02 Feb 2016

One Anothering


Hebrews 10:24-25 One Anothering Pastor Jason Lim 31 January 2016 "God called you to be the church, not just gather in a room and listen to a sermon. " Francis Chan. Christians are called to the "one anothers" of the Bible. There is nothing "super" about "superficial". Growing deep relationships and helping one another grow deep is the will of God. Find out how in this simple sermon! Slides

Hebrews 10:24-25
One Anothering
Pastor Jason Lim
31 January 2016

"God called you to be the church, not just gather in a room and listen to a sermon." Francis Chan.Christians are called to the "one anothers" of the Bible.There is nothing "super" about "superficial".Growing deep relationships and helping one another grow deep is the will of God.Find out how in this simple sermon! Slides Audio

Sermon Transcript

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And today we are in the New Testament book of Hebrews, and in particular, we are looking at Hebrews chapter 10 and Hebrews chapter 10 is about how we gather together as a church. We are going to look at verses 24 and 25, where it says, "And let us to consider, how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near". So, this passage talks about what it means to meet together, as a church.

Well, there are three pastors in the United States who were talking together and they had a common problem. The problem is that they had bats that are infesting their church building. So the first pastor says, “These bats are so difficult to get rid off, I even use a shotgun to fire them, but all I did was to create more holes in my ceiling." The second Pastor says, "Yah, they are so difficult. I trapped them, I drove them 50 miles away, but by the time I drove back the bats flew back faster than I could." The third pastor says, “Well, I've done something and they are no more with us". “Huh? You are able to get rid of the bats, what did you do?” "Well, I simply baptized them and made them members of my church, and I've not seen them ever since."

You know there are people today who are professing believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, but you don't see them in church. They sort of go hiding, it's almost like a pastor, who met one man who comes only for Christmas and says, “Hey, John, I'm so glad to see you for Christmas." "You know John, you really should be in the Lord's army." John says, "I'm already in the Lord's army, what are you talking about?" "Well, but why John do I only see you once a year in Christmas". "Pastor, I'm in the Lord's army, but I'm in the Secret Service." No Secret Service agents allowed in the kingdom of God, we all are to be faithfully honoring the Lord and I think it refers here partially to how we gather on the Lord's day.

This has been a time honored tradition for some 2000 years. Christians all over the world gather on the Lord's day, they meet together to worship, to praise God, to hear His Word and I think this is something that is valuable to our spiritual lives. We need it, I think it glorifies God, it honors Him and I hope every Saturday night before you come to church on Sunday, you will look something like this, "Yay, church is tomorrow", all excited about it

But let me say this, while it is true that this meeting together can and does and should refer to our Sunday morning worship. I don't think this is all it refers to. Traditionally, preachers, pastors, we love to have Hebrews 10:24 25, preached to encourage people to attend church, and don't miss church, don't skip church for whatever other reason, but I think there's more to it than that. This is not just about church service attendance on Sunday. It's about meeting together to do the one anothers. Now you've got to be true to the text.  Actually it never really says, attend a service at Novotel er, no, no not Novotel, we are at Furama sorry, Furama Riverfront hotel. It doesn't mention it but it does say you need to meet together so that you can stir up one another and you can encourage one another. By the way, on Sunday morning, it is very hard to do the one another, it's very hard for this one and a half hours to have one another. It is really more uni-directional where I share with you, you hear from the pastor or are led by the worship leader. The one anothers are what Hebrews 10:24,25 has to be concerned with.

So it's not just about you being faithful, coming to sit in rows. God's Word wants us to be faithful to sit in circles where our eyes meet one another's eyes where we are interacting and giving and receiving, we are doing one another to someone and someone is doing one another to me, where I serve you, you serve me, where I encourage you, you rebuke me. When I am bearing your burdens and you support me. There is that one another dynamic Hebrews 10:24,25, is really focusing about.

Francis Chan, he says, God called you to be the church, not just gather in a room and listen to a sermon. So often we think Hebrews 10:24, oh, OK I'm just going to church and listen to a sermon. No, it's be the church, you are the church. You serve, you encourage, you do, you love one another.

