Summary: This sermon concludes the series on the "one another" passages. We can spur one another on by our presence, example and words.

A. I want to begin by sharing some actual excuse notes sent by parents. They were collected by the University of Texas and include the original spellings.

1. “My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.”

2. “Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,and also 33.

3. “Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.”

4. “Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.”

5. “Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.”

6. “Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.”

7. “Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.”

8. “Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.”

9. “Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was not his fault.”

B. Excuses, excuses, and excuses…we all have them, right?

1. We have excuses for why we missed school or work.

2. We have excuses for why we are late paying our bills.

3. We have excuses for why we got off our diet and exercise program.

4. We have excuses for why we haven’t been in touch with a friend.

C. We also have excuses regarding spiritual things.

1. We have excuses for why we have been missing worship or Bible classes.

2. We have excuses for why we don’t give more money or time or effort to the Lord.

3. We have excuses for why we can’t take on a responsibility like teaching a Bible class or visiting a shut in.

D. Most excuses aren’t very good ones, are they?

1. Ultimately, God doesn’t want to hear excuses, rather He wants to hear confessions and resolutions.

2. God wants to see genuine repentance and faithfulness.

3. And one of the things that God definitely doesn’t want to hear is excuses why we didn’t attempt to do something about those who are excusing themselves from active participation in our assemblies and ministries.

E. Okay, let’s have a quick show of hands…How many of you think it is important to be nice to people at church?

1. Okay…good. Now a follow-up question: How many of you think that being nice to people at church is the most important thing we should do?

2. Most of us know that being nice isn’t the most important thing, and yet we know it is important to be a very welcoming, loving, accommodating church family.

3. At the same time, we also realize that being a real Christian community is more than just giving people a comfortable place to worship.

4. We are called into an adventure of discipleship and a ministry that is demanding and requires our attention and effort, but also requires the encouragement and correction of others.

5. And so we find ourselves challenged by this tension of being nice and gentle, and being confrontational and insistent.

F. I want to draw your attention to the passage we read for the Scripture Reading.

1. It is from the New Testament letter called Hebrews.

2. In many respects, Hebrews is not a letter, but is actually a sermon.

3. The Hebrew preacher is using every means at his disposal to grab the attention of his first century hearers.

4. They were Jewish Christians who were facing persecution and were abandoning their commitments to Christ.

5. Hebrews was written to persuade them to come back to Christ, and stick with Christ.

6. The Hebrew writer tells them how to do that, and how to help each other do that.

G. And so we come to our passage for the day: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10:23-25)

1. Those are three power-packed verses – Amen?!!

2. In verse 23, the Hebrew writer starts with the challenge to hold on the hope we profess.

3. The reason we should hold on to our hope is because we are hoping in the God who is faithful.

4. Sometimes we put our hope in people who are very unreliable, and we are disappointed.

5. But God never disappoints, because God is altogether trustworthy and reliable.

6. We can count on Him, and therefore we should never give up our hope in Him.

H. Then in verse 24, the writer challenges us to figure out how to motivate each other to love and good works.

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