We already know the context of this passage is keeping Christians faithful. Let’s see how this is to be done in the church:
We “take care” of each other! It’s every Christian’s job to take care that our fellow brother or sister doesn’t fall away from God. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own faith but at the same time we bear some responsibility for one another. Who’s going to help keep your bible study partner or even your church leader faithful? You are! (With the help of many in the church.) This passage tells us how:
“Exhort one another every day…that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” The guilt and consequence of our sin is removed when we are saved but we still live in a world full of temptation. We need one another on nearly a daily basis if we’re going to go with God through this sinful world and not fall for Satan’s lies. So there must be more to being a true Christian than just attending a church service on Sunday mornings. That something more is discipling! The word exhort calls us to mutually encourage one another; to walk with one another as we go with God.
Here’s what’s so cool about the book of Hebrews telling us that this is the key to holding “our original confidence firm to the end.” This is exactly what Jesus taught his disciples to do!
Read Luke 10:1-9
Jesus sent his disciples out into the world but they never went alone! They went in pairs. He gave them instructions to keep them focused on relying on God (not carrying a moneybag will do that to you!) And to keep them focused on truly investing in and loving people (“do not go from house to house”).
Jesus sends us out into the world as modern day disciples. And just like these first disciples we can’t go it alone. We need one another so we can stay focused on relying on God and truly loving people.
In our church we do discipleship. Discipling one another is the foundation of who we are. Instead of being a church with small groups, we’re a bunch of small groups (we call them house churches) that come together as a church. Within those small groups we practice discipling (walking together with Jesus in mutual encouragement and instruction). Ask your bible study partner about how discipling has helped him or her stay faithful and grow as a Christian and discuss plans for your house church and discipling.
Okay, this is all really great, but wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a snapshot of how the first church put all of this into practice? (Alright, I’m sure you know that question is a set up – of course there’s a snapshot – let’s take a look!)