How well do you know others in the Church? We should get to know our brothers and sisters in Christ and work together to help each other to grow in good works and godly love.
These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.
As we get started, bear with me and help me out with something. Look around, and write down a couple of names of those who are sitting next to you. It can’t be a relative. Jot their names down. How well do you know those names? Could you list 3 or 4 things about them? Not just their name. Maybe something that is not readily known. Perhaps a fond childhood memory. Some struggle in their personal life at work. Or some positive or negative event that shaped them. Perhaps it is the religion they grew up with. Some achievement. Something that makes them tick. Not “married, two kids, likes to play cards, works at a factory.” Specific things. How well do you know these people? Recently got a pay raise at work. Got a new job. Sometimes is lonely. Recently lost their job. Recently made a major life decision. Recently was healed. Recently feared for their life. Rides a motorcycle. Afraid marriage would ruin a friendship. Don’t go asking everyone if they are the one. 60% of the laws in the first five books of the Bible are family related. God is a family. Some of His family is here. Before Church, we added another member. God wants us to treat each other like family. How well do you know the members of God’s family?
Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×It seems kind of a simple statement. Let’s break this verse down and see what it tells us. “Let us consider”. This has to be something we want to do. We can’t be forced to do it. We have to desire to get to know our family. Our spiritual family. We can’t come up and put your arm behind your back. We can’t force it. It must be a conscious decision to do it. Thayer’s dictionary says it means to fix one’s eyes or mind upon. G2657 κατανοέω katanoeō kat-an-o-eh'-o From G2596 and G3539; to observe fully: - behold, consider, discover, perceive. Thayer Definition: 1) to perceive, remark, observe, understand 2) to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G2596 and G3539 Citing in TDNT: 4:973, 636 Let us consider. “One another.” This is mutual. This is let me consider you, or you consider me. It is a two way street. We must not be friendly only to our friends. Christ wasn’t like that. There is the empirical self. This is my family and friends. I don’t dare venture out of that. We have to get out of that mode. “Provoke unto.” Provoke means to sharpen alongside. G3948 παροξυσμός paroxusmos par-ox-oos-mos' From G3947 (“paroxysm”); incitement (to good), or dispute (in anger): - contention, provoke unto.
Thayer Definition: 1) an inciting, incitement 2) irritation Part of Speech: noun masculine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3947 (“paroxysm”) Citing in TDNT: 5:857, 791 This is not “be you warmed and filled”. This is not the hope you are doing great, see you next time. This single Greek word is only used one other time. That is in Acts 15. Acts 15:39 Acts 15:39And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus;
American King James Version×– It is translated “contention” in the context of the dispute between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. What are we to sharpen? “To stir up love”. This isn’t romantic love; this is Godly love. Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:  Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?  When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?  Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you?  And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.  Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×–Read the last section of Matthew 25. This is the love it is talking about. That outgoing concern. That godly love. “And good works.” Action. Doing a good deed. James 2:17 James 2:17Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.
American King James Version×Action is needed in our spiritual life. We can’t just sit back and smell the roses. This scripture is profound. I believe it is worthy of meditation next week. This is practical Christianity 101. We must do this as people who have committed ourselves to God. In this context, I want to challenge each of us to consider one person. Maybe it a name you wrote down. The background to this verse is interesting. In 64 AD, Rome was nearly burned to the ground. Nero blamed the Jews for burning the city. About 66 AD, the Jews revolted. They attacked in Galilee. Jerusalem fell to Titus in 70 AD. The population was about 1 million people at the time. Most died. These individuals that were addressed in this book were living in a difficult time. They lived in Palestine. The situation was very dire. They were persecuted by the Romans and from other Jews. They fled to Pella. They didn’t know what their fate would be. Some believed that they should just slip away and fade into the background. It is believed that Paul wrote Romans. Regardless, the writer is trying to encourage the members.
