Updated: Mar 3
What are the best compliments you've ever received?
What about the worst (or most back-handed)?
In ancient times, the Israelites would gather at the Temple or Tabernacle to worship God. Their priests would offer sacrifices on the altar, but only the High Priest would be permitted to enter the inner sanctum, the Most Holy Place, and only with the blood of the sacrifice to atone for their sins. The book of Hebrews explores how these ancient rituals have found their completion and perfection in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and how our relationship with God through Jesus is so much better than the relationship mediated by the temple, priests and blood sacrifices.
Read Hebrews 10:19-25
Highlight all the words that describe how we can approach God in Jesus. What is the tone of these words?
What do the following phrases mean to you?
“A sincere heart”
“The full assurance that faith brings”
“Cleansed from a guilty conscience”
“Having our bodies washed with pure water”
Look again at verses 23-25.
What are we told to do in response to what Jesus has done?
One at a time, read 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 12:25 & Romans 1:11-12
After you read each verse, discuss how it adds to your understanding of encouragement.
Let’s put these things into practice:
What are some practical ways that we can “spur one another on towards love and good deeds”?
Do you have any examples of ways in which a brother or sister has spurred you on in the past?
When we meet together how do we encourage one another? How could we do this more? (Think about in our Connect Group, or on a Sunday, or at other gatherings)
Spend some time in reflection and prayer, asking God to give you a word of encouragement for someone else in your group. Then, write down your message for that person and give it to them (either now, or during the week).
 Even if you can’t quite pin down a perfect definition for each one, see if you can get the gist of what these four phrases add up to when taken together. Nevertheless, I have summarised what the commentaries say about these four verses below…  In Greek this phrase is literally “a true heart”: Genuine worship, real love, not just going through the motions or faking it for the sake of appearance.  We don’t have to worry that God will not accept us; Jesus’ death is more than sufficient.  We don’t have to continue to feel guilty for the wrong we have done; Jesus’ forgiveness is complete and unconditional.  Not everyone agrees on what this phrase means. It could refer to baptism, or alternatively it could refer to the empowering of the Spirit to give us self-control to avoid doing sinful things.