Encourage One Another

Steve Viars June 17, 2018 Hebrews 10:19-31
Outline

Matthew 16:18 - I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Mark 3:5 - He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Luke 19:5 - When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

Luke 19:7 - When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Luke 19:8-10 - Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Acts 20:32 - And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Ephesians 2:19-22 - So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

3 truths to encourage us…to encourage one another

I. Be Hopeful because of the Foundation of Our Encouragement – vv. 19-23

A. Confidence to draw near to God

v. 19 - Since we have confidence to enter the Holy place…

v. 20 - …by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us…

v. 22 - …let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…

B. On the basis of the finished work of Christ

v. 19 - …by the blood of Jesus…

v. 20 - …through the veil, that is His flesh…

C. Resulting in a marvelous position before the Lord

v. 22 - …our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

v. 23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…

Hebrews 10:1-4 - For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10:10-14 - By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

II. Be Purposeful because of the Nature of Our Encouragement – vv. 24-25

A. Stimulating one another to love and good deeds

B. Joyfully fellowshipping and worshipping together

Hebrews 10:25 - …not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some…

C. Accepting the privilege and responsibility of coming alongside others

Hebrews 10:25 - …not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…

III. Be Serious because of the Consequences of Our Encouragement – vv. 26-31

A. Sin will either be judged by the penalty paid by the Savior or the penalty paid by the person who rejects the Savior

Hebrews 10:26 - For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…

B. Ignoring the gospel is like trampling the Lord

Hebrews 10:29 - How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

C. The final result could not be more horrifying

Hebrews 10:31 - It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this – but the job I had while working my way through college and seminary was building in-ground swimming pools…

- I appreciate it when people around here say with a wisp of nostalgia in their voice – you know, we haven’t had a pool story in a while…

- well, I did that for 6 summers and for a variety of reasons decided that I never wanted to own one myself…primarily because of all the problems that could crop up…even if it had been expertly installed my a crew like ours…

- then when the Lord allowed us to adopt Andrew, we were looking for enjoyable activities we could do together as a family…so I decided to come out of retirement for one last pool job…

- by that time it had been over 20 years since I had done that kind of work…

- so I did some research and found out that the company we used to but the installation kits from was still in business on the far west side of Chicago…that’s where you bought the walls, and the filtration system, and the braces, the coping, and the liner…

- and there was a dealer here in town that sold that particular brand…so we decided to go for it…

‑ the challenge was – I wasn’t sure I would remember all the steps…

- I didn’t have my other crew members who were more experienced in certain aspects of the process…

- and I wasn’t sure how much the technology might have changed over that period of time…

- I also had a very limited window to complete the job because of my work and travel schedule…

- so I found myself feeling fairly nervous about the entire idea…which is pretty unusual for me…

- so we worked out an arrangement with the local pool store…

- he would sell me the kit because he had the franchise rights…but I would go pick it up in Chicago…he would never have to see or touch it…

- but I asked him if he would stop by once a day and check on us, answer any questions, and just look over what we were doing…

- that request turned out to be incredibly important…because I didn’t know this man before the job started…but I learned pretty quickly was that he was a master encourager…

- so he would stop by usually at the end of the day when we were tired and looking at the mountain of work that still had to be done…and he’d look things over, then come over to me and smile and say – “you can do this…”

- that was his consistent phrase every day he stopped by…”you can do this”…

- and while looking back…I paid quite a bit of money to be told that every day…the impact it had on my heart was worth every penny…

- when you’re nervous or unsure of yourself…or dealing with a mind filled with past mistakes you made when attempting the same thing before…there’s nothing like the power of a word of encouragement…

- and if that was true of me building a pool…it’s 100 times truer of you and me attempting to grow in our relationship with Christ…

- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible this am to Hebrews chapter 10…page 174 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- we’re having a great time this year focusing on Being Careful How We Build

- the church of Jesus Christ in many ways is a world-wide and eternal construction project…

- the Lord said as much when He promised in Matthew 16 -- Matthew 16:18 - I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

- if time allowed we could walk our way through the gospels this morning exclusively through that lens…

- and see example after example of our Lord meeting someone whose body, or whose life, or whose situation, or whose family was broken down…

- and He compassionately and miraculously intervened in some way that reversed the process…that built up what had been torn down…don’t you love a Savior like that?...

