The Fine Art of Exhortation
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
I. Believers are Commanded to do Preventative Maintenance
A. See to it/Watch out Brothers - a responsibility of the Body (Eph 5:21) [Mt 6:13; 25:26; Heb 11:6]
B. Evil heart of unbelief/faithlessness - failure to be a faithful steward of: Time, Treasure, Truth & Talent (acc. to God’s purposes) 11:6
C. Depart from the living God - breaking a submissive, dependent, abiding relationship with our Lord (Jn 15)
Lu 8:13 on the rock ...hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away
1Tim 4:1 the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The Devil specializes in tempting us to abandon faithfulness in favor of short-term power (security/significance), pleasure, and possessions
D. Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin - callousness toward God’s principles and purposes and the needs of others
Ob 1:3 The pride of your heart has deceived you Pr 28:26 He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but who walks wisely shall be delivered.
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
II. Understanding Sin
A. Sin is deadly - God’s commands are for our benefit; He isn’t withholding anything good for us.
De 10:13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (cf. 30:16)
B. Sin is deceptive -in that we don’t recognize that it promises one thing (pleasure) and delivers another (pain/death)
C. Independence is the essence of sin -we want our desires, our way, without outside interference or accountability
III. Exhortation for the Challengely Challenged
A. One another = call alongside (not come alongside)
B. Daily = according to the (need of) day
C. Implies some maturity: looking out for others; be prepared for shooting the messenger, attack, slander, etc.
D. Agape love is sacrificing yourself to do what is in someone else’s best interest, even if they crucify you for it
E. Reprove “what does it look like to you?” bring to light
Rebuke “you’re sinning” -To criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand - MS Dict
Exhort “change is best” -To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal - MS Dict
with patience (long-suffering) and doctrine (teaching) 2Tim 4:2
you will expose a nerve, cause pain or at least embarrassment, and probably resentment
Encourage “you can do it!” -To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten.To give support to - MS Dict
Ac 11:23 and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord.
1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his children,
1Th 5:11 Wherefore exhort/comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. In what ways are we susceptible to sin’s deception? How does independence surface in a believer’s life? Corrective?
2. What does it look like when someone has “departed from the living God”? What causes it? What cures it?
3. When was the last time you exhorted someone? Someone exhorted you? What would keep one from exhorting?
4. How does one strike the balance between being so soft the exhortation doesn’t hit home or being so loud they cover their ears?
5. How much of a relationship must one have with another to exhort them?
6. If you “know” they won’t take the exhortation well, should you hold back? Is it better to err on the side of courage or caution?