|Messages By Ovid Need|
We Need Each Other - Hebrews 10:23-25
From my experience around Churches, Labor day holiday is the worse of the year for church attendance. It seems that everyone goes everywhere one last time before the winter sets in. Therefore, we are printing this message out, and encouraging all who were not here to read it. Please do not proof-read this, because it will be obvious that it has not been proof-read. Just read it for the message contained herein.
I just want to share some simple things here with you. This passage tells us that we are to provoke one another. Now, I will have to admit that we do, only it is a provoking in the wrong way. We provoke one another to anger, envy and many other things, non of which can be identified to closely with love or good works.
This word provoke is only used twice in the NT. It means To call into action; to arouse; to excite and to stimulate to action. This gives us TWO motives for our godly action.
First and foremost, to glorify God.
Second is listed here as to provoke or motivate others to love and good works. To encourage others.
The first time it is used is in Acts 15:39. There it is in the negative sense of contention which caused separation between the Apostle Paul and Barnabas. But even this separation is used by God to further His kingdom. What ever the disagreement was, it provoked them to separate and go different directions.
The second time it is used is here in Hebrews 10:24 where we are encouraged to provoke each other unto love and to good works. Our actions are to urge and encourage others, both saved and unsaved, to love one another and to do good works.
The word for provoke is used in the OT in Det. 29:28 and Jer. 23:37. There it is used in the sense that the sins of the people moved the Lord to anger and action against their sin.
So we see that basically provoke means to do something which moves, stimulates or incites another to action. The action may be good or bad.
Our children may provoke us to action, maybe an action which they do not like.
We may provoke our boss to action. Maybe we do such a good job that he will take an action which we do like
The preaching of the word should provoke us to godly action.
A policeman sitting along side the road will provoke most of us to action.
A problem we have is that many times our action seems to be wasted so we quit or, as the Scriptures say, we grow weary in well doing.
Now, He. 10:23-25.
As we look at the context here we have chapter 11 following this chapter. 11 is called the FAITH CHAPTER with good reason. In it the author takes some of the better known people of Scriptures and tells how they obeyed God by faith, for which many were put to death. They remained faithful to the Christian faith in the face of every thing the world, flesh and devil could throw at them. Then chapter 12 reminds us of the witnesses which surround us.
Yes, they were Christians even in the OT. Jn. 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. This means that Abraham was a believer in Christ. He was a Christian, although believers were not yet called Christian.
But here in He 10, the author is building up to ch. 11. Here he is calling upon these people to draw near to God because their sins are forgiven and they have a great high priest, Jesus Christ the righteous. We are to draw near to God with full assurance that we have the blood of Christ to cover our sins, clear our conscience and purify our bodies, v. 22.
This gives us confidence in the presence of the Father that should not be shaken, confidence to claim His mercy and grace.
This gives us confidence that the Father knows us, that He cares for us, that He is with us in our circumstances. The OT saints did not have this full assurance before the Father through the finished work of Christ, but look at what they did because of their faith in the coming Redeemer.
Paul here has given us a spiritual reason to remain unshaken. We have full assurance that we are in the heavens with the Father.
Now he is going to give us a practical reason. A reason that applies to daily life.
As we have mentioned so many times, God does not identify faith with a feeling, although a feeling is good to have. All through the Scriptures, faith is identified as action. James said it best: Faith without works is dead, being alone. Abraham's faith was a faith that showed forth in action, as was all faith in the scriptures. Chapter 11 shows us some of the action which faith resulted in. Faith shows itself in action. (Maybe read chapter 11.)
Now, 10:23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. Continue doing what God wants you to do, no matter what comes your way. Don't let your faith be shaken. Don't let your godly activity be discouraged.
Then the example for us to follow is held up. for he is faithful that promised. Our example is the one who promised, the Father and Christ. The actions of both the Father and the Son speak only of faithfulness. In fact, Christ is called the faithful and true witness.
V. 23. 1 Cor. 10:31 gives us the primary reason for faithfulness, which is for the glory of God.
Here we are given another reason to be faithful in our actions as a Christian. We are to consider one another..
In every thing we do we not only should consider whether or not it will glorify God, but we should consider how it will affect the attitude of others toward the Father and the Son.
Will my actions influence them to be more godly. ("But, they have no desire at all to be godly!" Well, will my actions bring conviction upon their ungodly actions?)
Will my actions cause them to desire to be closer to the Father?
Will my actions influence them to be faithful to the Lord? Christ's faithful actions are used all through the NT to provoke us to godliness.
Now, what is our actions to provoke others toward? Unto love and to good works.
Does what I do encourage others to love God more?
To love their family more?
To love their fellow man more?
Do my words provoke strife or love?
Do my words bring peace to troubled waters, or do they stir up the waters?
Do my words and actions encourage others to good works? Notice it does not say to salvation, but to good works. This takes care of the objection that because others might not be getting saved through our action, we are failing.
