NT Tuesday: Exhort [encourage] One Another
Last week I explained why I thought that the “one another” verses in the New Testament ought to be considered a New Testament principle. Simply put, principles should change our practice – it’s that simple. If we are going to adhere to New Testament principles, than our lives (not just our meetings, but our individual lives) ought to look much, much different than the world.
Last week we looked at “pray for one another” and “confess our sins to one another”. This week we will look at “exhort one another.” The verses are found in Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
A couple things are really interesting as you meditate on this verse. First, if we are going to exhort one another (or encourage, if you feel more comfortable with that word) every day (EVERY DAY!), that presupposes a close state of fellowship. How often do you go from Sunday to Wednesday and then Wednesday to Sunday never seeing or hearing from a member of the local Body? I hope the answer is NOT often. (Thankfully, and mostly because of my amazingly hospitable wife and the blessing of owning a business where I employ members of the local body, I NEVER go through a week without some form of fellowship with a member of the local body on a daily basis!) Now, one might ask “How does that happen?” And the answer is “Not by accident.” You have to plan on investing in the lives of the Lord’s people – through visitation, phone calls, text messages, emails, etc.
Secondly, we also see the necessity of this. Exhortation or encouragement from another believer is a spiritual vitamin! There is so much emphasis on taking care of our physical bodies that it seems that people are so busy juicing, training for races, dieting, fasting, etc. that they have no time for the Lord’s people! The Lord Jesus said to Peter “feed my sheep” and He wasn’t talking about organic grass, He was talking about feeding their spirit.
Ask yourself – today, have you spent more time ministering to your own physical body than you have to the Lord Jesus’s Body?
A person cannot encourage or exhort his fellow brothers and sisters without entering into close fellowship and without faithfully attending the meetings of the local assembly. Hebrews 10:24-25 provides a similar command as the one we are looking at in Hebrews 3.
We cannot live our lives in a bubble – we ought not to be isolated from a lost and dying world that needs to hear about God’s Gospel according to His Son, nor can we live separated from our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we are going to be obedient to the Word of God and truly encourage and exhort one another every day, then we must live purposefully, fixed on that goal, we must allow other Christians to exhort us, and stop blaming the elders for not doing the job – this proves that the New Testament principle of relating to one another is not an “elder” thing – it’s a believer thing.
Until next week – fulfill your ministry!
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