Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Importance of Exhortation

Temple Baptist Church - 9-19-2010

Hebrews 10:25


A. As Bible believers, we know what time it is prophetically. We live in the last of the last days (which began with the coming of Christ). Jesus may come today and what a day that will be. I could spend the morning looking at the signs of His coming but that is not the message.

B. The message is this: we live in times of great disappointment and discouragement. More and more of God’s people are becoming distant to the things of God.

1. Old folks are sitting down as if their job is done.

2. Young ones are choosing the ways of the world over the things of God.

3. Churches and pastors are trying to “adjust” their message and ministry to the needs of these brethren but this is not the answer. The message and ministry cannot be compromised to reach those who reject the “faith once delivered.”

C. Then, what is the answer? I believe that it is two-fold:

1. Continue to lovingly preach the uncompromised message of salvation, sanctification, and service. Only the Word of God can overcome the trend that is taking place. It must be with longsuffering, love, and purity of doctrine.

2. Exhorting one another! This command of God is far more important than we realize. I want to look at the word “exhorting” for a few minutes. It is a little understood word. I am not a Greek scholar and do not think that you need the Greek to understand the English Bible that you hold in your hand. With that disclaimer, I want to look at the simple use of the word “exhorting.”

D. “Exhorting” one another!

1. John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (The word “Comforter,” which is capitalized because of its direct reference to the Holy Ghost, means intercessor and consoler; advocate and comforter.

2. In Hebrews 10:25, the word “exhorting” means virtually the same as it comes from the same root word. It means to invite, invoke by imploration, exhortation, or consolation; to beseech, call for, comfort, desire, entreat, and to pray.

E. Here is the “bottom line:” We are to do the work of the Holy Spirit in intercession and exhortation. God’s people are often confused, hurting, and generally dysfunctional! They are

1. Bewitched by sin

2. Bombarded by the world

3. Bewildered by circumstances

4. Backstabbed by the brethren

5. Battered by the church

6. And, eventually, Bitter towards the things of God. Spiritual dropouts!

F. Satan has done his work well! And many times, with our help! We need the Lord, the church, and each other. Let us look at several ways we can exhort one another:

1. Exhortation In Our Prayer Closets - 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (This word means to make intercession! One of the greatest things that you can do for me is to love and pray for me. All I can say is pray, pray, and pray some more. I need your prayers and you need the practice.)

2. Exhortation In Our Love For One Another - 1 Peter 4:8-9 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging. (Love is a characteristic of discipleship. Love in spite of faults and failures; love with the love that the Lord loves you and I with; love with forgiveness and forbearance; love when hurt or maligned by others; love with the love that God placed in your hearts when you got saved. Fervent love: both without ceasing and increasing.)

3. Exhortation In Our Daily Interaction - Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (One of the major problems of our day is the lack of interaction of God’s people on a daily basis. We work, mix, and mingle with the world without seeing each other from Sunday to Wednesday and back you Sunday again. In Acts 2, they were with one another on a daily basis, from house to house and in breaking of bread. Spend time with God’s people.)

4. Exhortation In Our Verbal Communication - Proverbs 15:1-2 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (2) The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. (Most brethren who become offended become such because of what other brethren say. Sharp words; judgmental words; insensitive words; unnecessary words; cruel words are offensive words. Be careful “little tongue” how you speak! Keep your words sweet.)

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Admonishing means to caution or to reprove gently. Be gently and loving with the brethren. Keep their sin between them and the Lord, not between them and you.)

5. Exhortation In Our Faithfulness - Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Aha! You thought I had forgotten our text verse! This is not a negative thing but a positive, blessed thing. Come to church and worship together. Come to church and fellowship with one another. Don’t fuss and fume. Don’t criticize or judge one another. Just love one and exhort (come along side of) one another!)

6. Exhortation In Our Preaching – 2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (I did not forget us pastors, preachers, and evangelists either! Reproving and rebuking are an important part of preaching but, without longsuffering, they can become harsh and judgmental. I have been guilty at times of trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit when preparing and delivering messages. These believers are God’s heritage! Truth, preached in a wrong spirit, can do more harm than good because people will turn their ears away—not because of the message but because of the messenger!)

Conclusion: Exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching! Jesus may come today so hang in there. It will be worth it all when we see Christ. Then, our fellowship will be perfect in Him.

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