Hebrews 10:19 Hebrews 10:19Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
American King James Version×Be bold. In spite of your feelings. Thanks to the sacrifice of Christ, we can go directly before God and talk to Him like a son to a dad. Hebrews 10:23 Hebrews 10:23Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
American King James Version×Their world had just been turned upside down. Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×(NIV) I like the use of some of those words. You take a spur and put a spur to someone, it kinds of makes them get up and go. Imagine horses or cattle. If you spur them, you encourage them to move. It is a good action word. Let us consider how we may spur one another to good works. If you say you heard on the grapevine you were having a horrible problem and say, “I’ll be praying for you!” It is just nice words. We are to spur to righteousness. How are you doing? Oh that is nice to know; gotta go! Expect a five minute conversation at a minimum. Take the time to talk to someone. Don’t set up a contest with your spouse before you arrive: Bet I can talk to 20 people in 10 minutes. That is what the writer is encouraging us to do. Consider others. Spur each other toward godly actions. Come a little early to Church. Stay a little late. Get to know people. We are not asking for best friends here. Situations differ. Some have kids; some don’t. But we must get to know each other. How can we spur each other if we don’t know each other? It is hard if we slip in at the last minute and slip out at the end. It is also possible that we are serving too much; we have to pass off some of the responsibilities to someone else. We must be able to go to God and say that person is having a really hard time. We need to focus on our members here. If every congregation takes care of their own congregation, nobody is left out. Should we not pray for people in other congregations? Absolutely not. We get prayer requests. We should pray for the Church administration. There are beautiful members that live in international areas. We have dedicated ministers that go there. Christ expects the Church to spur each other to good works.
Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version×“Exhort” means to encourage to do what is right. We should encourage others to do what is right. Do you think the end time is soon? Is the return of Christ soon? As we see the day approaching, we should do this more and more. We should have a positive impact on others. Do I think before I act? What impact will my words have on this person? Will it exhort? Will it encourage them to do what is right? Are we people who inspire other people? Maybe a name on your list inspires people. Maybe they make you want to pray and study more. We should be at Church every week. This is where fellowship occurs. Calls and visits throughout the week are important; they are supplements. But this is where it happens. Don’t stay home because it has been a rough week. Come here and consider one another. It is not just about pleasantries. It is not just surface level conversations. How deep are our conversations? Do we talk about what we have been meditating about the last week? Do we discuss some spiritual roadblock we are struggling with? Are they conversations that spur each other on to do the right things? Are we asking about others and encouraging them in their struggles? I want to encourage everyone to talk about godly things on the Sabbath. How did you come into the Church? What is your baptism story? We are to put away our thoughts on the Sabbath and focus on Him. Sometimes it is viewed as a man’s thing. The ladies want to talk about lady talk. This is not just for the men. Talk about how to spur each other on. Talk about things you are meditating on and studying. Talk about how things may work.
The Bible says we should do this; how should it be implemented? How do you teach your child at home? Have some conversations. This is a prod. A swift kick in the pants to get to know each other. This is not the living room church of God. God commands us to assemble. That can be fun. That can be exciting. Turn to 1 Corinthians 10. The Night to Be Observed is coming. It pictures Israel coming out of Egypt. Do you find conversations difficult on that night? Do you struggle to avoid work related topics? Maybe you can make flash cards and put them in the middle of the table. When the conversation wanders, grab a card. What would it have been like to be a participant in that plague? We have trials. We have burdens. It is easy to get discouraged and lose our focus. It is easy to get bogged down. To get into that inward, self focused mentality. We need to give support to each other. We need to have responsibility for each other. We think we are responsible for ourselves and the wife, but this says it is for all of us. 1 Corinthians 10:24 1 Corinthians 10:24Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
American King James Version×This doesn’t mean we meddle in other’s business.
Mr. Dowd said I have to get to know you; show me your financial statements. But we are to have outward concern for each other’s welfare. To offer assistance when it is needed. To have someone come and say that what we talked about last week really helped me get through the week. Those are the conversations we should have. I want you to try something the next time you are having a bad week. I would like you to do something for somebody else during that time. It seems simple. We all get depressed at times. But instead of going home and drinking your troubles away, write a card. Call someone. The results will surprise you. When you take that mindset and turn it on its end, and spin it around 180 degrees and think about someone else, it is astounding. Right spiritual fellowship consists of right conversations with each other. They are not full of gossip or carrying rumors. You can’t get to know someone through the grapevine. Did you hear what Sally told me? That kind of negative fellowship is destructive to us and our family. When was the last time you received a compliment? When was the last time you gave one? Some think that they have to be very careful with compliments, because they might get vain. That means you think you are responsible to keep everyone humble. Proverbs 20:19 Proverbs 20:19He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flatters with his lips.