So this morning, I'm going to share with you, Hebrews 10:24,25 I think most titles I've read is why you should go to church. Today, I'm just to say no it's not just about that, although it's included, it's about one anothering. Now I know this is not an English word, but just to let you know it's about doing the one another, one anothering, not just in rows, but in circles, in community groups, in small groups like this. What should it look like.

Let me show you a video.

Are you tired of small groups always getting into your business, trying to get you to share your feelings discuss your past, confess your sins.. Are you just looking for a place to kick it, network. Maybe get some free grub, me too. That's why I created what I believe to be the world's first openly shallow small group. We are not here to deal with messy stuff like feelings and emotions. You've got problems, you deal with it, you're an adult, life ain't easy so stop at any party, we all have our issues. We don't really want to do life together. Frankly shallow small group, we try not to do much of anything at all. You'll never hear us use the term, unpack that thought, for sure it's packed away for a really good reason. You'll never hear us use the term accountability unless we are talking about someone who deals with numbers. Hey dude, thanks for doing my taxes, you've great accountability. And spiritual growth? Who wants growth, I had a growth removed last week, it wasn't pleasant. There's no pressure here to remember each other's names. How is it going, we know you have a name, that's the important thing. Group discussion -  you've got tickets for a big game, sweet let's spend some time on that. You and your wife are struggling financially, there's tension in the relationship… there's not really the Bible going for. We avoid conflict like the plague and there will never ever be an awkward silence. That's our guarantee to you. We hate that theology as much as the next guy and we know the surest way to prevent that theology is to avoid theology altogether. And outreach? This is the only outreach you'll ever have to do. Some people say we're superficial, but hey, the word ‘super' is in superficial, I mean, who doesn't want to be super? Shallow small group, because when things get too deep, people drown. Won't you join us?

Well, he says that there's something so wonderful about being superficial because it is the word super there. But there's anything but super in superficial. He says spiritual growth, who wants growth, I had a growth removed last week, it wasn't pleasant. God, however, wants us to grow and the reason why we will gather together in community, is to stir up one another to love and good works. So I want to say, being in community is not just to do nothing, not just to eat and drink. Being together in community is for this goal, that God wants us to love one another and help one another to love and to good works.

So how do we do this, how can we have meaningful small groups that practice the one anothers in such a way, we are stirred up to love and to good works. Today's sermon is extremely simple actually, there are just three words, I want to focus on, three action words that you can consider for your own life. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you have to make a call, a decision, a choice, if you will be a part of such gospel communities. But the three words are this number one is the word, consider, very simple. The Bible says let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Thinking, it begins there. We think small group begins the moment people walk into the room. No, small groups begin before that, it begins with considering, thinking about someone or something. The word consider in the Greek is actually very simple. It's not wrong it's well translated into the word consider, but it is also to perceive, to discover, to observe, to understand, to fix our eyes or mind, to be attentive, because you can't really do meaningful one anothers, if you are all thinking about myself, right. You can only do one another, if you are thinking about someone else. So you, you've got to realize focus has to be off myself and I have to consider, pay attention, look at somebody else's life before meaningful relationships, love and community can take place.

In shallow small groups, they say, we don't have the learn about one another's names. In shallow small groups, they say we are not here to deal with messy stuff like feelings and emotions, you go and deal with it yourself. Well, it's the total opposite of being considering others and their needs, it is the total opposite. So small groups consider because you want to go deep into people's lives as best as you can. Now that means you have to think about someone in their various struggles, the issues, their problems, their circumstance. It means you have to spend time knowing someone. You see, small groups or community groups to fulfill Hebrews 10:24,25 is not just people gathering together for a Bible study and then we leave after that, you have not known anyone, you have not looked at their lives, you have not had the opportunity to behold. So it begins with taking time to hear, to listen to one another, that's necessary. I think it involves also thinking of how we can encourage someone and spur someone on to higher ground. It may be thinking about what verse to share, thinking about what books you can recommend. Maybe, thinking about when I can meet up with my brother or sister to talk about this issue that I realized in his life. It may mean that we sign up for a conference together, go on a mission trip together, serve God, in this ministry together. That's what it means to think about someone. It may also involve thinking about your own model, your own example in life.

