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Summary: We must understand our great obligation and mutual responsibility to care for each other and our Church community. May we spur one another on to love and good works!

THOMAS JEFFERSON WAS NOTED AS SAYING, “A CANDLE LOSES NOTHING WHEN IT LIGHTS ANOTHER CANDLE.” SHARING. MENTORSHIP. ENCOURAGEMENT. CARING. GIVING. SUPPORTING. LIKE A CANDLE LIGHTING ANOTHER CONDEL, THESE WORDS CAN USE TO DESCRIBE THE CHRISTIAN WHO CULTIVATES AND ENRICHES THE LIVES OF ANOTHER AND EMPOWERS THEIR LOCAL CHURCH.

THIS IS WHY 1 CORINTHIANS 13:7-8 BECOMES SO POWERFUL FOR US, “[LOVE] BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS. LOVE NEVER FAILS.”

THE PHRASE “ALL THINGS,” CAN MEAN “ALL-ENCOMPASSING” TO EMPHASIZE THAT LOVE COVERS “EVERYTHING” AND DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. LOVE IS NEVER REMOVED, WITHHELD, OR ADJUSTED TO FIT OUR EMOTIONS OR HOW WE FEEL AT THE TIME.

LOVE IS ALWAYS ACTIVE. LOVE WILL ALWAYS INVOLVE SOMEONE ELSE BECAUSE LOVE ISN’T INDEPENDENT. LOVE IS NOT SOMETHING WE KEEP TO OURSELVES. LOVE IS GIVEN AWAY FREELY AND GENEROUSLY. LOVE HAS BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE ABOUT EXPRESSING IT TOWARDS OTHERS AND WITHIN THE CHURCH BODY.

IT IS WHY WRITER OF HEBREWS CONCLUDED BY SAYING, “LOVE NEVER FAILS.” THE WORD USED HERE IS TRANSLATED “DOES NOT FALL DOWN,” “DOES NOT BECOME INVALID” OR “DOES NOT SUFFER RUIN.” IN OTHER WORDS: LOVE IS PERMANENT AND IT DOESN’T FALL APART OR COLLAPSE. LOVE, LOVES COMPLETELY, NO MATTER WHAT.

LOVING OTHERS, AT THIS LEVEL, IS WHAT TESTIFIES TO THE WORLD OF GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM. 1 JOHN 4:7, 11 “…LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER, BECAUSE LOVE IS OF GOD….IF GOD SO LOVED US, WE ALSO MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” BY NO MEANS IS THIS A MEAGER, STINGY, AND RESERVED EFFORT ON ANYONE’S PART. IT’S NOT SOMETHING WE CAN FEEL JUSTIFIED IN “TURNING OFF” IF WE JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

OUR SCRIPTURE TODAY IN HEBREWS 10:24 EMPOWERS US WITH A GREAT MEASURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY TO MAKE SURE WE ALL CONTINUALLY “LIVE OUT” THIS LOVE AT ALL TIMES. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO THIS. LET’S SEE WHY!

IN VERSE 24, IT SAYS TO “LET US CONSIDER” THIS CHANCE TO “SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON TO LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS.” THE WORD “CONSIDER” IS AN INTERESTING WORD. IT IS WRITTEN IN THE PRESENT-TENSE TO SIGNIFY AN ONGOING, UNENDING PROCESS TO “KEEP ON” WITH SPURRING EACH OTHER ON. THAT MEANS, WE DON’T STOP OR GIVE UP THIS PROCESS OF LOOKING OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER NOR DO WE QUIT THE PROCESS OF STAYING AWARE OF RECOGNIZING THE GIFTS, ABILITIES AND TALENTS OF OTHERS.

WHEN WE “CONSIDER” EACH OTHER, WE ARE SAYING WE ACCEPT OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENGAGE AND ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER. WE ALSO ACCEPT THAT IT IS OUR MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY TO LOOK AFTER ONE ANOTHER. IT MEANS WE NO LONGER HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY, “THAT’S THE PASTOR’S JOB, LET THEM DO IT.”

NOW THAT WE KNOW IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO “CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER,” WE MUST UNDERSTAND WHAT “IT” IS THAT WE ARE CONSIDERING FOR EACH OTHER! WE CONSIDER HOW TO SPUR EACH OTHER ON TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS.

THE WORD “SPUR” IS ANOTHER KEY WORD. THE WORD “SPUR” MEANS TO “INCITE,” “PROVOKE,” “IRRITATE” OR “PESTER.” THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE WORD “SPUR” IS NOT BEING USED HERE IN A NEGATIVE CONTEXT. SO, IT DOES NOT MEAN PESTER SOMEONE UNTIL THEY ARE IRRITATED, ANGRY OR FRUSTRATED.

WHAT IT IS SAYING, IS THAT WE RAISE OUR AWARENESS AND SENSE THE URGENCY TO SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE, AND CHEER ONE ANOTHER ON TO LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS…NOT JUST “ONCE” AND WE’RE OFF THE HOOK…BUT TWICE…THREE…FOUR….HOWEVER MANY TIMES IT TAKES TO MOTIVATE SOMEONE INTO ACTION. WE STAY ON THEM AND KEEP PURSUING THEM. WE NEVER LET THEM OUT OF OUR SIGHT. WE NEVER STOP. THERE ARE NO LIMITS. THERE ISN’T AN EXPIRATION DATE. IT IS A LIFE-LONG PROCESS.

WE CAN’T AFFORD TO DELAY OR DISENGAGE AND USE EXCUSES AS IF SHYNESS, AWKWARDNESS, OR DISCOMFORT IS OUR REASON FOR NOT SAYING ANYTHING. WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY IGNORING SOMEONE OR NOT CONNECTING IN SOME WAY.

WE MUST SURRENDER TO OUR OBLIGATION TO ALWAYS SHOW GENUINE CONCERN FOR ONE ANOTHER AND WITH THAT CONCERN, BECOME DILIGENT WITH BEING DELIBERATE OF OTHER’S NEEDS, CONCERNS, ABILITIES, GIFTS AND USEFULNESS. BOTTOM LINE: WE WILL ALWAYS BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER.

WHEN WE LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER, WE LOVE MORE. WHEN WE LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER, WE ARE INSPIRED TO DO MORE GOOD THINGS. WHEN WE LOVE MORE AND DO MORE GOOD THINGS, THEN THE WORLD BECOMES KEENLY AWARE OF GOD’S LOVE AND GRACE AND IS SOON AWAKENED BY THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS AND THEIR NEED OF REPENTANCE, REDEMPTION AND SALVATION.

THIS IS WHERE IT TIES INTO VERSE 25: AGAIN, ANOTHER WAY TO MOTIVATE AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND TO KEEP EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE IS NOT JUST FROM AN INDIVIDUAL EFFORT BUT EMPOWERED BY GATHERING TOGETHER AT THE GROUP LEVEL.

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12, “TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE A GOOD RETURN FOR THEIR LABOR: IF EITHER OF THEM FALLS DOWN, ONE CAN HELP THE OTHER UP. BUT PITY ANYONE WHO FALLS AND HAS NO ONE TO HELP THEM UP. ALSO, IF TWO LIE DOWN TOGETHER, THEY WILL KEEP WARM. BUT HOW CAN ONE KEEP WARM ALONE? THOUGH ONE MAY BE OVERPOWERED, TWO CAN DEFEND THEMSELVES. A CORD OF THREE STRANDS IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN.”

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