- can you imagine if you had been there and someone was present with a hand that was withered…and Jesus…Mark 3:5 - …He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

- that’s what a Master Builder does…

- or when a man of small stature climbs up in a tree to hear Jesus’s message and the Lord calls Him out and says…Luke 19:5 - When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

- and you may remember what happens next…Luke 19:7 - When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

- (which by the way is the same thing people like “them” did back in Mark 3 regarding the man with the withered hand…because Jesus didn’t choose to do that on just any day…He rebuilt that man’s hand on the Sabbath – and the so-called religious people were outraged – because they valued their legalism more than building something up that had been destroyed…)

- so there’s no question that Zacchaeus (this wee little man, as the children’s song goes) was a broken down sinner…the issue was – was there anyone willing and able to rebuild him?...

- and the answer is – Jesus was – even if He had to endure some venom being spit on him because he had the audacity to go to be the guest of a man who was a sinner (as if the men making the accusation weren’t)…

- and what happened next?... Luke 19:8–10 - Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

- like the hymn writer said – what a wonderful Savior…keeping His promise to build…

- and that has a dual effect…we can be built up ourselves…and we can participate in building others…

- so Paul would tell the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 - Acts 20:32 - And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

- that is so true that the church itself is actually referred to in Scripture…as a building -- Ephesians 2:19–22 - So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

- that’s why it’s so important to Be Careful how We Build…

- now, this summer, we’re focusing especially on the second half of the equation…of Building One Another…this is a delightful study of the “one-another’s in Scripture”…the way we can impact our brothers and sisters…even if parts of their stories have evidence of damage and destruction…

- so last week we started with the joyful privilege of loving one-another…

- this morning we want to think about the many, many ways we can come alongside one another and point to the next step in serving and living for God…and then confidently saying to that person – you can do it...you can do it…Encourage One Another

- it’s as simple as Paul’s words to the Thessalonians…1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

- let’s think about that in a more expanded fashion by reading from Hebrews 10 beginning at verse 19 [read Hebrews 10:19-31]…

- what an important and compelling passage of Scripture -- with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 truths to encourage us…to encourage one another.

I. Be Hopeful because of the Foundation of Our Encouragement – vv. 19-23.

- I realize you might say – I struggle with being an encourager…either because “caring about others doesn’t come naturally for me” or because some of the people in my life are in such a state of destruction that it’s hard to see beyond all of their failures and believe it could ever be any different…

- that may be why the writer of Hebrews nestled this command in an extended description of the power and beauty of the gospel…

- even if caring about others doesn’t come naturally for you – the gospel can change that about you…

- and even if others around you are failing in all sorts of ways – the gospel can change that about them…

- how so?...because we have…

A. Confidence to draw near to God

  • v. 19 - Since we have confidence to enter the Holy place
  • v. 20 – by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us
  • v. 22 – let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith

- I remember being at a dinner meeting with several couples from a large evangelical church…

- and like many so called “big box churches” – much of the emphasis was on coming to the big show on Sunday morning…and it was much like going to a concert…it’s dark in the auditorium and you’re going to hear and watch the start performers…

- but there wasn’t much body life throughout the rest of the week…

- and as a result – people were not changing…they were not being encouraged spiritually by one another throughout the week…

- so I was asked to help them think that model through – and in the course of the conversation on of the pastoral staff members wives made a fascinating comment – “people tire me out”…”they wear on me”…

- in other words – we have time, and energy, and bandwidth to have a big production on Sunday morning but there’s no time or interest to invest in people personally in a way that is going to result in genuine spiritual growth…

- whatever that is – it’s not a church…

- that kind of self-centered heart and life…needs to “enter the Holy place”…needs to draw near to the Lord with a full assurance of faith…

- why?...because the closer you are to the Lord…the more you will naturally and automatically care about the spiritual condition of the people around you…

- I remember someone telling me once – I don’t like people…as if that was funny…

- that’s not funny – and a person like that could not possibly have an impact in the church or community that is anywhere close to “encouraging one another and building one another…”

- it doesn’t reflect the heart of God…which comes from spending a lot of time in the Holy place…asking that His love for people would become your love for people…

- and the opportunities to do that are everywhere…

- I’ve had some fascinating travel situations recently like the trip down to the DR…

- our plane was delayed several hours going down which meant getting to the hotel several hours later than scheduled that night and still needing to be ready to teach the first thing the next morning…which is fine – at least we were in the correct city…

- but then coming back on Saturday in order to speak here on Sunday…

- we left the DR on time and arrived in Philadelphia a little early…so I had over 2 hours to get through customs and then catch my final plane to Indy…