I think is very natural because to me, a person who demonstrates what it needs to consider someone very well, is my wife. She thinks about the kids a lot. She, she doesn't do parenting only way she meets them, but she's always thinking about what they have to go through, their strengths,their weaknesses thinking about programs they can be sent to, thinking even about herself in how she relates with them. Just take for example, Shawn, one of them, we have two sons . Just for Shawn. I think Winnie has to be aware of Shawn's mathematics curriculum is, is he learning multiplication now, where is he at, she has to think about his Chinese Ting Xie, what are the words, he has to learn. She has to think about the his err CCA, what CCA to go for, she has to think about the ukulele lesson he is taking. By the way, my wife has to learn ukulele with her left hand so that she can teach him because he's left-handed. This is what it means to consider. It's a mind off yourself to a mind on to someone else.

So what is care group?  You know, in our church we have community groups called care groups. People ask, what is care group about, is care group just about eating? I say no, please, if it is just about eating don't call it a care group, call it a makan group, call it a foodies group, whatever it is, but it is not a real care group. A care group fulfills Hebrews 10:24,25, where we are to think about someone else and we are helping someone, everyone, if possible, grow spiritually. But at the very same that care group is not a Bible study, because the Bible study can be all of us just sitting together, someone going through the verses and have no understanding of the lives and the struggles of the person sitting beside you. That's not considering one another, isn't it? So often we are focused on finishing a curriculum, a program, a book that we may have neglected. That's not what a care group ought to be Hebrews 10:24,25. I am a teacher by nature, that's my passion, that's the way God wired me and so in my care group the propensity is always truth. Bible, what does this mean, how does this apply to you and it's only that, with the journey of time, I realized that's not what people need only, they need to get together to hear from one another, to share and to be able to support each other. And so recently we have more time for ladies to share their struggles, guys to share struggles? I don't know, guys don't open up that much but ladies, guys you share and get to know one another's lives and hopefully that allows us to get closer to what Hebrews 10:24,25 is. So let me ask you today in your life, are there opportunities for you to gather in a small group, in a care group in the gospel community where you could do the one another. How do you do it? Point number one, you consider. Number two, a second word in this text is the word stir up. So what do care groups do? Well, we help one another in love, to love and good works, provoke them to love and good works. So, number one, we have to consider, think about one another, and then number two, we got to stir up one another.

The word stir up is literally to poke, with something sharp. It's a very uncomfortable word and in Greek literally means to provoke, to irritate, to agitate. Now please understand this is not provoking someone so that he gets angry. No, it's provoking someone so that he gets moving. As I shared, it's like a lazy cow just don't want to do anything until you poke him so that he moves a little you poke him so he gets moving. So, the irritation is not for anger, but to get someone to step out of his comfort zone and begin to take steps of faith towards growth. Care groups, ideally should be rather uncomfortable environments. Have you thought about that? Sometimes, we plan care groups to be something very pleasant and easy, but biblically speaking, actually doing the one anothers do require discomfort and some kind of unpleasantness because you provoke, you irritate. Now in shallow small groups, they say, we avoid conflict like a plague. We do not want to say difficult things, we don't want to have arguments and bickering. In shallow small groups they say, you never hear the term accountability, don't ask people those uncomfortable questions. But, the Bible says you are to do that, you are to provoke. You have to ask difficult questions, such as how is your Bible reading like this week, how's your prayer life like? Now nobody likes to be asked this question right? So intrusive, so uncomfortable, but you know what that's what it is all about. How's your thought life, how are you struggling with sexual purity? Wow Pastor, that one too uncomfortable lah, come on lah. I don't know - this is what the Bible says it, it sometimes gets very uncomfortable, but it's good for me and it may even refer to how we say difficult things to someone.

