Are You and is your Church Spiritually Healthy?
"Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." -1 Tim 4:13 (KJV)
Exhortation, what in the world does this mean? Exhorting Biblically means to come close to each other, urging one another, coming alongside one another in the Lord. It means encouraging or edifying one another in the things of Christ, in the things of God. It means entreating (imploring or requesting) each other in the things of the Almighty Jehovah.
Unbelief in spiritual matters can bring disastrous things into your life notwithstanding an evil heart -Heb 3:12. That in itself can spell trouble and introduce terrible things in our lives. So we must follow scriptural wisdom to guard against this happening. So what in the world do we do to help one another in our Christian walk to combat sin's stealthy creep?
God put us together for a reason; we need each other regularly in this life. No person should be alone and/or without close friends. For with friends by our side we are edified. Now from a world's standpoint this is a fact and one that cannot be argued. Looking at this from a Biblical viewpoint it's even more important. The writer of Hebrews was writing to new converts to Christianity from Judaism. They needed help in their daily walk to maintain their new charted course in the ways of Christ. And one of these ways was to inform them that they needed to encourage one another in the Lord – in spiritual matters – to help one another guard against the deceitfulness of sin.
Wait a moment… What? Yes, Hebrews talks about being hardened in our spirit, in our heart by the deceitfulness of sin. It happened to the ancient Israelites who wandered and complained in the wilderness for 40 years. This is substantiated real truth but examine again what the writer said. He said that if we didn't exhort one another while it is "today" meaning the here and now, that we could be hardened against Christ by the lies and regularity of unchecked sin. Yikes! (Often times when you are reading and studying scripture you come across these gems of the Lord's wisdom that smacks you up side the head waking you up to reality.)
This is a heavy truth. It is saying that if we don't exhort one another we can be led away by sin. Let that sink in for a sec… Now, I can tell you that this type of exhortation does not mean getting hyped-up over an upcoming sporting event, party or something along those lines. However, this seems to be the reality in many of our circle of friends in and out of church. In fact, too often the ritual of church attendance manifests itself in just this way and leads us farther away from God than closer. Let me explain from just a church-going perspective.
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." -Heb 3:13 (KJV)
How many times do we attend church: come on in, sit right down, sing, bow our heads in a generalized pastoral prayer, pass the plate, hear a non-engaging sermon, hear another prayer and for some, wake up for it's over. Then, we gather normally in the lobby or thereabouts and plunge into the sweets: cookies, donuts, and coffee talking exclusively about last week's work events, today's game, what our kids are doing, where we might be going today, etc. The question is that none of this dribble of the world talk edifies us in Christ. We do not encourage one another in Christ and in spiritual matters by talking about this player or that player's abilities in this game or that. It's time to face the fact that once church is over, our attention shifts and Christ is almost forgotten or put back on the shelf. In fact, after 15 min of this kind of talk after church can you remember what was said in the service or what the sermon was about.
Folks, there's many people hurting for spiritual nourishment in the body of Christ – the church – and when we don't exhort or come along side our brethren in prayer and encouragement they can fall victim to the deceitfulness of sin. This is a fact for the word of God tells us so. So in reflection, think back to your church services and what was said and done after the last pulpit exclamation is echoed? Do you make it a point to pray with one another, quote edifying verses that may help the person you are talking to. Do you inquire about what the Lord is doing in their lives or do you focus on worldly things that really don't buildup that individual at all? From my perspective, since I've been in church all my life, and even more so today, praying and talking about the Lord inside as well as outside the church has become a lost "art". Am I wrong?
Just keep in mind that when you exhort one another you may help someone that's going through a very difficult time in a family matter or work situation. Your interest and your encouragement may be the key element that builds their faith in Christ and gets them through by you standing in the gap with and for them -John 13:35. This is so, so, so much more valuable than talking about the weather, work, stocks, money, cars, or any other worldly matter. Now move this topic into other areas of your life – are you exhorting people outside the church? How about at work? Do you joke around, talk only of secular matters or do you talk with your intimate friends about Jesus Christ, Bible Prophecy, His second coming, or prophetic world events happening now? Personally speaking I try and talk to as many people as I can about the Lord for the time to do this is "today" as our lives are like a vapor and we never know when our time will be up here on earth.
How about you? Do you esteem others more important than yourself? (Phil 2:3). Who will your exhort today?
-BPWatcher, Internet Preacher and Bible Prophecy Watchman
"Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of Glory. Selah." -Psa 24:10 (KJV)