Summary: Encouragement in Jesus, from His Church, from His people.
Encourage One Another Heb. 10:24, 25
INTRO.: In our worship services, we hear a lot of bad news. Esp., in prayer requests. Nearly ever y week we hear of some disaster, sickness, or death that has touched the lives of our members and friends. Some churches even fear to allow public prayer requests because information may be given out that folk don’t want known. There may be a lawyer, insurance agent, creditor present who may seize on some prayer request as a source of information. I’m thankful we haven’t come to that.
These problems are shared so we can encourage one another. That’s a Biblical principle. God expects us to find encouragement among our fellow Christians.
The Book of Hebrews was written to first century Jewish Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. They were weary from the long haul. Many had fallen away. Those who remained were discouraged. This letter was written to help them realize what a great blessing they had in Jesus and how important faithfulness is. Let’s consider some encouraging ideas:
I. Encouragement from God comes through Jesus.
A. Through Jesus we have access to the Presence of God: Heb. 10:19, 20
1. The writer refers to the veil in the temple that separated men from the Ark of the Covenant, the visible symbol of God’s Presence. The veil that was torn when Jesus died.
2. Jesus took upon Himself a body so by His sacrifice of that body, He could open a way into God’s Presence for us. Heb. 10:5
3. All previous sacrifices did not please God. (5-8) He established a new will by which we are made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus’ body.
4. Now we can walk fearlessly into the very Presence of the King of the Universe.
B. In Jesus we have a great High Priest:
1. The purpose of the priest is to act as an intercessor between man and God. He is the One Who can build a bridge for us to God.
2. He can usher us into the very Presence of the Father. ILLUS.: We can direct a person to the White House, but very few of us have the authority to take him directly into the President’s office.
3. For this reason, we pray "in Jesus’ name." John 16:26
C. Jesus cleanses us from all sin:
1. Just as the High Priest sprinkled blood from bulls and goats on the altar and Ark, our hearts are figuratively sprinkled by the blood of Christ so our sins may be forgiven.
2. The sacrifices of the Old Testament didn’t really cleanse from sin, but the blood of Jesus does completely and eternally cleanse.
3. We know in Jesus, no matter what we may have done to cause us grief or whatever the earthly results of our actions may be, our sins are forgiven.
4. SUMMARY: We know in every circumstance, we can go without fear or guilt to our Father and He will receive us and meet our needs because of Jesus.
II. Encouragement in worship:
A. What is the meaning? Two words are used that are very picturesque.
1. "Spur one another on" in v. 24: to stimulate. "Spur" may seem cruel as we use the word today, but spurs are used to stimulate a horse to do his best.
2. "Encourage" in 25: Means to call someone to one’s side for support. The noun is a courtroom term for counselor. Used by John to refer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jn. 14:16 (Gr.: "Paraklete")
3. Also has the meaning to "exhort." i.e.: to "beseech" or "implore" one to do right.
B. We don’t always realize how much this happens in worship:
1. We come to praise God or, perhaps to have our own needs met. To be reassured of God’s care and Presence in our lives.
2. Others come for the same reason, and, hopefully, we will help meet one another’s needs.
3. We should be conscious of the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else every time we come together.
C. How do we do this? There are several obvious ways:
1. We make needs known and pray for one another.
2. We teach and admonish one another. Col. 3:16
3. We sing to one another, sharing our joy. We need songs of testimony as well as songs of praise.
III. Encouragement from other Christians:
A. Individual Christians are called upon to help encourage others,
1. "Consider:" Give close attention. Think actively of ways you might encourage others in the Lord’s work. Become aware of the needs of others.
2. "Spur" others on with an encouraging word or act.
3. We can stand beside them to offer support and strength. Remember, we are spurring them toward love and good deeds. Often a discouraged person only needs to help someone else or get involved in God’s work.