The Disciple’s Race: First Church of the Has Beens (Part 1)

Have you ever met the person who constant relives their “glory days”?

Maybe they were a star athlete in high school… Or the number-one salesperson in their company… Or any other achievement from their past.

The point is that this is someone who’s constantly looking in the rearview mirror of life.

In today’s Bible passage, Hebrews 10:32–35, we’re looking at an entire group of people I like to call: “The First Church of the Has Beens.”

They used to be something special... But somewhere along the line, they stopped living like disciples. Click To Tweet

The writer of the letter reminds them that, in the old days, the used to do things like this:

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.

Hebrews 10:32–33 ESV

He tells them to remember what happened after they “were enlightened,” meaning after they were saved.

They were publicly persecuted, suffered, and experienced trials. And when they weren’t being persecuted, they didn’t stay in their comfy, persecution-free cocoon!

They were “partners with those so treated,” and supported other believers being persecuted.

This was a church on the move. Dynamic, active, and undaunted by opposition to the Gospel.

Why did they do these things? What did their lives look like?

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.

Hebrews 10:34 ESV

First, why did they behave like this?

The writer reminds them of their compassion.

Do you know the roots of our English word “compassion”? It’s derived from Latin, and means “to suffer with…”

Compassion isn't simply a feeling of pity—it's the willingness to suffer with others! Click To Tweet

(What a challenge for us disciples today!)

Next, they even allowed their personal property to be stolen and destroyed. They did so because they believed they had a “better” and “abiding” possession…

They had an eternal reward that far outweighed anything they owned physically.

(Again, can we say this ourselves, or are we obsessed with our things?)

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

Hebrews 10:35 ESV

Whenever you see the word “therefore” in the Bible, it should perk up your ears.

This is because it means the author is making a point based on everything they’ve just said. So this word links two ideas that are tied together. You can’t understand one without connecting it to the other.

…so what happened to this church that looked so much like Jesus?

We’ll look at that in tomorrow’s devotion.

For today, reflect on these questions:

  • Have you lost fire and depth in your walk with Jesus? Do you feel as if you’re growing cold to him? Why is this and where did it start?
  • Is your life marked by true “compassion?” Are you willing to pray for and even suffer alongside of your persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ?
  • Have your physical belongings and personal comfort become idols?

If you’re struggling with any of these things—that I am certainly guilty of at times—the rest of this series is for you.

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