Day 8 – Cardio Training

Scripture Reading

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

1. Let us not give up meeting together

Its not all about me. I asked you to start thinking about this phrase last week.

The church needs what you bring to the fellowship…

Romans 12:5 (NIV)
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Your gifts, talents, time, prayers, etc. are an important part of the church. You matter, you make a difference. Part of the reason you cannot give up meeting together is that the church needs you. You may not always feel like meeting together for a variety of reasons, but it is not all about me.

However, it is some about me. Sometimes when we don’t feel like hanging out with the church it might mean that we are moving in a direction that is not good for us. Yes, people in the church can be difficult sometimes, just like you, but it is not a reason for not meeting together. Let me make a little illustration using our friends in law enforcement.

When you are in trouble or in need of assistance, or someone is messing with you, and a law enforcement officer arrives on the scene, it is a good thing. You are happy to see them, they are going to help you. They are a hero, yay! But, if you are doing something that maybe you shouldn’t be doing, you may not be excited to see that very same law enforcement officer. They didn’t change, the only thing different is what you are up to. See, when we are trying to live by doing the next right thing, the church is a good thing. It is there to help us, encourage us, pray for us, bless us, etc. But, if we are moving in a direction that is not good for us, suddenly the very same church is critical, mean spirited, judgmental busy body, hypocrities who are just trying to get in my business. Who do they think they are?

1 John 1:7 (NIV)
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

The reality is, we need the church as much as the church needs us. The fruit of the Spirit, which is what needs to be developed in us, happens in the context of community.
You learn about being a disciple as you deal with living in community. It is not all about me, but it is some about me.

2. Let us encourage one another

We are to be encouragers. We have talked about this a lot here and the ministry of encouragement is one of our foundational ministries.

To encourage literally means to put courage into someone. The ministry of encouragement then would be to put courage into people to trust and obey God because He loves them.

An encouraging person is good to be around because they build you up with their words, actions, and attitudes.

We live in a grumpy fearful world filled with bad news and fear which for some reason is spun to make it seem worse and more fearful. The reason. To keep you watching so that you will watch commercials which they are selling to make money. But it is a factor in why the world is so grumpy. It is making us all eeyores. We’re all doomed!

Fortunately, the Bible is a book of encouragement, truth, hope, love, purpose, and forgiveness

Romans 15:4-5 (NIV)
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,

3. As you see the Day approaching

What day?

There is always someone predicting the end of the world. The Mayans call for it in December of this year. Scientists are saying there are asteroids coming close. Last year is was the guy out in California with all the billboards in May and then again in October. I am going to tell you something again. No one but God knows when that say will be.

Matthew 24:36 (NIV)
36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

There is a reason that is tied into the Jewish engagement and marriage ceremonies that explains why, but I don’t have time to get into it here. I have put a link at the top of the church website that will take you to a teaching I did on why. It has to do with communion and the last supper and I think you will find it interesting.

But what you also need to know is, that whenever that day might be, it is not a fearful thing for us. As believers, it is the day we are looking forward to. Jesus is coming back. It is something I pray for every day. Come Lord Jesus. Maranatha. While the life in Christ is real full life now, what is coming is way better. It’s what we are looking and longing for. The whole creation is longing for the return of Chirst. The Bible calls that day the great and terrible day of the Lord. It is a great day for believers. You do not need to be afraid.

At some point in his life, Paul got caught up to heaven. I often think it was when he was stoned in Lystra and then dragged out of the city. Everybody thought he was dead. But then he gets up and goes back into the city and preaches again. He was either dead or healed miraculously, either is cool, but I am off track. Anyway at some point Paul gets a look at heaven. And from that he is able to say this:

Philippians 1:21-24 (NIV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

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