American King James Version×It is important not to flatter. “Flatter” means to deceive. To make one gullible. To entice. H6601 פּתה pâthâh paw-thaw' A primitive root; to open, that is, be (causatively make) roomy; usually figuratively (in a mental or moral sense) to be (causatively make) simple or (in a sinister way) delude: - allure, deceive, enlarge, entice, flatter, persuade, silly (one).
Our conversations should not be used to entice someone. We should not say kind words to get something back. We shouldn’t say, “Great tie” in hopes they will say it back. A thought: I think a lot of people in the church would be in a better mood if we offered more compliments. Moral would improve if they received more words of appreciation. Mark Twain said he could live for two months on a good compliment. How long will a compliment carry you? In this context, we need to be careful. We should not be more motivated to criticize than to compliment. Skim some of Paul’s epistles. Notice how many times he compliments that group. He repeatedly compliments them. I think that is quite remarkable considering who he was. How many positive comments do you think he made prior to conversion? He was bent on imprisoning these people. All that was spun around. In many cases, he goes on to correct them. But he starts off complimenting them and telling them how great they are doing in certain areas. There is something else in society we must be very careful with. Proverbs 26:18-19 Proverbs 26:18-19  As a mad man who casts firebrands, arrows, and death,
 So is the man that deceives his neighbor, and said, Am not I in sport?
American King James Version×I think this is a neat scripture on bad sarcasm. Oh, I was just kidding; I really like your food. Someone who throws arrows is bad. Vs. 18 and vs. 19 are connected. One is just as bad as the other. Fascinating. Sometimes we are not careful with our words.
Sometimes I joke with my kids. They say, “May I have a cookie?” I say, “Sure.” As they reach for it, I say, “Oh, no, not that one.” On the receiving side of compliments, we must be careful not to throw up our guards. What are you after? Are you trying to flatter me? The receiver doesn’t need to say much more than, “Thank you.” Compliments can be very powerful if they are sincere and brought about to spur each other. The praise of God is a lot more important than the praise of man. Anything that goes well with us, the credit should go to God. Thanks for that meal. Oh, God has blessed us so much. Here is a challenge for us. Consider this. I want you to pick somebody. Issue them a statement. Write a letter to them. Facebook it to them. Compliment them on something positive they do. Dear Sally Q, I have watched you. You are so encouraging. You are so full of zeal and enthusiasm. You are a shut in, but you are always praying for people and sending cards. Give it some meat. I see you doing this when. This has helped others because. It makes people smile when you do this. Pick someone and write them a note. Perhaps they have a certain effect on others. Compliment them on that. A study says you have to receive 5 compliments to outweigh 1 negative statement. You say one negative thing to your kids; then you have to say 5 positive things to balance. The medical field recognizes the importance of kind words. Don’t flip it on its end. Don’t tell five things that are wrong and compliment once. We all have faults that glare like the noon day sun. The neighbor sees them. The dog sees them. It is easy to harbor those. But we must look past those flaws. Everybody has flaws. We must pick out the good qualities and use them to exhort us to good works.
Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×doesn’t allow for exceptions. We can’t do it just for our group of friends. This is God’s family right here in Wichita. Test God and see what the results are. Show yourself friendly, not cliquish. Malachi 3:16-17 Malachi 3:16-17  Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name.  And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
American King James Version×(Living Bible): “Then those who feared and loved the Lord spoke often of him to each other. And He had a Book of Remembrance drawn up in which He recorded the names of those who feared Him and loved to think about Him. 'They shall be mine,' says the Lord of Hosts, 'in that day when I make up My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares an obedient and dutiful son.' " My challenge is very sincere. Start with one person. Put Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×in practice. Get to know them. Then add someone else. Get to know the congregation. We should live a live that provokes one another to good works. Have fun getting to know your brothers and sisters in Christ.