Summary: Let’s provoke one another to do good works and not to bring a division.
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Pastor James May
PROVOKE THE BRETHREN
Hebrews 10:22-25, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Why do we come to church? For most people, their first answers are that we come together to worship Jesus and to hear his word ministered to us. These are two very good reasons but there is a third reason that I want to bring to you in this message.
We come together to provoke one another to continue in serving the Lord. At least that’s what we are supposed to do.
All too often I see Christians come together for another kind of provoking. We seem to love to take a free shot at our brother or sister in Christ because if we put down on them or make them lose face, then it somehow makes us look bigger and better, at least in our own eyes.
Now there is nothing wrong with having fun or enjoying one another’s company but no one likes criticism, even constructive criticism. If someone asks you how to you like the way they are dressed, or the way they have combed their hair, or the class they have taught, they really don’t want to know the truth, especially if the truth will hurt. They just want to hear the praise and agreement and to be accepted as they are.
If you don’t like the way I dress, who asked you? If you don’t like the way I preach, take it up with the Lord. If you don’t like the way our special singers or musicians sound, then pray for them and praise them, don’t criticize them.
Now I haven’t noticed much in the way of criticism in the past month or so, but for a while, criticism was the order of the day. There wasn’t a service that passed without a critical spirit raising its ugly head to bring a division. The criticism was meant to bring about an improvement but, instead, it nearly always drives a wedge of hurt feelings and will hinder the growth of the church.