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Encourage One Another ~ Hebrews 3:12-13 July 21, 2013 ~ New City Church Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson

Inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is the ancient Greek maxim, Know thyself. Its at once intriguing and perplexing. Walker Percys Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Why it is that of all the billions and billions of strange objects in the cosmosnovas, quasars, pulsars, black holesyou are beyond doubt the strangest? Nietzche, We knowers are unknown to ourselves.

Christianity states that one of the reasons that we do not know ourselves is because we are experts at self-deception. We have an uncanny ability to deceive ourselves, and then convince ourselves that we are not deceived. Moreover, the Scriptures teach us that we actively suppress the truth about reality (Rom. 1). Looking for life, significance and meaning in anything and everything apart from God is futile because it cannot be had. CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, God cannot give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.

A Christian is one who has realized this. And yet Christians can be schizophrenic on this point: at once believing it and not believing it. We say that we believe this to be true, but we often dont live like it. What happens when a Christian begins to believe that happiness is found apart from God? How can we ensure that we dont buy into this lie? How can we keep from being selfdeceived?

Part of the answer is found in the New Testament idea of Life Together. Text: Hebrews 3:12-13, Encourage One Another / Looking Out For One Another 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 1. The passage is written to Christians: brothers The warning should get our attention. Proverbs 4:23, Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Sins power has been broken; it is not a tyrant that we have to obey anymore. BUT, its influence is still around in our lives. o Sin seeks to deceive, to blind, to enslave once again.

2. The process: 13 sinful unbelieving turning away hardened heart Illus: Tripp, Instruments, 51-53

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. 1. Jer. 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things. 2. The remedy: exhort one another every day Gr: parakalew = to come alongside to encourage, to urge o Illus: runners close to the finish line being encouraged & urged to finish well by the fans every day o In Hebrews, there was an immanent crisis where people were tempted to throw in the whole Christianity thing due to persecution, so the author encourages them to encourage one another daily. o The kind of Life Together that is envisioned is one in which the lives of believers are so intertwined that they have regular contact with each other. Main Idea: We desperately need the intentional encouragement of one another to run the race well.

1. Be suspicious of yourself (a healthy suspicion). Robert Murray McCheyne, The seeds of every known sin lay dormant in our hearts. Joe Novensons story of meeting with a pastor who had committed adultery. Do you believe there is enough evil in you to destroy this world three times over? o Conversation with Heather: Do you think you could every commit adultery? Tripp, We would all like to think that no one knows our hearts better than we do. We would like to believe that others may be self-deceived, but we are not. Its simply not true. Since sin is in its essence deceptive, as long as sin lives in our hearts, we will tend to be blind to the true condition of our hearts. But more must be said. Not only will we be blind to our hearts, but we will be blind to our blindness, thinking we see when we really dont.

2. Live close to Jesus AND His people. 2

Christianity is a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Correct, but also Christianity is a communal relationship with Jesus and his people. o Its a personal thing, but not a private thing.

You cant do the Christian life on your own. You were never meant to. We were meant to run this race together, with one another. o Pursue this kind of spiritual friendship in your life: one-to-one, triad, small group

3. Pursue and invite accountability. Anonymous NCCer: I like the idea of accountabilityin the lives of other people. Tripp, Instruments 54, The Hebrews passage clearly teaches that personal insight is the product of community. I need you in order to really see and know myself. Otherwise, I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies, and buy into my own delusions. My self-perception is as accurate as a carnival mirror. If I am going to see myself clearly, I need you to hold the mirror of Gods Word in front of me. CJ Mahaney, Humility, Are you regularly informing others of your temptations and sins, or do you present to them a carefully edited and flattering version of yourself? The Gospel frees us and empowers us to pursue this kind of Life Together. o My sin no longer defines me, but the righteousness of Christ does. o I am free to look at my sin and own it. AND I a freed to make war on it.

Conclusion: CJ Mahaney story of a man with cream cheese on his face. What if you have no one in your life to tell you that you have cream cheese on your face?