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TPC - CD 12(N023) - Encourage One Another

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Hebrews series
Part 12 “Encourage One Another” By Pastor Jeff Wickwire

We finished the first half of Hebrews 10 with the exhortation to hold onto our conviction about Christ, hold onto our faith in Christ, and hold onto our confession of Christ firmly to the end.

Now in the second half of chapter 10 the writer shifts gears a bit and turns our attention to the body of Christ, our church family. He says:

10:24 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,”

The word “consider” means to think about, to seriously ponder something. It’s from the same Greek word Jesus uses in Luke 12:27...”Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

We’re to think about how our brothers and sisters are doing. Are they struggling? Are they under temptation? Are they down?

He says that, on having concluded how they’re doing, we should seek to “stir them up to love and to good works.” We’re

to prod one another to walk in love and to be involved in good works. Why? Because good works are what God uses to perfect our faith!

James wrote of Abraham, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (2:22)

That said, the Bible speaks abundantly about the call to every believer to be involved in good works. What is a good work?

• A good work is something a Christian does for the glory of God, out of love for God, in obedience to God, to produce the fruit of the Kingdom of God.

We don’t do good works to become a Christian, we do good works because we are a Christian.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that our good works glorify God: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Eph 2:10 states, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Titus 2:7 reads, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works.”

Titus 2:14 declares that Jesus redeemed us “to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

In Titus 3:8 Paul concludes his charge to Titus by saying, “I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have

believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.”

So as Christians we are to spur each other on to walk in love and to be involved always in good works!
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Next, the Apostle urges faithfulness to church:

10:25 “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The word “forsaken” means to leave something behind, or to abandon something. Jesus uses the exact same word on the Cross when He said, “My God, My God, why have you FORSAKEN Me?” (Matt. 27:46)

I can almost hear Him asking many people in our day the same question regarding church, “Why have you forsaken Me?” Because when a Christian stops attending church they have forsaken something the Lord is in. Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).

Time and space won’t allow for an exhaustive treatment of all the reasons we should remain faithful to a local fellowship. But you will note that right after the encouragement to stir up one another to walk in love and good works, the writer mentions the very place where this is done most—the local church gathering!

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Next, the writer will deal with one of the front-burner topics of the latter part of Hebrews—the subject of faith. But first he addresses the danger of rejecting Christ:

10:26-27 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

Now, with verses like this it’s important to remember that 3 key tools to accurate Bible interpretation are context, context,

and context—What came before the passage, what comes after the passage, what was the historical context of the passage.

The context here is the writer is once again addressing the Jews of his day who are considering whether or not to leave Judaism and come to Christ. So reading out of the LB, this is what he’s saying:

“If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior after knowing the truth of forgiveness, this sin is not covered by Christ’s death; there is no way to get rid of it. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible punishment of God’s awful anger, which will consume all his enemies.”

This is true of every human being on the planet! Whoever hears the good news of forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and does not take advantage of it will die in their sin to perish forever.

Jesus agrees. He said, “And all who trust him—God’s Son—to save them have eternal life; those who don’t believe and obey

him shall never see heaven, but the wrath of God remains upon them” (John 3:36 LB).

Paul the Apostle warned, “...when the Lord Jesus appears suddenly from heaven in flaming fire with his mighty angels...” he will bring “judgment on those who do not wish to know God

and who refuse to accept his plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of his power” (2 Thes 1:7-9).

These are very, very strong words! And this is what the Apostle is warning of in Hebrews: “If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior after knowing the truth of forgiveness, this sin is not covered by Christ’s death...”

Which, by the way, blows universalism out of the water. ONLY those who turn to Christ by faith are saved!
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Then once again, he takes his Jewish readers back to Moses’ day:

10:28-29 “A man who refused to obey the laws given by Moses was killed without mercy if there were two or three witnesses to his sin.”

That was bad, right? Sin got you killed in Moses’ time. But now the Apostle draws a parallel to Christ:

10:29 “Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled underfoot the Son of God and treated his cleansing blood as though it were common and

unhallowed, and insulted and outraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people.”

If people lost their lives in Moses’ time for refusing to obey God’s law, how much more serious it will be for those that reject the mercy and grace offered them through Christ’s shed blood!

Again, we’re reminded of chapter 2:3 of Hebrews where the apostle asks, “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” The answer? We won’t escape.

In verses 30 and 31 the writer looks at what it will be like to face God without Christ:

10:30-31 “For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay them’; who also said, ‘The Lord himself will handle these cases.’ 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’”

I can’t imagine a more fearful thing than to face God to answer for all my sins; to come before Him without Jesus’ blood having washed away my guilt—No one to stand with me...No place to turn...Unable to hide.

He’s already told us six chapters back in Hebrews 4:13, “He (God) knows about everyone, everywhere. Everything about us

is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God; nothing can be hidden from him to whom we must explain all that we have done.”
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Next, the Apostle reminds the Jews that had indeed come to Christ of all the troubles they’ve already endured, starting from the moment they were first saved. Listen carefully to his description of their trials and you might feel a bit better about what you are going through now:

10:32-36 “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:
33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains” (this allusion to chains is so Pauline, and is one of the little keys that makes me think he wrote Hebrews).

He goes on, “and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”

They had been mocked, made fun of, put on the spot publicly, been lumped in with Paul, and lost all their earthly possessions. So the apostle reasons with them: “You’ve been through so

much already. You’ve already paid a high price for your faith. Don’t let go now!”

That said, he exhorts them in verse 35:

10:35 “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

You’ve come this far but you’re starting to get a little bit shaky. So put on endurance. This is what you really need most right now!

The word “endurance” comes from a compound Greek word “hoop-om-on-ay'. Hoop-o is where we get the word “hypo” and it means under. For instance, the type of needle used to get a shot is called a hypodermic needle because it’s a needle that goes under our skin.

Then the second half of the word, “meno,” means “to remain, or stay.” So the two words together mean “to remain under” something. It’s talking about how God empowers the believer to "remain (endure) under" the sometimes heavy challenges He allows into our life. And to do it with a good attitude of faith and trust!

The Apostle is telling these Jewish believers, “You have need of endurance, the God-given ability to keep on going while under a load without fainting or quitting!”

As the chapter closes, the writer gives them a major incentive to stay with it:

10:37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.”

The Lord will return. One day you will see His face. It reminds me of the words of Paul to the Romans: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Keep your mind on the Lord’s return. Our brief stay on earth with all its troubles will soon be swallowed up by the glory that is coming!

The conclusion to chapter 10 is what leads into the next chapter 11, the incredible chapter on faith:

10:38-39 “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”