As tired as I am, I simply had to post this tonight-or I would not be able to sleep. I was studying Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works….” and I read this summary statement by Matthew Sylvester (a Puritan) as to how we are to accomplish this "provoking".
This is so incredibly beautiful! Have you heard anyone teach on this passage in this manner? This is just a summary statement from a twelve page transcript of the original sermon. I try to imagine how the "modern" church would be "provoked" if they were to hear these types of messages being taught from the pulpit today:
Well, in a word, such must your actions and your conversations be, as that (whatever you are conversant about or with,--the temper of your spirits, and the fervours and vigours of your love to God, His image, interest, Son, Spirit, Gospel, and all that do profess and own respects hereto) every step you take, and every thing you do, ought to be great and exemplary, and impregnated with what may speak the greatness, largeness, cheerfulness, and energies of your inflamed, exalted, and invigorated souls, through love to God, Christ, souls, and Christianity.
O, to be exemplary in all conversation; to live to quicken each other into awakened considerations of spiritual concerns; to dart forth all those glorious rays of Christian wisdom of which we are told in James 3:17-18:
To make men feel, as well as see, the force and flames of Christian love;
To charm exasperated passions down by all the sweetness of true wisdom, patience, meekness, gentleness, and every way endearing conversation with them;
To have the law of kindness always in your mouths, the notices of true friendliness in your looks, the gifts and proofs of generous charity in your hands, in constant readiness to minister to the necessities of the saints, as God shall prosper your endeavors in your lawful and regularly-managed occupations and employments;
To have your dealings and commerce’s each with other accurately and severely just, and yet sufficiently securing the credit and concerns of Christianity;
And, in a word, to “be blameless and harmless," as “the sons of God, without rebuke, shining as lights, and holding forth the Word of Life.” To universal satisfaction and advantage, wherever groundless prejudice and partiality do not prevail and govern;
And, to fill up every relationship, step, and station with the fruits of goodness, righteousness, and truth;--
These are “the good and generous works of love”, whereto we are to be “provoked”.
An evening prayer as I log-off for the night: "Dear Heavenly Father, I pray with every ounce of my being that you would grant me and all those who wear your name, the grace to “consider others to provoke unto love and good works” in this way described. This is fellowship; This is Love; This is life; This is Christianity!" Praise you Father and thank you for Your Son, Your Spirit and Your Word and for the men who actually had the time, and took the time, to swim in it and proclaim it in a way that feeds my soul indescribably. Thank you for those whom you have brought into my life that have been "provokers" of such a love. I love and adore you and bow down before you in the name of my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."