- but the area around the terminals was like this giant parking lot jammed with planes facing every which direction…I’ve never seen anything quite like it…

- apparently they had had a bunch of weather delays so they just started putting plane wherever they could…and then trying to untangle that mess was no easy feat…airplanes don’t exactly turn on a dime…

- so we sat there for over 2 hours…and I obviously missed my flight to Indy which is a bit of a problem…because when you only work one day a week, they expect you to show up…

- well, then I had to go deal with the airline to try to figure out where I was going to stay and how I was going to eventually get home…

- I wish I had a picture of the poor guy at the airline counter…person after person just chewing on him as if he was the one responsible for the weather…

- and I’m not saying I do this perfectly…but this isn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation and I’ve learned over the years that maybe the most important ministry opportunity that weekend isn’t in a church service – maybe it’s at the airline counter with one person…

- a guy like that needs to be thanked for his work, and encouraged in some way…and we can’t fulfill the commands of verses 24-25 without the transformation power of the gospel described in verses 19-23 working in our own hearts and lives…

- the writer also describes this foundation of our encouragement as being…

B. On the basis of the finished work of Christ

- we can “enter the holy place”…

  • v. 19 – by the blood of Jesus
  • v. 20 – through the veil, that is His flesh

- what’s the relationship of that to encouragement?...

- let’s say that a parent is concerned about ways his or her children are displeasing to God…

- one of the ways parents can exasperate their kids is by focusing exclusively on the negative…as if that particular failure defines their entire existence…and constantly harping on that particular shortcoming…

- choosing to look at them through the power and the potential of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – makes it easier for us to encourage both from the perspective of what Jesus is doing in them now and also what He can do in and through them in the days ahead…

C. Resulting in a marvelous position before the Lord.

  • v. 22–…our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • v.           23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

- therefore we can -

- why was this information about the gospel given before the commands to encourage?...

- to remind us of how wonderful it is in the position – and to long to see others around us enjoy this privilege as well…

- so what does gospel centered encouragement look like practically?...

- please think about that in light of the overall purpose of the book of Hebrews and what has already been discussed in chapter 10…

- this letter was written primarily to Jewish men and women who had left the temple and either become genuine believers of Jesus Christ…or in some cases people who left for social reasons but had never truly accepted Christ as Lord and Savior…

- but the newness was wearing off…and the persecution was increasing…and some were even looking longingly back at the temple with its OT sacrificial system…

- and this book has a series of stern warnings about deserting the faith along with rich explanations about the superiority of the finished work of Christ…

- and if you glance over the earlier verses in this chapter – that’s what the writer had been doing…contrasting the two approaches…

- Hebrews 10:1–4 - For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

- those sacrifices could just roll the penalty forward…but contrast that to Christ…

- Hebrews 10:10–14 - By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.       Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

- that’s how and why we want to be encouraged, and how and why we want to encourage others…

- so take for example or Vision of Hope ministry for women or our Restoration ministry for men…

- both of them have extensive building projects going…

- Vision of Hope establishing a new store down at the Northend Community Center where they will be able to dramatically expand their ministry and outreach…

- and Restoration preparing to construct a new duplex and double the number of men we can serve along with finishing our kiln and our new commercial nursery…

- why are there so many people in our church involved in all of that…looking for opportunities to encourage others who may have been struggling with some sort of addiction to move forward in their relationship with Jesus Christ?...

- because it’s only through the finished work of Jesus Christ can the power and presence of sin be addressed…and life-change that is God-honoring be achieved…

- I was recently involved in a meeting with some county leaders who were lamenting the opioid crisis in our community and how we need to expand the jail and expand the juvenile detention center…especially because there are so many more women in the system in our community…

- and they were talking about tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money that is going to have to be spent…

- well, that may be well and good and we wish all of those involved in secular programming the very best…but here’s the bottom line – none of that can ever take away sins…

- which is why the individuals we were talking to were so discouraged and hopeless…when will this ever end?...

