“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (Heb. 3:14 CSB)
A God-given antidote to the hardness of heart, to unbelief, to rebellion, are the voices of God’s people. Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are an anti-clot medicine. We can’t watch our hearts on our own. We aren’t meant to.
We need encouragement from each other. Encouraging each other to follow Jesus, reminding each other of forgiveness, how we have new life in the crucified and resurrected Christ. We need to be encouraged with the gospel truth that we are not defined by our sins; we are not the sum of our success and failures—but we are in Christ.
Not The Ministry of Guilt
Notice, this is the ministry of encouragement. It’s not one of guilting. Not shaming each other, not convicting each other, not telling each other how disappointing this is. When has this ever helped anyone who’s confessed sin?
Far too many accountability times can drag down to the devices of demons. We don’t need fingers wagging and pointed in our face. We need hands on our shoulders, arms wrapped around us, encouraging us to remember Jesus. This is the ministry we all need, and one we can all give.
Every Christian Has This Ministry
Everyone is in this ministry. Sometimes, when people are looking for places to serve in a church, I’ll hear things like, “I don’t know what I can do.” Well, this is it. Encourage others. “I don’t know how to get plugged in.” Hebrews 3 is your ministry.
Who can you do this for in your life? Who is doing this for you? How will you do this? How can we do this daily? This is more challenging for us in our context than the original audience of Hebrews. They lived in a much closer proximity to each other and saw each other more often. Our lives are (too) busy, in the hustle and bustle, stacked with hobbies and kids sports—this is tough. But we have technology. We can text. We can email. We can call. We can post encouraging things on social media. We can get creative with the common grace of technology to make an effort toward encouraging others.
Who will you encourage today? Tomorrow? “While it is still called today”? Until Christ returns or we go to him, this is our calling toward one another. It’s super important because sin and the satanic powers don’t take vacation days.
Getting Duped by Sin Doesn’t Take Long
How often does the writer of Hebrews say we need this ministry of encouragement? Daily. This is striking.
“Daily” shows us how much we need the encouragement of others. However much we think we need this, are estimations aren’t even close to the reality.
Second, how long does it take for us to be deceived by sin, and do something we will regret? A day. We are a sunrise and sunset away from making a destructive choice, being duped by sin. As a pastor, I know this all too well. Pastors often have front-row seats to people self-destructing.
I’ve had a woman look me in the face and say the Holy Spirit is leading her to divorce her spouse. I’ve had a man say he can date a married woman because God freed her from her marriage. And, I’m not lying, this woman and this man used to be married to each other. The deceitfulness of sin.
The examples go on:
- “I know the Bibles says fornication is wrong, but we are different, I know God will forgive us.”
- “I know I shouldn’t commit adultery, but you don’t understand my situation.”
- “I know the Bible says to be kind and forgive, but if you knew what they did…”
We’ve all have pockets of this in our hearts towards sins we want to give a pass. Anger, bitterness, gluttony, drunkenness, laziness, on and on.
God has given us his word and each other to combat sin, temptation, and hardening of the heart. We are to encourage each other to honor Christ.
We need daily reminders of Jesus and the gospel. The satanic powers don’t take days off. They don’t have weekends. So, this means a Sunday worship service and two hours in a small group isn’t a wise way to wage spiritual warfare. We need a daily help. Daily. Daily hearing of God’s voice in the Word, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb. 3:15), and daily encouragement from one another. This is your ministry.