The ministry of Encouragement 1

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the importance and necessity of encouragement.

Scripture

Hebrews 10:19-25

19  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Observation and reflection

Context: The main aim of the letter of Hebrews is to show that Jesus is superior to all and therefore the only qualified savior of the human race, thereby discouraging fearful Christians from turning to various other “mediators” between man and God amidst the rising persecution.  Today’s text is the turning point in the letter to the Hebrews, moving from right thinking (orthodoxy) to right practice (orthopraxis) or the logical consequence from the right thinking.

  1. The author summarizes the main message in his letter at the beginning of his exhortation. Say it in your own words (v19-21).
  2. The author then motivates three responses to this belief about Jesus – what does he motivate the readers to do? (hint: “Let us…”)
  3. What appears to be a main reason why the author encouraged the believers to meet together (in spite of the fear of being exposed as a Christian believer!)? (v23-25)
  4. In light of the context, what would the recipients of this letter “encourage one another” to do?
  5. Why would the author refer to “the Day drawing near” in the context of this letter? (hint: “the Day” refers to the day when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead)

Application

Note: The New Testament are full of references of people who started their walk of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord but because of fear of persecution or love for earthly pleasures turned away from Jesus.  You possibly know of a few people who do not serve God the way they used to, and also a few people who are disillusioned about their faith in God for various reasons.

  1. In a few sentences review your faith in God through Jesus. (hint: What did Jesus come to do for us? Why did he become man and why did he die?)
  2. In a few sentences review your hope in Christ. (hint: What does God eternally promise us in Christ Jesus?)
  3. Having read these verses above, what could you say to someone who is about to “give up one Christianity” or who asks you “what is the point”? How would you encourage them to hold on to faith and hope in Christ?
  4. Having read these verses above, how you motivate someone who is slack on attending Christian fellowship? From these verses, why would you say is it important to “not neglect coming together”?

Prayer

Pray for a friend who is going through a rough time and send him an encouraging message – perhaps a word the Lord drops in your spirit.

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