Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DECEITFULNESS OF SIN: IMPORTANCE OF FELLOWSHIP

"But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of your will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Heb. 3:13
We hate to be fooled but we are fooled often by sin. Sin is deceitful. Sin tricks the unsuspecting. It promises one thing but delivers another. It promises freedom, hope, and pleasure but can't give anything but enslavement, despair, and suffering.

Sin hardens the heart. Once a heart is hard it is not easily made soft again. The condition of the heart is central to salvation. Once sin has done its work of turning a man against God, it is difficult for that man to ever return. The Brother that "sins willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth" is surely deceived by sin (Heb. 10:26). He forsakes the assembly and by removing himself from fellowship with Believers, he is not encouraged and does not encourage others (Heb. 10:25). And gives up on encouraging others in their faith. He stops caring about others and only about himself. He becomes lost in the deceitfulness of sin.

Sin has accomplices. "Listen to your heart" is popular advice but not very reliable. Jeremiah said, "the heart above all things is deceitful" (Jer. 17:9). A person who is guided by his heart, the seat of his emotions, is going to be deceived. Feelings are not a good guide. And the deceitful heart will look for affirmation from others. It's why Paul warned Timothy about deceitful teachers. "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13). The false teachers were undoubtedly first deceived by sin and by their emotions, and so they end up becoming apostles of the same deceit: "deceiving and being deceived". That's the story of false teacher. Sin does not work alone; it has help from a willing heart to be led astray.

We need the encouragement of others. "Encourage one another...so that you won't be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." The Hebrew writer shows that this is a remedy to the deceit. Christians need encouragement from those who know and love the Truth. If we do not choose to be in the fellowship of Christians, we choose by default to be in the fellowship of others who follow sin and are more than happy to have us follow. "Today", as long as you have the opportunity, seek the fellowship of Christians. "Today", draw near to God and guard your heart against the deceit of sin.
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