But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).
Exhort means to share with others a loving spirit with a loving hand to hold
them from drifting in sin.
The song we just sang, “Throw Out the Lifeline,” is an exhortation to you and
me. We have friends, we have brothers, we have sisters who do not have the grace
of God, who are not saved. We must exhort them. We must reach out with a loving
spirit to win them, to bring them to serving the Lord, to bring them out from
under the power of sin. It is our duty.
Let us look at the verses before and after our text. Verse 12 says: “Take heed,
brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing
from the living God.”
We must be so careful about this for ourselves. We must also exhort one another,
our friends, our brothers, our sisters who are departing from the living God. If
they are departing from the authority of God’s Word, we must exhort them. We
must exhort one another daily. We must do it with urgency.
Sin is so deceitful, and sin has such power over the human mind. If we see
someone taken under the power of sin, we must exhort them daily.
We are so responsible to our brethren for their soul’s sake to exhort them if we
see them departing from the living God through an evil heart of unbelief. When
we see this in our brethren we must exhort them. We must lovingly reach out to
them and try to draw them in.
Let us see how responsible we are. Turn with me to Ezekiel 33:12: “Therefore,
thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the
righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the
wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth
from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his
righteousness in the day that he sinneth.”
If we see someone who professes to be a Christian beginning to turn cold with a
heart of unbelief, and they are beginning to depart from God, then we must
remind them that what they have done right will not save them when they turn to
do what is wrong.
Watch verse 13: “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live;
if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his
righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath
committed, he shall die for it.”
If he looks back and says, Well, I have lived a good life, therefore, now I can
start to do evil, all of his righteousness will not be remembered. We must
exhort one another daily that we do not depart from walking where it is right.
We must realize the urgency of our responsibility to “exhort one another daily,
while it is called To day.” I want you to see Ezekiel 33:8: “When I say unto the
wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the
wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood
will I require at thine hand.”
It is our duty. We must warn them. If we do not, the Lord will require their
blood at our hand. Do you see how important it is that we exhort one another
daily? The Word of God commands us to do this, and if we do not, then their sin
is on our head.
Watch verse 9: “Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from
it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast
delivered thy soul.”
You have warned him. He did not turn from his wicked way, but you are clear. His
blood is not on you, but it is our duty to warn him.
As the direct result of our neglect in exhortation, the heart is “hardened
through the deceitfulness of sin.” If we walk in sin, then we become hardened
against sin. Then our hearts are no longer tender, and sin no longer bothers us.
We must exhort each other daily lest we let them walk in sin and they become
hardened and no longer desire to walk with God.
God’s clear command is to plead with and “exhort one another daily, while it is
called To day,” saying as we see in Ezekiel 33:11: “Say unto them, As I live,
saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the
wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why
will ye die, O house of Israel?”
This is the message you and I are responsible to take to our brother, sister,
friend or fellow man.
When we see one of our brethren with “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing
from the living God,” we are exhorted in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man be
overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit
of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
If I come to someone as a proud man, and say, Look, you cannot do this as if he
was sinning against me, I am wrong. I must come to him in a spirit of meekness.
We must plead with and “exhort one another daily, while it is called To day” for
them to hear God’s voice. I want you to turn with me now to Hebrews 3:15: “While
it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the
provocation.” It is the voice of God that we must hear. It is not my voice when
I come to exhort my brethren. It is the voice of God, because I come with the
word of God. That is why I must exhort them to hear the voice of God.
To hear God’s voice and do His will is to exercise faith, but to harden the
heart in rebellion is “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living
God.” When I hear His voice and do His will, that is faith. When I hear His
voice and do not do His will, that is unbelief.
Watch what we see in Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the
things which I say?”
Salvation is in that we hear and do. In verses 47 and 48 we read, “Whosoever
cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he
is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the
foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon
that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
Whose house was founded on a rock? It is those who hear and do. That is building
on the rock.
Watch verse 49: “But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without
a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat
vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
This man heard, but he did not do. These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How can Jesus be our Lord and King, if we do not do what He says?
If you come before the Lord and say, Lord, would you do this and that for me,
why should He do that when you do not do what He says? If you disobey the Lord,
why would the Lord answer your prayers? He will not.
Turn with me to John 15:7: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye
shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
God says, If you do what I say, ask what you want, and I will do it for you. If
our prayers are not being answered, sometimes we can understand why. It is
because we do not do the things He says.
This is why “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God [is the
first, and greatest occasion to] exhort one another daily [that is, frequently]
while it is called To day; [that is, without delay] lest any of you be hardened
through the deceitfulness of sin.”
