This past Sunday we studied Hebrews 3:7-19, with a particular focus on verses 12-14, which read:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 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. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:12-14)
In this paragraph the author of Hebrews is clearly stating that we are responsible for each other, and in particular for each other’s perseverance and endurance as followers of Jesus Christ, for the remainder of our life here on Earth, however long or short that is to be. Other people are depending on you, and you are depending on others, whether you realize it or not, to prevent hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Verse 13 especially commands (or exhorts?) us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today.'” I suggested that a biblical definition of exhort is “strongly urging one another to pursue a right course of action based on truth, the truth we find in God’s word, the Bible.”
My exhortation to you for this week’s small group meetings is to practice “member care” by exhorting one another as needed. How do we know what those needs are? By being open with each other and engaging in discussion with each other. It may be helpful to keep in mind that some other terms for the word translated as “exhort” in verse 13 are encourage, urge, or appeal to.