Summary: As brothers and sisters in Christ we have a responsibility to lift each other during touch times
Hebrews 10: 24-25
In the summer of 1978 I enlisted in the United States army the first stop boot camp or basic training
The greatest emphasis was on physical endurance
We would have periodic PT tests I had problems with the monkey bars
I just couldn’t make it to the end
The only way to pass basic training was to pass the PT test I could not pass it
But on the day of the final test I mounted the bars I could see the end but I didn’t think I was going to make it
Just then I heard my drill sergeant saying come on Noel you can do it, you can make it, come on, come on, and I made it to the end and passed the test.
Life is like that especially in the Christian community, or it should be
The writer of Hebrews says come on lets be concerned about stirring/encouraging one another
(Literally provoke one another)
Make it a part of what you do regularly
We are created to comfort/encourage
Encouragement is a Christian duty
Consider II Cor 21-3
2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2Co 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
We are comforted to comfort each other
We are uniquely equipped to uniquely encourage others
How do we effectively encourage one another?
The problem is that most of do what I want to call generic encouragement
You can do it all you have to do is pray- I’ll check on you later
What that drill instructor did was He got in my face or ear and stayed until I finished successfully
Why don’t we encourage more?
1. It’s a lot of work
2. It takes time
3. We simple don’t care
What is the Purpose? V.24
To stir or encourage others to love and good deeds
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Joh 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
What is the method? V25a
We do it by creating a community of encouragers
1. Which begins with not neglecting to meet together
This is usually because of some selfish reason
R Kent Hughes says that are at least four reasons not to miss worship.
The first is “ecclesial ontology,” the special existence—the being or presence—of Christ in the gathered church. This is dramatically portrayed in the first chapter of Revelation as Christ, holding seven stars in his right hand, walks among the seven golden lampstands that are emblematic of the church (vv. 9–20). We meet Christ in a special way in corporate worship. It is true that a person does not have to go to church to be a Christian. He does not have to go home to be married either. But in both cases if he does not, he will have a very poor relationship.
Next, if you absent yourself from church, you will encumber your ability to glorify God in worship. Congregational worship makes possible an intensity of adoration that does not as readily occur in solitude. On the tragic level, a mob tends to descend to a much deeper level of cruelty than individuals. It is also understood that the appreciation and enjoyment of an informed group of music lovers at a symphony is more intense than that of a single listener at home. This holds true for worship as well. Corporate worship provides a context where passion is joyously elevated and God’s Word ministers with unique power.
Martin Luther spoke of this when he confided, “At home in my own house there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”
It is also true that giving up meeting with other believers hampers one’s theology and doctrinal understanding. Paul, in Ephesians 3:18, prays that the church in Ephesus “may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp… and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” Great theological truths are best learned corporately—“with all the saints” Theology is to be done by the assembled church.
Lastly, there is the matter of psychology—not in the sense of the study of the psyche, the soul—but rather its development. For example, the virtue of love enjoined by the second half of the Decalogue requires others for its development. One theoretically may be able to develop faith and hope while alone (though even this is questionable), but not love! Developing love is a communal activity of the church.