If you see someone who is not doing what God’s Word says, it is the greatest
occasion to exhort them because they will not have God’s blessing. God will not
hear their prayers. If you are walking in rebellion against God, He will not
answer your prayers.
We must exhort today. Do not wait until tomorrow. If I see someone doing
something, maybe telling a white lie, and do not say anything, he gets in the
habit of it, and the next thing you know, it becomes his character, and he does
it without even knowing it. He becomes hardened in it. I must reprove. I must
exhort. I must caution him not to do this.
I want you to see how the necessity is so great. It is so urgent. See what the
Apostle Paul says in Galatians 4:19: “My little children, of whom I travail in
birth again until Christ be formed in you.”
When a woman is in travail, something must give. Either a child must be born or
the mother is going to die. This is how urgent it is when we pray and beseech
and exhort our fellow man. His soul is at stake.
Paul wanted to see that spiritual birth. He wanted to see them born again. He
had no rest. He could not take it easy and say, Well, the Lord will take care of
them, or someone else will talk to them. He could not do that. It becomes
urgent. It becomes as if you are in travail until Christ is formed in them. That
is how urgent it is to exhort one another.
Now see the urgency in Paul’s exhortation to the church at Philippi for what
appears to him as their “evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living
We read in Philippians 3:17-19: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark
them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have
told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the
cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose
glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
See how this exhortation was prompted by their lack of the mind or Spirit of
Christ, which was revealed by their conversation. See how urgent it was. He had
I do not care what their profession is, if their walk of life is against the
will of God, they are enemies of the cross of Christ.
Watch verses 20 and 21: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body,
that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working
whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
We want to be changed. We want to be fashioned into that glorious image of
Christ. We do not want to spend our time in the conversation of the world. Our
hearts and desires are in heaven. We want all of our evil inclinations subdued
We must exhort one another, and exhortation is not pleasing to the flesh. It is
not easy to go to a friend and exhort him and tell him, Look, you should not do
that. When we see that never-dieing souls are working out their eternal
damnation and becoming “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,” then it
becomes more urgent than if their house was on fire. If your friend’s house was
on fire, would you not call him immediately and tell him? That is not as
important as if you see his soul is on fire for eternity.
We must learn to see what we read in Ezekiel 33:13: “When I shall say to the
righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness [that
is, in his experience], and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not
be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for
Even though he may claim to be a Christian, if he is walking in sin, all of his
past righteousness is of no value because he has departed from the living God by
an evil heart of unbelief. This is what we must exhort for.
Many people claim their salvation in their experience. They feel that God has
blessed them in that experience, and now they think they have salvation. Then
they turn away from God.
Balaam was very rich in experience. He was widely known as a prophet of the
Turn with me to Numbers 23:5: “And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and
said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.” The Lord spoke to Balaam.
Balaam was a messenger of the Lord, but that did not mean he was saved.
We read in Numbers 24:2-5: “And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel
abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon
him. And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and
the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of
God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his
eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!”
See the rich experience of Balaam. See how close he was to the Lord. He saw the
beauty of the righteous. He saw the beauty of serving God. He saw how precious
it was for those who die in Christ. Look at Numbers 23:10: “Who can count the
dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death
of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”
Balaam was a man rich in experience, but he was not saved.
We see in Revelation 2:14 that the Lord Jesus Christ is warning against the
doctrines of Balaam. “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast
there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a
stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto
idols, and to commit fornication.”
He is warning us against making a religion out of our experience and not walking
with the Lord. Balaam was guilty of gross sin in spite of how close he walked
with the Lord, and in spite of how much it appeared that he was a God-fearing
The danger of the doctrine of Balaam was not a lack of experience, but it was
his “evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” as we see in 2
Peter 2:14-17: “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;
beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices;
cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray,
following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of
unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with
man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water,
clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved
This was why Balaam was not saved. He forsook the right way. He knew it. He had
walked in it, but he turned from it, and he became hardened in sin. He wanted
that which he could gain for the flesh with unrighteousness, and he perished.
Balaam was destroyed eternally, even though he had all this rich experience,
because he departed from the living God through the deceitfulness of sin.
We must be careful. I am not a stranger to rich experiences, and certainly I am
thankful to the Lord for every rich experience I have had of His nearness and of
His love, but that is not the basis upon which I can claim salvation. Balaam had
it all and still perished.
The Lord Jesus says, If you hear my sayings and do them, then you are building
on the rock, walking in the ways of the Lord.
This is why we are admonished in our text, “But exhort one another daily, while
it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of
This is so urgent because every step our poor, unbelieving brother takes in
departing from the living God makes his recovery all the more difficult. The
more we depart the more hardened we become, and the more difficult it is to gain
them back. This is why we must exhort daily.
