The Church as an Encouraging Community – Deric Bartlett

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Sermon Notes

This week, Pastor Deric concludes the series “We Are the Church: Christian Fellowship in a Lonely World” with a message titled “The Church as an Encouraging Community” based on Hebrews 3:13.
1. Everybody needs encouragement.
2. Encouragement is God’s strategy to increase faith.
3. The local church exists to encourage one another.
4. Encouragement reflects God’s character.
5. The Christian hope is the ultimate source of encouragement.

ICEBREAKER: What are some of the dumbest misadventures you have been on?

1. The “therefore” at the beginning of Hebrews 3:7 links this paragraph to the previous one of 3:1-6. How are Jesus and Moses compared and contrasted in 3:1-6, and what is the challenge given to us at the end of 3:6? Also consult Luke 8:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; and Hebrews 10:23.
2. Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalm 95:7-11. But the phrase “as the Holy Spirit says” is not found anywhere in Psalm 95. What does this indicate about the author’s view of the authority and reliability of the Scriptures [cf. Acts 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; and 2 Peter 1:21]?
3. Twice in this text (vs. 8 & 13) the readers are warned of possessing hard hearts. From this text, what contributes to hardened hearts that we must beware [cf. Exodus 9:34-35; Deuteronomy 10:16; and Acts 19:9]?
4. What does it say about the condition of the human heart that people rebel, test, and provoke the Sovereign Lord who created them [Hebrews 3:8-10]? Also consider Exodus 17:1-4; Numbers 20:2-9; and Matthew 4:1-11.
5. According to Hebrews 3:12, what are we to watch out for? What might lead us away from the Lord [cf. Matthew 13:18-22; Mark 6:5-6; and Romans 11:19-22]?
6. In practical terms, how can we exhort one another so we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness [Hebrews 3:13]? What can we do to encourage each other daily to follow Christ and unfollow sin? Also examine Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 2:8; and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.
7. What did you find helpful or challenging about this Sunday’s message?
“Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.” (John Bunyan)