I always remember a brother in this church, where I was having a conversation with, and he was sharing about struggles in church. And I shared with him, why I think he struggled and he said to me, why didn't you tell me this earlier? I couldn't give an answer, and he said, you didn't love me enough to tell me earlier. And he's right. I probably was avoiding conflict, I probably was not willing to go through that difficult moment to tell something unpleasant but a real community that loves one another is willing to poke and make things uncomfortable, if necessary. In fact, all the way back in Leviticus 19:17, it says you shall not hate your brother in your heart but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. When you don't rebuke someone you're not, when you don't rebuke someone because that's sin, you're not showing love. Real love does not allow the person to keep on sinning. Real love is willing to do the painful to save the person from the sin. So care groups, community, gospel communities, are willing to do that.

You might have heard about the story of Odysseus in the Odyssey. Heard of that? When I was very young, I would see a picture book on it, and Odysseus, this is a Greek mythology or legend of course, Odysseus is on the way back home. He is sailing with his fellow men. But on this odyssey back home, he has to pass by the island of the Sirens. The sirens are half woman half bird creatures, maybe akin to mermaids, half woman, half bird, they are on this island of sirens and they sing beautifully and this is the mechanism of destruction. They allure sailing men, that they may go mad with desire hearing their songs and they will sail towards the island and crash their ships upon the rocks and then the sirens would feast upon them. So, Odysseus knows that he's going to pass by the island of the Sirens but he wants to hear the sirens singing.

So what he did was that he got some beeswax molded into small pellets, shoved it into the ears of all his other men. But he himself, he said, tie me to the mast of the ship, I want to hear them. And he says to them, I know that when I hear the sirens, I will go mad with desire, I'll say and I'll do everything I can to get our ship towards them. But when you hear me say, let me go then you tie me even tighter. What Odysseus is saying is, do to me what I need and not do to me what I want. Do to me what I need and not do to me what I want. That's what a care group is all about. Say to me what I need, and not say to me what I want. Provoke me, agitate me, ask me, those deep questions, those uncomfortable questions, it may be, give me the term accountability. It is extremely uncomfortable, it's painful, but at least I don't get shipwrecked in my life. Tell me that premarital sex is wrong so that I don't ruin my life, tell me that bitterness against my spouse is wrong, lest I ruin my life. Tell me my love for this world is wrong, lest I ruin my life. Tell me, that's why we band together as the gospel community.

So, where are your band of brothers as you take your journey home, homeward bound towards heaven? We live in, or near the island of sirens. Sirens are everywhere, you realise that? They are crying out to us, alluring us with, and causing us to be mad with desire over the things of this world. And that's why God has given us the church to keep one another, eye steadfastly, upon Jesus Christ. So we need to stir up, provoke, make things uncomfortable, sometimes.

But a third word we are going to look at is the word encourage. Now beautiful balance, you think about someone, sometimes you need to poke him, sometimes you need to come and in the Singapore language, we need to come and sayang him, we need to come and be with him encourage him, that's the word. The word there really is to comfort, to console, to strengthen. In Greek, it really is parakleo which means someone call beside you. By the way, is the same word that is used for the name of the Holy Spirit in the book of John, John 14 to 16. The Holy Spirit is someone who comes alongside us, and therefore, in the King James, it is called or he is called this name is called the comforter and we band together as brothers and sisters to comfort one another. Now there's that there's a beautiful balance. Sometimes you poke, sometimes you comfort. That's what it means.  We need one another in a Christian journey, it's never meant to be that you will live a Christian journey alone. And people coming alongside you give you strength and courage to move on.

I just received an email this week about someone in a care group after she heard the sermon last week, I share with permission. She said, I've been attending CG led by Daniel and Theresa and I enjoyed all of the meetings we had. We start with a dinner and I really admire how men always let ladies go first to fill their plates. Err this does not happen in my CG, the men always finish the sharing first and we go first. She goes on to say that night we split into men, women groups and people shared their prayer requests and some people shared quite intimate things and we cried together, at least the ladies did, not sure about the men and we prayed for each other and we encouraged each other. At the end of the meeting, I felt so much closer to the ladies at CG and I think all ladies felt so encouraged, because, as we shared our issues, other ladies shared how they faced similar issues in the past or they knew someone who struggles with similar issues currently.