The deceitfulness of sin has such a hardening effect, which causes one to loose
his love for the truth. Balaam, I believe, loved the truth, but he lost it by
departing from the living God. We must be careful not to lose our love for the
truth. This places us beyond the reach of the voice of exhortation.
Turn with me to 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12: “Because they received not the love of
the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them
strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned
who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
This is why Balaam was damned. He had pleasure in unrighteousness.
It would not be as important to warn a brother that his house is on fire as it
would be to warn him if you see him departing from the living God, because his
soul is at stake.
As we see our text in context, let us be admonished with Hebrews 3:15-19: “While
it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the
provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that
came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not
with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom
sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed
not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Unbelief is departing from the living God. Faith is walking in the ways of God.
Who can you find to tell of more or richer experiences than the children of
Israel? They were brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. They could stand on
the banks of the Red Sea, and they could sing the songs of redemption. They were
able to go through the wilderness and that Rock, which was Christ, followed
them. They drank from the rock. They saw God descend on Mount Sinai, and they
felt the mount shake. They heard the voice of God as a man speaks with his
Look at what they had seen of God, and yet they rebelled.
So what was their sin of unbelief? It was departing from the authority of God’s
Word after having seen so many deliverances from His hand.
I want you to turn with me to Deuteronomy 29:2-3: “And Moses called unto all
Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes
in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his
land; The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those
You have seen all of this and you still have a wicked heart of unbelief. You
still refuse to obey. That is why they were destroyed. That is why they were
damned, not because they lacked experience, but because they refused to obey.
They departed from the living God with a wicked heart of unbelief.
I am sure that many of those Israelites who perished in the wilderness could
tell of experiences that you and I would never dare to claim, but they perished
in unbelief, in rebellion.
With all this experience they were the more accountable, yet they believed not.
We read in Deuteronomy 9:23: “Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea,
saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled
against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor
hearkened to his voice.” They refused to obey even after they saw Him destroy
the Egyptians and how He had delivered them 40 years in the wilderness and
promised to them the Promised Land.
See how important it is that we understand the authority of God’s Word. When we
rebel against the Word of God, we are departing from the living God with a
wicked heart of unbelief.
The Lord calls to us daily, like He did to Cain, where is your brother? Where is
your sister? Where are your father and mother? Where are your neighbors? Are
they walking on the broad road to hell? Are you doing something to reach out to
try to warn them?
Genesis 4:9 says: “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And
he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”
I want to ask you, Are you your brother’s keeper? It was Cain, a murderer, who
replied, Am I my brother’s keeper? He had just slain his brother.
We are our brother’s keeper. The first message I had on this subject, I
explained the scriptures that call on us to be our brother’s keeper. We have a
responsibility. If they depart from their righteousness and you do not warn
them, their blood is on your head.
Our text says in Hebrews 3:13: “But exhort one another daily, while it is called
To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Do not wait until tomorrow. They may not be here anymore. You may not have the
opportunity tomorrow. They may not be within the sound of your voice. They may
have become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin and no longer be within
your reach. Every passing day that we neglect exhorting our brother who is
departing from the Lord through an evil heart of unbelief, he becomes all the
more “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Satan goes about as a roaring
lion seeking whom he may devour through his deceit. Sin is so deceitful.
I want you to see what we read in Matthew 24:24: “For there shall arise false
Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch
that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
There is such a blessed consolation for those whom the Lord has chosen, although
now in this lifetime we are often bowed down with heaviness through manifold
We have a consolation here. It is not possible to deceive the very elect. God
sits above it all, and He will not allow His elected to be deceived, but we have
to live by the revealed will of God, and the revealed will of God is that we
must exhort one another.
If the Lord is going to save my brother, and He has ordained that He is going to
use me to do it, and I do not do it, the Lord will use another means, but He
will call me to account. Then I must give an account because I have neglected
the duty, the call, of the gospel.
We have such an assurance for those whom the Lord has chosen, that they will
never be deceived.
I have eight children, and sometimes my heart falters when I see the
deceitfulness of sin, and I see how crafty Satan is. Then sometimes I see that
they have gone beyond the call of my voice: Daddy, we are grown up now.
Then I have this consolation that we see here in 1 Peter 1:3-6: “Blessed be the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth
not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through
faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly
rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through
The Lord has preserved, and He has protected all His own. He has preserved them
in Jesus Christ.
These verses are the comfort I have for my children, my brothers and sisters and
for all of God’s people. They are kept by the power of God. The Almighty, with
His restraining grace, will spare them. He uses you and me as His instruments to
warn them. This is the calling He has given us. The fact that He says He will do
it does not excuse you and me. This does not mean that we may neglect our duty.
