Friday, November 23, 2018

EmmDev 2018-11-23 [Encouragement] Encourage-MEET


We're not sure who the author of the NT letter to the Hebrews is... One of the likely options is a man named Apollos who was "a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures" (Acts 18:24)

In this section of his letter, the author is urging his readers to maintain some key practices. (This section is often called the "lettuce patch" because it has so many "let us" phrases in it!)

The first two of the five "let us" phrases have to do with personal faith - "Draw near to God" and "Hold on to the hope we profess".

But the remaining three "let us" phrases are about encouragement.

  1. Consider how we SPUR each other on to love and good deeds.
  2. Keep meeting together
  3. Encourage one another as we see the day of His return approaching

The first and third ones are the what, the middle one is the how...

What is encouragement?
Sometimes it is a spurring on - a push, a prod, a discomforting nudge - (I know I need a kick in the pants from time to time...)
Sometimes it is a tender cheering on. "Hang in there, the day is coming when pain, heartache, darkness and evil are no more."

Where, when and how does this happen?
When we meet together!
When we worship together at church.
When we join our home fellowship group.
When we have a meaningful talk with a fellow believer.
When we pray with a prayer partner.
When we bring our burdens to a trusted counsellor.
This is when encouragement happens and that's how it happens.

There is no real substitute. You need contact with another believer to be encouraged. The more real the encounter the more real the encouragement! (I can be encouraged by a book (It's written by a person), but so much more by a face to face...)

Sunday worship is a special moment - it combines worship with fellowship. It is very telling to me that discouragement tries to keep me away from Sunday worship.

You want encouragement?
Go to the encourage-meet.
(Who knows? Not only will you be encouraged, but you might encourage someone else!)

Therefore, sisters and brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let 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.      (Hebrews10:19-25)

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