- the answer to that is – at the foot of the cross…and the entrance to the empty tomb…

- and we’re not going to beat on our chests about that – not everyone who comes through one of our programs is a raging success story…

- but by God’s grace and for His glory…there’s an awfully lot of success stories…

- the life changing gospel of the Master Builder – our Lord Jesus Christ – encourages us…to be encouragers…

II. Be Purposeful because of the Nature of Our Encouragement – vv. 24-25.

- because of the way this passage is structured, I realize we haven’t yet completely even defined our terms…

- but the writer now describes this privilege as:

A. Stimulating one another to love and good deeds.

- 10:24 - and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

- don’t you love that word – “stimulating” one another…

- a few of our members will probably do one of these Tough Mudder events this summer…

- I never tried one of those and I’ll tell you exactly why – the obstacle that concerns me the most is the one where you have to run through a cluster of bare electric wires not knowing which one is live and prepared to shock you…

- I’ve pretty much decided at this point in my illustrious athletic career that if I don’t enjoy it, I’m not going to do it…(I’m talking about sports in my down-time)…

- and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t enjoy being stimulated by a bunch of bare wires hitting my face…

-  but the original word here is paroxusmos – from which we derive the English word paroxysm – sudden agitation or stirring something up…

- that’s what the owner of the pool store was doing for me – stirring up confidence with simple words of truth and affirmation…

- he knew I could do it – but those abilities and experiences needed to be stirred up…

B. Joyfully fellowshipping and worshipping together

- Hebrews 10:25 - not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some…

- one of the reasons we ought to want to be in the Lord’s house is for the opportunity to encourage another person in the things of God…

- that should be one of our regular prayer requests on Sunday morning – Lord, help me encourage someone today…

- help me to build someone up…

- I would also encourage you teach your children to do this as well…to walk into their Sunday School class looking for someone new, or for someone who might be scared or lonely…and encourage that person…

C. Accepting the privilege and responsibility of coming alongside others

- Hebrews 10:25 - not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

- the word encourage is this text and many others is parakalountes – from parakalew…

- it’s a compound word – para which means alongside, and kalew which means to speak or call…

- so in encouragement, we are choosing to come alongside another person and speak God’s Word into their heart and life…

-  part of the beauty of this is that the same word is often used as a name for the Holy Spirit of God…

- He’s our paraklete – the theologians say…our comforter…

- why is this so important?...

1. Because we live in an incredibly negative world…

- turn on many of the cable news shows and it seems to be all about tearing the other guy down…

- and you can pick your brand of politics or issues but the approach seems to be the same on all sides many times…

- just tear down…

- and we all fall into that trap…do we not?...

- it’s easier to complain…and easier to find fault…and easier to criticize and cut off…then it is to encourage…

- I’m quite certain that is true of me far more often than would please the Lord…

- well, how does that affect every person who will walk in our services today?...

- you can start feeling beaten down in the world in which we live…

- you ridiculed…you’re put down…it’s easy to feel like quitting…

- but then to come into the Lord’s house and hear a word of encouragement…

- It’s great to see the way the Lord is working in your life…

- It’s so exciting to see where your faith journey is going to lead you…

- Maybe you messed up once this week, but that’s a lot better than messing up every day as was the case just a few months ago…”you can do this”…

2. We can also do a pretty good job of tearing ourselves down…

- perfectionism and comparing ourselves to others can be exhausting…

- coupled with a struggle with our flesh that can be discouraging and disheartening…

- there’s nothing quite like a word of encouragement…

- and the people of God should be known for that…

- the gospel calls us to, and motivates us to that kind of life…

- are you evaluating yourself in this particular area?...

- how would you rate yourself on the matter of being a biblical encourager?...

- is that the impact you have in your home?...

- is that the impact you have at work?…with your extended family?...in your neighborhood?...at our church?...

- what would need to change for it to be more clearly said of you that you -- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build up one another

- what about this warning at the end?...it couldn’t get much stronger…perhaps we could say it like this…

III. Be Serious because of the Consequences of Our Encouragement – vv. 26-31.

- what happens to people who reject the encouragement of the people of God?

A. Sin will either be judged by the penalty paid by the Savior or the penalty paid by the person who rejects the Savior.

- Hebrews 10:26 - For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

B. Ignoring the gospel is like trampling the Lord.

- Hebrews 10:29 - How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

- the terminology could not be stronger…

C. The final result could not be more horrifying.

- Hebrews 10:31 - It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

- that is – if you fall into His hands…unprepared…

- that’s what so terrible about individuals cavalierly saying – well, people tire me out…or I don’t like people…

- God deliver us from that kind of apathy or insensitivity…

- what individuals choose to do with the gospel is between them and the Lord…

- whether we choose to believe it and live it and passionately encourage others to do the same…that’s between us and the Lord…

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video