Amen – To Say or Not to Say, Part 6of6, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Hebrews 10:24-25, “24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (, NKJV)

This final part in our series on “amen” to say or not to say will focus on prayer and the word more directly, although it was certainly touched on in previous parts. Can you imagine if you just poured your heart out to someone, and there was no response? How would you know if your wife liked or disliked something you shared? If you were sharing something precious to you with another person, such as the birth of your new child in the world, can you imagine if they were indifferent to what you just shared, how discouraging that would be? Now think of the average prayer meeting. Many seem to become gossip sessions instead of prayer meetings when people say things like, “Oh Lord, help John Smith with his gambling issues, and to stop beating his wife,” when no one in the congregation knew that. Perhaps these things have only happened to me, but I doubt it. When we pray together, God should be the main focus, but you and I can certainly be “cheerleaders” and encouragers for someone that is pouring their heart out to the same Lord you pour yours out to. Where is the “amen” when we pray together? John Piper shares. “As others pray, you whisper, “Amen.” Whisper, “Yes, yes.” Whisper, “Umhm.” Whisper, “Do it, Lord.” I say whisper, partly because I want to make it easy for you, and partly because you’re not supposed to take over or draw attention to yourself. The murmur of quiet “Amens” and “Yes” and “Umhm” is like background music that supports the one who’s praying and joins him in the prayer. And at the end of a prayer a deeply felt “Amen” in unison is a powerful moment before the throne of grace.” Once again, it was this type of experience in the Lord, which drew me toward Evans. When he prayed, a volcanic eruption of agreement my “amen” began to spew forth from my heart, because there was agreement to what he was praying, and at that first encounter I did not even know Evans, but I did know the same Lord he knew. Honestly, I have a hard time really getting that sense of encouragement in prayer in most prayer gatherings, because the same heartbeat doesn’t seem to resonate. It’s easy to gather and to be routine and dead in a prayer gather, just going through the program type motions, but oh how awesome it is when people are in agreement together!

The above verse commands us to consider one another. The word “Consider” is the translation ofkatanoeo(κατανοεο) which speaks of attentive, continuous care. The exhortation is to take careful note of each other’s spiritual welfare. The purpose of this attentive, continuous care is to provoke each other to the exercise of love and good works. The word “provoke” is the translation ofparoxusmos(παροξυσμος) which means “an inciting, incitement, a stimulation.” The word is used also in a bad sense, for instance, “irritation.” Here it is used in its good sense, that of a stimulation. Vincent says: “The new economy demands mutual care on the part of the members of the Christian community … They must stir up each other’sreligious affections and ministries. Another way to translate it it, “And let us constantly be giving careful attention to one another for the purpose of stimulating one another to love and good works. ”[1]Do you consider one another in when you are praying together?

Where is the “amen “ when the word of God is preached? When I was looking for a church, one of the criteria I looked for was the centrality of the Word of God in exegetical preaching. This was not easy to come across. It is so much easier for pastors not to labor in study over the Word of God, but to get a sermon off the internet. How would I say “amen” when the Word was not being preached? There would be no stirring up, no encouragement to be a slave for Christ, no conviction to forsake sin, no challenge to live holy, no agreement that God’s Word really changes lives when obeyed. Thank God, Pastor Bill Kanych and John Cornachhio were both men that studied the Word. As a man that went to Bible college, and as one that studies God’s Word myself, I was able to judge if their preaching was biblical, exegetical, and God honoring.

Once again looking to the above scripture we see the word forsake, (10:25) “The word “forsaking” is the translation of egkataleipo (ἐγκαταλειπο) which means “to let down, to abandon.” “Assembling” is the translation of episunagoge (ἐπισυναγογε). The word is a compound of ago (ἀγο) “to go,” sun (συν) “with,” and epi (ἐπι). Sun (Συν) and ago (ἀγο) come over into English in the word “synagogue,” the meeting place of the Jews other than the temple at Jerusalem. Alford suggests two reasons for the addition of epi (ἐπι). It was used by the writer to take away the Judaistic sound of sunagoge (συναγογε). Or, it might point to the individual meeting places of the various assemblies. Some of the recipients of this letter were, under stress of persecution, absenting themselves from the Christian assemblies. They are exhorted not to egkataleipo (ἐγκαταλειπο), that is, let down in their attendance upon these meetings, or abandon them. They are, on the other hand to exhort each other to continued attendance, and in view of the fact of the approach of the time when the Lord would come. One can translate it this way, “Not letting down on the assembling of ourselves together, even as the custom of certain is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day drawing near.[2]We need to assemble together, like each piece of yarn to make the whole picture of the tapestry. How helpful are the pieces with being interwoven together? Imagine if a group of archeologists were on a dig, and one discovered an ancient city during their excavation. Would the others not gather around, and become excited, and want to get in on the good news. Then when a man of God is excavating the wonderful treasures found in God’s Word should we not also gather around the Word of God, and let him know that we are in agreement, and excited about the treasure he is sharing with us? We are to “stir” one another up which is the Greek word paroxusmos (παροξυσμός, 3948), “a sharpening of the feeling, or action” it causes the effect of irritation.” [3]We must stir one another by the Word of God…“AMEN!”

Let us stir one another to gather ESPECIALLY as the Day is approaching (when the Lord Jesus will return). His children with all creation will say “AMEN” at His return, and His enemies will be in peril, and curse His descending to the earth! “God knows this about worship and preaching. That is why for 4,000 years he has made it simple for us: he has prepared a word. “Amen.” There is no talk here about shouting or dominating or distracting. This is simply the call to make preaching and praying a corporate exultation in the supremacy of God. It is a call for authentic heartfelt expressions of “Yes” and “Amen.” (John Piper)” May “amen” mean more to you now than ever. Amen!

Blessings, until the nets are filled…Phil, the Evangelist <><

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