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Topic:Spur One Another On
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
How do you spur someone to love and good works? These two things are always the mark of true Christianity. Christians are never judged by the confessions they make, or the creed they recite; it is always by their deeds. How much practical love have you manifested? How far have you responded to the cry for help from someone near you, someone who is destitute or disappointed, who needs an encouraging word or a helping hand or a generous check? This is the ultimate test.
How do you achieve this? He suggests two ways: First, by not neglecting to meet together, that is very important: “Not giving up meeting together, but encouraging one another.” That suggests the character of the meetings. They are not to be discouraging meetings, they are to be encouraging meetings. They are to be meetings where you can hear again the tremendous, radical principles of Christian faith and to see again in human lives the mighty power of the One whom we worship and serve; and where you can understand how God works through human society, how he is transforming and changing men everywhere. To thus meet together is to encourage one another in these things. That is what Christian services ought to be like: To hear the Word of God so that it comes home with power to the heart, and to share with one another the results.
If our services were more like this, we would not have trouble in getting people to come. Too often church services are the kind pictured in the story of the father who was showing his son through a church building. They came to a plaque on the wall and the little boy asked, “Daddy, what’s that for?” His father said, “Oh, that’s a memorial to those who died in the service.” The little boy said, “Which service, Daddy, the morning service or the evening service?” But meetings of Christians are to be encouraging things, and this is one way we stir up one another to love and good works.
The second way is a watchful awareness of the time. “All the more as you see the Day approaching.” “The Day” is the certain return of Jesus Christ. As evil becomes more subtle, as it becomes more and more difficult to tell the difference between truth and error, good and bad, right and wrong; as the clamant voices of our age pour out deceitful lies, and we find the whole of society permeated and infiltrated with false concepts that deny the truth of the Word of God, we need all the more to gather together and encourage one another by sharing the secrets of life in Christ Jesus.
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Father, thank you for the opportunity to spur others on to love and good deeds. Help me to not neglect meeting together with other believers and paying attention to the fact that the Day is drawing near.
As the media delivers its often bewildering, increasingly threatening news, are we faithfully and fruitfully meeting with others of the family of God? Are we holding one another accountable as living expressions of the Word of Truth and Love?