1. In Hebrews 2:1-4 we are taught to: a. pay careful attention to the things that Christ and the apostles taught concerning the great salvation b. avoid letting those things slip. 2. We must follow these instructions because there is no escape for those who neglect the great salvation. 3. This evening we are concentrating on an important activity mentioned in Hebrews 3:13 -- God's people are to "exhort one another." 4. Exhortation is an important activity for Christians because: a. it may prevent someone from being "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" b. it may help someone to remain steadfast (Hebrews 10:23-25).
I. TO EXHORT ONE ANOTHER, WE MUST ELIMINATE AND AVOID THINGS THAT CAUSE DISCOURAGEMENT, SUCH AS:
A. "Pessimism" (the 10 spies -- Deuteronomy 1:27-28) B. Giving "foolish advice" (Epliphaz -- Job 4:8; Zophar -- Job 11:6) 1. Job needed some encouragement, but his friends did not help him. 2. He called his friends "miserable comforters" (Job 16:2). C. "Provoking others to anger" (Colossians 3:21). D. Let us avoid things that will cause others to be discouraged.
II. TO EXHORT ONE ANOTHER, LET US LEARN FROM OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN EFFECTIVE EXHORTERS
A. Two of Judah's best kings, Hezekiah and Josiah, were exhorters. 1. (2 Chronicles 31:4) Hezekiah gave a command for the benefit of the priests and the Levites "that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord." 2. (2 Chronicles 35:2) Concerning the priests, Josiah "encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord." B. One of the greatest exhorters of all was a man named Barnabas. 1. He encouraged the needy through his generosity (Acts 4:36-37). 2. He encouraged Saul by speaking up for him (Acts 9:26-27). 3. He encouraged the church in Antioch (Acts 11:22-24). 4. He encouraged John Mark. a. (Acts 13:1-5) Mark accompanied Barnabas and Saul on their missionary journey. b. (Acts 13:13) For some reason Mark returned to Jerusalem. c. (Acts 15:36-40) Barnabas insisted on giving Mark another opportunity. C. Let us learn from these great exhorters and follow their examples.
1. In the world we have to contend with many things that are discouraging. 2. In the church, Christ wants His followers to "exhort one another" (Hebrews 3:13).