The Why and the Wherefore
The why and the wherefore is a phrase that is based on an English phrase that emphasized not merely discovering the reason for an event, belief, or philosophy, but discovering the whole reason or all of the reasons. In our hectic and busy world, we often fail to consider the whole of any belief for why we do what we do. We tend to reduce everything down to the lowest common denominator.
The Oft Quoted Verse
I hear this often about church attendance. We quickly throw out Hebrews 10:25 and tell everyone to attend church regularly because Scripture commands this. It is true that this passage urges us to do so, but why. We are told it is so we will encourage one another as we see us getting closer and closer to the return of our Lord Jesus. That’s a great reason. However, let’s get to the why and the wherefore and find out what it means to encourage and exhort one another?
While our presence at the weekly worship and Sunday School time is an encouragement to the teachers and leaders, Hebrews 3:13 digs a little deeper into encouragement. We are told to “encourage one another as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” It is important that we not merely meet together to talk about politics, weather, and ball games. We are not better than those who fellowship at the local bar if only do these things. We should share how the gospel has impacted our lives during the previous week.
How to Do It
Here are a few ways we can promote gospel encouragement. First of all, we should share how the gospel helped us overcome temptation. Knowing what Christ endured to secure our salvation should motive us toward holy living. We can have victory over sin as we dwell on this truth. We also find consolation when we stumble and sin and are able to rejoice that Jesus is our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2). Furthermore, we may struggle with sickness and depression and feel we are at the end of our rope. When we hear gospel encouragement we will discover that we have a Savior who walked in our shoes. Jesus also suffered. He was a Man of Sorrows. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He endured great physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain while on the way to the cross and while He hung on the cross. Reminding each other of such truths will give us hope to press on.
Tell of Gospel Victories
Lastly, we should also share how the gospel triumphed over sin and wickedness. We should remind one another that our God is a God who saves. A few weeks ago my cousin, John, passed away after struggling with years of poor health, and making some life decisions that put him in a difficult place. I was concerned about him and knew he needed to make peace with Christ. I learned that a few weeks before he passed away he had talked with a friend he knew since childhood. This friend is now a pastor and knew the gospel well. This friend was faithful to share with John the truth of the gospel and continued to pray for John. The day before John passed away he went to visit a Christian lady in her home and asked her if she though Jesus would forgive him of his sins. She replied, “He will if you mean it when you ask Him.” She pulled her Bible off of a shelf and shared the gospel with him. John, in his state of poor health, humbled himself before God, knelt in the floor and asked Jesus to have mercy on him and save him. John passed away a day or so after he surrendered to Jesus. I’m thankful that this pastor and this godly lady were available to share the Good News of the gospel with John. They knew the gospel and were not hesitant to share it.
You Can Do It!
Let’s not forget to make the gospel central to all we do in our small groups and be ready to share the gospel whether we are at church, at home, coaching ball, at work, or anywhere else we might be. The gospel is not a mere add on in our lives. It is central to everything we do. The gospel is our why and wherefore!
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14, New King James Version)