This spiritual community can take at least two forms. (1) The foundational assembly is that of a local body of believers, meeting together regularly for fellowship around the Word and worship of God. The person who asserts that God can be known, worshiped, and followed “out in nature” apart from the church knows little of Scripture, church history, or true Christian experience. Thus, we are called to gather together regularly for encouragement and accountability. We must not forsake this aspect of the Christian life.

(2) The other form that Christian fellowship can take is that of spiritual friendships, friendships that transcend the boundaries of individual local churches. Most Christian gatherings of the first century were in house churches, which existed in a network reaching throughout a given city. Therefore, we may find meaningful fellowship with like-minded believers outside our immediate church group. Bible study fellowships, accountability groups, and times over coffee or tea should be encouraged as long as they are doctrinally sound and do not detract from one’s commitment to the local church. Such groups can be wonderfully enriching and supporting for the Christ-follower. These relationships can enhance our sense of community with the broader body of Christ as we seek to live each day in light of the great Day of Christ’s return.

Therefore, as I begin to seek to apply Hebrews 10:24–25, I might ask myself: “To whom in the body of Christ am I giving encouragement this day or this week by my presence, my actions, and my words? Am I receiving encouragement by remaining faithful to my association with the body of Christ?” Such reflection, when followed with action, serves as a foundation stone for healthy Christian living.

George Guthrie, Hebrews, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 353.

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