Wednesday, July 20, 2011

care to confront

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13

This admonition calls believers into mutual accountability. It commands us to care in such a way that we encourage and compel one another to deal with the problems that our sinful hearts cause within our lives. The church is a place where Christians can honestly and openly deal with what is wrong in their lives. This is not a threatening environment. It is a caring community that truly exhorts its members to turn away from the deceits of our sinful thinking and actions.

This underlying command exists not so that the church is a company of busy bodies. Rather, it exists so that the church can actively pursue holiness. And that is a two-way path. The first direction is to identify the good that God wants us to do. That involves study of God's Word and obedience to the leading of His Holy Spirit. The second direction involves turning from the wrong thinking and actions that our sinful natures are bent to do. Almost always, the predominant factor in identifying a sin is the root of "self". If it is all about what "I want", my experience is that it is more than likely a sinful desire or action. When it is clearly a desire to do what "God wants", we are learning to encourage each other toward holy living.

I also am impressed with the urgency in this little command. We exhort one another "in the now", while today is still called "today". We should develop relationships in the Church that have this sort of urgency and practicality in them. And that can only come by getting close to believers. I think from a practical standpoint that it means that there are a few Christian friends who get this kind of relationship. I cannot say that I can confidently exhort 800 such people. I do believe I could get there with 8 of them. And that is why churches grow in holiness by growing "small" in their "in reach". It is one reason why at Mill Creek, LifeGroups are vital to the health of the church body. Without commitment to be in smaller groups we are leaving ourselves open to the deceitfulness of sin. With that commitment we are creating a place where we can encourage each other to Christlike faith every day, while it is called "today".

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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