SERMON: A “LET US” WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
READING: HEBREWS 10:19-25
INTRO: After writing 13 chapters the author to the Hebrews says “I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of
exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.”Why would people who had a Bible background and now a Christ present and a heavenly future, need to be encouraged? Perhaps:
1. The past worked against their present:
a. They suffered from their tradition expedition.
b. If so, difficult to trust in the invisible(cf temple, rules)
2. Their parents were now their enemies cf Matt. 10:34-37
3. Their peers had pushed them out- Non Jew= nothing.
4. The pressure of persecution caused them to 2nd guess.
a. ILLUST: Wayne Taylor’s Day After
b. So Hebrews 3:12,13
To the Christians called “Hebrews” who were disappointed, disillusioned, and discouraged, the penman wrote, “Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works....” PP
I. OUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSIONS.”We have...”
A. Confidence To Enter God’s Chambers
1. Bob Barker would say “Come on down.”
2. God says “Come on up.”
3. The imagery is of the temple/tabernacle where a thick, dark veil separated God and people
4. Jesus’ death ended that.
B. A Great High Priest Over God’s House
1. Jesus great than Moses, Angels, Priests
2. Priest “visited” most holy place 1 time, since Jesus went in we are invited to “dwell” there.
II. NOW THAT WE CAN....”Let us...”
A. Draw Near To God
1. Intimacy, familiarity, blessings- 4:16; 7:25:11:6
2. Prepared people are welcome:
a. “True heart in full assurance of faith”
b. “Hearts sprinkled clean from evil conscience”
c. “Bodies washed with pure water”
B. Hold Fast The Confession Of Our Hope
1. They needed encouragement to hang on
2. ILLUST: Hope Found
C. Consider How To Stir One Another Up To Love
1. Active Consideration. “How can I help?”
a. Kind, helpful, thoughtful, tenderhearted
b. Hospitable, preferring one another.
2. Being present in all assemblies
a. You can’t find Sunday A.M. here!
b. How to “stir up” is answered in part...
(1) By Our Presence. Gathering together can help us. It is easier to influence up close. ILLUST: Otto Appleton.
(2) By Our Example. Opposite of neglecting is not engaging. We must show we care for each member. ILLUST: How Do You See It Now?
(3) By Our Words. The tongue has th power of life and death. ILLUST: Our Assignment.
Another point of interest in Heb.10:24 is that we must be creative in provoking one another. It is important to give thought to this as each person is different. What might motivate one person may not do so to another.
ILLUST: Hat and Elephant
ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS LESSON
HOPE FOUND The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city’s hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child’s name and room number and talked briefly with the child’s regular teacher. “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now,” th regular teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”
The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” When she left she felt she had not accomplished much. But the next day a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. “No, no,” said the nurse, “You don’t know what I mean.”We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as thought he’s decided to live.”
Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher came. Everything changed when he came to the simple realization expressed this way, “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy,
OTTO APPLETON He was nearly 90 years old when a 25 year man became the preacher at his church. Otto had been a lifelong member of that church. Now his crippling arthritis had bent him over to the point that to even lift his head was painful, and his walk was a mere shuffle. Otto’s hearing was almost completely gone and his eye sight was so poor he could not longer read.
Nevertheless, every Sunday, Otto made his way to church. After observing this for about a year, the young preacher asked Otto, “Why do you make the monumental effort each week to come to church even though you can’t see or hear what is going on and you sit in pain?” Otto smiled and said, “I come for the children. I want them to know how important it is.”
HOW DO YOU SEE IT NOW? Behavioural scientists have discovered that we usually see things we are prepared to see. This is centered in a network of nerve cells called Reticular Activating System or RAS. Everybody has the RAS. It works like this: Once something has been brought to our attention, and we have been prepared to see it, we’ll then see it virtually everywhere we go. Like after you decide to buy a new car. You make up your mind on the make and model and you settle on the colour. Now you see that car often- on T.V. in newspapers, and magazines. They’re everywhere. What has happened? They were always there, but the moment you were prepared to see them, the Reticular Activating System kicked in, and suddenly you saw them.
It happens in other areas of life also. We see what we are prepared to see. If we are looking for doom and gloom we can find it easily. If we are looking at the bright side, many positive things will be showing up. The question is, “How do you see it now?”
OUR ASSIGNMENT I like the story of the math teacher named Helen who gave her students an unusual assignment one day. The students were struggling to understand some math concepts so they became mean and short with one another. She instructed them to take out a blank piece of paper and write the name of each classmate and next to it write the nicest thing they could think of about that person. She collected all the lists and compiled them over the weekend. On Monday she gave the back to the students. Before long the entire class was smiling and comments were being made like, “Really? You think that about me?” “ I never knew I meant that much to anyone.” “I didn’t know others liked me so much.”
Several years later Helen learned that one of those students, named Mark, had died in Vietnam. She attended his funeral and then gathered afterwards with his friends and family. Mark’s parents approached the teacher and said, “We want to show you something.” With that, the dad opened his wallet and removed two worn pieces of paper that had been taped, folded and refolded many times. The papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things Mark’s classmates had said about him. Mark’s mother then said, “Thank you so much for doing that. As you can see, Mark treasured it.” Others took notice of the conversation , a former classmate named Chuck smiled and sheepishly said, “I still have my list too. Its in the top drawer of my desk at home.” Another student’s wife said, “John asked me to put his in our wedding album.” A former student named Marilyn, reached into her purse and took out a wallet and showed her worn list to the group assembled saying, “I carry mine with me all the time.”
THE HAT AND THE ELEPHANT (essence) man took child to circus. Funny clown wearing high hat bowed and it fell off. El. sat on it. Crowd shouted, gestured, Clown tried to kick el. off hat. Defeated, the clown sat down to eat peanuts, at which time the elephant, being interested in peanuts, stood up and ambled over to get some. We too have to be inventive to encourage others.