As a whole this community is suffering for their faith in Jesus. This doesn’t take into consideration what other kinds of suffering may be going on. In this community there may have been wives who had been abandoned by their husbands and husband who had been abandoned by their wives. In this community there may have been parents who were dealing with the loss of a child.
In this community there may have been people struggling financially because of the loss of a job. In this community there may have been people grieving over the loss of a loved one. In this community there may have been people that were stressed out because of all that was going on in their lives. Yet in the midst of this community that was going through hardships the inspired author tells them not to turn their focus inward.
How many of us know how easy it is during hard times to let our focus turn inward and begin to only think about ourselves and our problems? I think this is one of the easiest things in the world to do. Most of us are naturally selfish and self-centered anyway. Let problems come into our lives and watch us take our selfishness and self-centeredness to a whole nutha level.
Here we are told not to become self-centered and self-focused but to consider one another.The picture here seems to be that a church should be filled with people who care enough about one another that we lovingly watch over one another so that when a brother or sister becomes discouraged or begins to drift in their commitment to Jesus we go to one another with the sole purpose of stirring each other up to love and good works. What beautiful picture of what the church should be.
I want to point out here that this isn’t just speaking to the pastor. The inspired author doesn’t lay the responsibility to do this at the pastor’s feet. The other doesn’t say, “Consider one another so that you may go tell the pastor to stir one another up to love and good works.” God lays the responsibility to consider one another and to stir one another up at all of our feet. If you see someone that is discouraged, hurting or drifting in their commitment to Jesus, YOU have a responsibility to go to them in love and seek to stir them back up to love and good works.
This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest failures of the modern church. We see no responsibility for anyone outside of ourselves. Here is what is tragically sad. It’s not that we don’t see one another become discouraged or begin to drift. It is that instead of going and trying to stir one another back up, we either callously turn a blind eye to it, or wickedly use it as an opportunity to talk about one another. If we are guilty of doing either of these we should repent and ask God to forgive us for this sin.
Not only should we consider one another to encourage one another, but as we gather together we should be encouraged to serve Jesus. Our time together shouldn’t motivate us to complacency. What we do together shouldn’t end in the church building. As you read Scripture you see that what we do in together should motivate us to serve Jesus out in the world. Too many times we think of coming to church as our service to Jesus but that’s really not true, at least not entirely. Coming to church isn’t our service to Jesus as much as it is a service station that prepares us to go and serve Jesus. So a part of what the church does in encouraging our commitment to Jesus is to encourage us to be faithful in serving Jesus.
We do this through singing songs that remind us of our need to serve Jesus.
We do this through giving people opportunities to use their spiritual gifts.
We do this through encouraging people to see the needs in the world around us and then take the initiative to do what they can to help.
We do this through studying what the Bible says about our need to serve Jesus.
This means at times we will study about our need to take up our cross and follow Jesus. This means at times we will study about our need to share the Gospel.
This means at times we will study about our need to help the help the poor and visit the shut-ins.
This means at times we will study about our need to find and use our spiritual gifts.
This means at times we will study about our need to be salt and light in the world.
The church encourages us in our commitment to Jesus by challenging us and encouraging us to serve Jesus.
For further study read Ephesians 4:11-16.
What is the pastor to do?
What are the people to do?
What is the purpose for the pastor and the people each doing what they are supposed to do?
This post was written by Rev Ross. For the original post, go to: http://stacyjross.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-church-encourages-me-to-serve-jesus/