acts 2:44–45).
A spirit of mutual consideration and cooperation permeated the early church: “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. . . . There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need” (Acts 4:32–35, NLT). Coming together to care for one another was the prevailing attitude among believers in these early gatherings (1 Peter 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:9).
Christians ought not to give up meeting together because we form one family—God’s family, or the “household of faith” (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15; Galatians 6:10). As members of God’s household, believers are to show love for one another, hospitality, tenderness, compassion, and humility (Hebrews 13:1–2: Philippians 2:1–3).
To the believers in Philippi, Paul stated, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, ESV). God calls Christians to look out for their brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not just for our own good, but for the strengthening and building up of the whole body of Christ that Scripture tells us, “Do not give up meeting together.”
God has given the members of His body spiritual gifts “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:1–11). These gifts are to be used for the edification of the church “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13). We can only reach our full potential as believers when we allow God to mature us through fellowship within His body, with Christ as the head (Ephesians 4:14–15).
Paul compared the church to the human body, explaining, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Corinthians 12:21). Every member of the body of Christ—God’s family—is essential and valuable. Through Christ, God puts believers together “like living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” with Jesus as the foundation stone (1 Peter 2:5–6).
Only through authentic relationships with other believers can we live out the faith we profess and become all that God has destined us to be—when we do not give up meeting together with other Christians.