Others are watching us at all times. Most of the time it is when we do not know they are watching. Even our most unguarded moments are being watched. All of our words and actions can be divided into two groups.
1. the group that urges or incites to sin.
2. the group that urges to love and good works.
Here he gives one practical application of this faith that is to provoke others.
Assembling together. There are two reasons given for this assembly,
1. for the sake of encouraging others to love and to good works,
2. for our own selves. We gain strength and encouragement from our uniting together.
1. Assembling.. Our faithfulness here in this area will show our neighbors our love and dedication to the Lord. And those who drive some distance, this shows even more love and dedication.
This will be an encouragement to the others in the church as they see us faithful. It will be an encouragement to weaker Christians to be faithful.
How many Christians have fallen away because they didn't see faithfulness in the lives of other Christians who they respected. And this is compounded. Someone else is watching that person who may be watching us.
Someone might say, "Well, I don't get much out of the Church services." But this is not the only reason for this public assembly although it is the major one. We encourage one another by being here. And the more of a physical sacrifice (although it should not be considered a sacrifice) it is to make the public assembly, the more encouragement it is to me as the pastor, to the one who sees you here, the one you are trying to witness to, and your family. Men, our faithfulness encouraged our wife and children to be faithful, not only now, but for their entire lifetime.
No doubt there are some here who are justly concerned about their families spiritual condition. It is the faithfulness in these areas that will provoke them to love and good works. And the more physical sacrifice that it is on our part, the more it will speak to them.
I would go as far as to say that there are more people than we can imagine who are encouraged to Christian faithfulness by your attendance here at the public assembly today, than will be by the message which is presented.
Jerry and Debbie Miller, although they are in KY this weekend, drive from New Market. It is 20 miles each way. When they faithfully make that trip it does several things. It speaks loudly to all their unsaved friends, co-workers and loved ones that their Christianity is real. It greatly encourages this pastor. And it encourages every one who sees them here. It provokes others to love and to good works, as the Spirit of God says to those watching, "If they can do that, then you can do this."
Some might say, "Well, I don't have a gift of speaking, therefore, I can't be an influence on the ones I am concerned about for the Lord." That is a lie of the devil. Mat. 5:16, tells us that our good works shine as a light.
The more pagan the culture and the more faithful the Christian is to Christ in that pagan culture, the louder their actions speak for Christ to the unsaved who know them and the more those actions encourage other Christians to live for God.
"Well, I just don't have much to offer to the Lord. I can't do anything."
Maybe we can't use words as we wish you could.
Maybe we don't know the Bible like we wish we did, or know we should, and as we feel would give us confidence to speak.
Maybe we are prohibited from doing all the things for the Lord that we would like to do.
But faithfulness in the things which you can do, starting with the public assembly, will preach a message loud and clear for all who know you in any way.
This goes for the hard times as well as the good. Again, the more personal sacrifice it takes to be faithful in the small things, the more encouragement it is to others and the more it will provoke them to love and good works.
Do you have a loved one, a family member, a friend, a co-worker that you are concerned about? The context here says that it is our faithfulness in the public assembly which will speak the loudest and clearest to them to provoke them to consider the Lord.
Now, quickly, let me give a few more things which will exhort or provoke or encourage others.
2. Our giving.
Money is the god of this world. When others see us giving and even sacrificing the god of this world to the Lord God, it may cause them to ridicule, but in their heart they know that we love God more than we love this world.
When God sees us sacrificing the god of this world to Him, we can be assured that He takes notice.
Faithfulness in giving will provoke God to bless us, and others to love and to good works. And this is something which everyone is required to do and can do.
3. Our time.
This would be extra time given in upkeep of the Church buildings, mowing the grass and things like that.
3. Our abilities.
We have some people in here that God has given some extremely unique abilities to. As we use those abilities for the Kingdom of God, we show that we realize they came as a gift from God, and we provoke others to the same.
4. Control of our words and attitudes.
Then the last part of this verse. and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
We are living in a day of unfaithfulness, hate and evil works. We are living in a pagan culture. As we see these things surround us, we are to be even more committed to these very practical aspects of our Christian faith.
The pagans will not understand why, but they will get the message.
The preaching from the pulpit is to exhort and provoke to love and to good works, but most people need something they can see. Just our faithfulness in the simple things of Christianity, things which all of us can do, has an effect upon others that we can not even imagine.
And the more sacrifice it takes on our part, the more those things exhort others and provoke them to love and to good works.
We are told to consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Do we? How has our practical, everyday Christian life effected others?
I need your encouragement, and the greatest encouragement any pastor can have is that his people be faithful in these small everyday things. This community and the community needs your encouragement. Your family needs encouragement. Other Christians here need your encouragement. Your co-workers and friends need your encouragement.
This world needs encouragement, and each one of us can be that encouragement, if by no other way than by being faithful in the small things which are obvious.
The more personal sacrifice that is made in these areas, the more encouragement you are to me, and to all of those who see you.
It encourages me in the ministry. It encourages others to also be faithful. We need one another.
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