One of the discouraging aspects of contemporary evangelism is the high rate of abandonment by those “saying a prayer” or making a “decision for Christ.”
The entire book of Hebrews was written to persuade either young Jewish believers or those close to putting their entire trust in the Christ-Messiah. The author lays down a command for the soul-winner and discipler: “Be continually exhorting one another every day.”
The word for exhort means to “come alongside” of a person to “comfort, help, encourage, or challenge.” It should be noted that when Jesus told about the Holy Spirit who would soon come to permanently dwell in every believer, He used the title “Paraclete,” which is the same word.
The Holy Spirit is our comforter, helper, encourager, and challenger. When we comfort or encourage someone, we join with the Spirit. This is the filling of the Spirit.
This is the ministry of all the body of Christ to each other in a local church. We are to care for one another daily. We are to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col 3:16).
Paul went to great lengths to walk throughout Asia, Macedonia, and Greece so he could be “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations’” (Acts 14:22).
The main reason for gathering together as a church body is to exercise this mutual ministry, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:25). “The Day” refers to the end of the church age and the coming of the day of His wrath (Rom 2:5; Rev 6:17).
We must take advantage of every conversation, every encounter, if we care about other people. Anyone can become “hardened by sin’s deception.” Only when a godly friend cares enough to get involved to exhort, encourage, and instruct another can anyone keep true to the Lord. We need each other.
Do we care about the body of Christ enough to take on this responsibility of caring for and learning how to exhort one another?
“Heavenly Father, may Your word be so ingrained in me that Your Spirit can freely prompt me to bolster another believer whenever I perceive a need.”