We have many struggles in this life, and many times we have to struggle against
the powers of sin, but we have that blessed consolation that He will keep us
through His power. This is where we have our comfort. This is where we have our
We may not govern our lives by the secret will of God, but we do have such a
blessed consolation in our heavenly Father’s unchanging love.
I cannot say, Well, if God is going to save my son, He is going to do it, so let
him go ahead and drink the rest of his life. That is not the will of God. The
will of God is that he walk in the ways of the Lord, and that if I see him
walking in a way that is not right, that it is my duty to warn him. That is the
revealed will of God.
Jonah had to go and warn Nineveh. The secret will of God was that they were
going to repent, but Jonah presumed upon this.
We read in Jonah 4:1-2: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very
angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this
my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish:
for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of
great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.”
Jonah presumed upon the secret will of God, and he disobeyed God’s revealed
will. Do not get caught in that. The revealed will of God is that we must exhort
daily as their soul is dependent on it because that is the means God uses to
bring them in.
We have a blessed consolation in our heavenly Father’s unchanging love. I want
you to see this in 2 Timothy 2:19: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth
sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
The Lord knows who are His. He has chosen them from eternity, and not one will
ever be lost. His revealed will is to warn them. If the Lord’s secret will is
that He is going to save them, that is His secret will, and we may not impose
upon that. We cannot govern our lives around His secret will. We must obey His
If everything depended on you or me, we could have our hands on the door knob of
heaven and still go from there straight to hell because we would still fall
short. Our only hope and expectation is on the fact that Christ has done it all,
and the fact of God’s eternal, electing love, which He has given us as that
Continuing in verses 20 and 21 we read: “But in a great house there are not only
vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to
honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he
shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet [that is, fit in character]
for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
We are made fit in character by the work of sanctification, by the work of
regeneration, by the work of grace.
Just say that this afternoon, the Lord may have used this very message to save
someone. Do I take the credit? No. The Lord has called me to preach the gospel,
but in the foolishness of preaching, He has chosen to save some. That is His
secret will. I must obey. I must preach the gospel.
Now, if I would come back and say, Lord, I do not think anyone is going to be
saved this afternoon, so I disobey and sit in the bar all afternoon.
The Lord is warning us against an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the
revealed will of God. We must obey the revealed will of God, because it may have
been God’s eternal purpose that this very afternoon some person may have had an
arrow shot that struck his heart, and the Lord used it for his conversion. If
that was the Lord’s secret will, would I have been just in leaving it to others
and going about my way? No, that is not the revealed will of God. The revealed
will of God is that we do what He tells us to do.
Along with such blessed consolation also comes this admonition in 2 Timothy
2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,
peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
This is my evidence of salvation. It is not the cause of it. I am not going to
earn salvation by anything I do. When my heart has been changed, and the Lord
has given me new desires and worked grace in my soul, my evidence is that I flee
all unrighteousness, and I associate with others who do the same. This is my
evidence that I love God. I cannot spend my time with people who are cursing and
swearing and using God’s name in vain. They are enemies, because they blaspheme
the name of the God I serve.
My evidence that I am of God, that Christ is formed in me is that I desire to
follow righteousness. I have faith and I have charity, that is, I speak of my
brother in the best possible light. I do these things because I love God.
Following after righteousness includes the admonition that is synonymous with
our text. Galatians 6:1 says: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye
which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
I must have a spirit of meekness in order to restore him. The Lord Jesus told
Peter before Peter cursed, swore and denied he ever knew Christ, When you are
converted, strengthen your brethren. Then Peter could come in a spirit of
meekness. Before this, he was so big and proud. He could claim, I will follow
you to death, and I will do all these things.
After he learned to know the evil and the plague of his own heart, then the Lord
turned and looked on him with a look of love. Then he could come in a spirit of
meekness. He could now come to his brother and say: Oh, be careful, I know how
slippery those places are because I have been there, and I fell. I know what it
is to feel so strong in myself, and then find out what a fool I made of myself.
Do not do these things. I know how painful they are.
That is the spirit of meekness. I am not standing above you. I am not telling
you that I am too good to fall in the sin I am telling you you are in. I am just
telling you I have been there. I know what the lessons are. Do not do it. I know
how grievous it is. I know what it is to go out and weep bitterly.
Believe me friends, I am not a stranger to this. I know what it is to weep
bitterly over having done something that was done in just a thoughtless moment.
I can look back and think what a fool I was for being able to be so thoughtless,
and then I can see the fruit of one of my own children and what the consequences
The Lord sometimes lets that weight hang there a while before He turns and gives
us that look of love.