10/17/18 Tony (video) late 20's
Christians are called to “encourage one another daily”. Seems simple enough, but how do we actually carry it out? What does that look like logistically? I would love to hear comments on how that looks for you, and will give an example of how it can be a part of our Christian outreach.
I was on Chicago’s lakefront looking to initiate a Gospel conversation, and a young father named Tony agreed to talk with me.
In response to my initial question about what happens after we die, Tony indicated a belief in God and a final judgement, and that he believed if he is good enough he will go to heaven. He has been busy trying to start and run a small business, and has neglected reading the Bible and attending church. I could tell he has drifted away from the faith he once had, and wanted to encourage him to get back to God and church, so I spent some time trying to give some friendly advice on his responsibility as a father and, hopefully, as a husband (he still hasn’t married his girlfriend). I talked about the benefits of daily Bible reading and regular church attendance, and Tony received it all well, as the friendly reminder it was intended to be.
And then I talked about something a little more serious. Our admonition toward daily encouragement comes in the context of warning against falling away from God completely. Hebrews 3 says “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”
Tony wasn’t just being neglectful of his faith, he was in danger of losing it completely. Already he had forgotten his first love, the source of his salvation, Jesus. He stated right away that he thought his salvation depended on his good works and how he treats others, and seemed to forget all about Jesus.
Tony was not just drifting away from his faith, he was in danger of spiritual shipwreck. I gave him more than friendly advice – I was throwing him a lifeline. The author of Hebrews knew that left on our own we all have a “sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” We need to encourage our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and unfortunately those who need the most encouragement are the ones who should be occupying those empty seats in our churches on Sunday mornings.
PS – Tony graciously allowed me to record our conversation, which can be seen in its entirety HERE