Now what's so powerful about community is that we realize we are all in the same boat. We are all like Odysseus on the Odyssey and we all realize wow I'm struggling, I'm going mad with desire but so is he, so is she, I realise when we are together, I feel encouraged, because we know what it feels like, we know what it feels like to go through the same struggles. And there's something powerful when we get together and we share our common experiences and how we are encouraged in Christ. And so she says after that CG meeting I left with the impression that people, we all have a hunger for deep, not shallow, deep, meaningful, healing conversations with other Christians about their walks in life.

It's deeply healing and encouraging in gospel communities. But let me say this, I can give you the best sermon or best illustration, it's not the same as your brother or your sister beside you encouraging you, it's not the same and you don't get that, until you're willing to be in the gospel community, you're willing to experience the one another when you're willing to do it for someone and when someone is doing it for you, so encouraging. So the Bible says this is what you ought to be about — the Christian life, the life that is given to us from God because of Jesus should has it, should have this horizontal dimension of the one anothers, and the one anothers are not vague things that we are left to figure out ourselves, but very clearly, you start with your mind, you think about someone else, you pay attention, you observe them, you, you think about how to help them, and then in this group, you think about the questions and the rebuke, the reproves that you may have to give, and also how you can simply come alongside, maybe in prayer, maybe in a coffee session, maybe in the trip together in order to stir one another to love and good works. Now that means you have to meet together, that means you have to have a regular committed group, for you to be a part of, where you sit in circles and not just in rows.

A boy was saying to his dad asked now the 1st service was really good with the answers so I ask you, alright see the second service, how you do. A boy asked his dad this question, dad there are three frogs sitting on a branch.  One of the frogs wanted to jump, how many frogs are left behind, the answer two. The father, like you, answered two, son. And the son says daddy, you're wrong and that there is one frog that wanted to jump how many frogs would be left behind? The father says, aah I get it now one jumps the others two will also follow along,  so there will be zero yeah, I got it. The son says, no dad, you're wrong. Listen to me carefully, one frog wants to jump, how many are left behind? Three, because he only wanted to jump, but he never really jumped.

Are you a frog sitting on a branch and he hears a sermon like this, wah, it is good, I need to consider, I need to provoke, I need to encourage, I need to meet, but I want, I want, but I cannot lah, Pastor, you don't understand, I got so many things to do. You know, Singaporeans, very busy, I've got to work, I've got to cook, I've got to do this and that, I've no time to meet together. Well, this is important to God and I'll say to you, this is important for you, it is.

Real wisdom, folks, real wisdom is not knowing what to do. I say that again, real wisdom is not knowing what to do, real wisdom is doing what you are supposed to do. Why do I say that, Jesus said it himself. The fool heard, the sermon on the mount and he still chooses to build his house upon the sand. What's a wise man, a wise man is someone who hears all that he is supposed to do and he actually goes to build his house upon the rock. Real wisdom today is not for us to come and hear a sermon and say, I get your point, consider, stir up, encourage, I know all this and I said Amen. Real sermon is when we live that out from Monday to Saturday and Sunday. The sermon doesn't end with an Amen today alright. It will only end when you are living these qualities and values in our lives. And I will push it even further. Real obedience is not just the fact that you are technically in a care group and you actually go to a care group, it only works if you are fulfilling considering, stirring and encouraging. So God's standards are high, but as children of God, I trust you want nothing more than to be obedient to Him. Because you know, trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. You may be in Christ, in the faith for many years, you may have been attending service Sunday service every week, and you said, I'm faithful in coming to church, you may be serving in many ministries but are you faithful in the one anothers, one anothering as God has called you to. Well, he says this is important, this is vital especially when you see the day drawing near. So the motivation is not just the fact that Jesus came and died for you to bring us together into a gospel community, but the motivation is that your Savior who died for you then, is coming back for you one day, and that day is drawing ever nearer. The second coming is near and in the light of the great hope of his return we live out faithful obedient lives so, gather.

You know recently there was a snowstorm in the United States, the snowstorm of the century and I saw this picture, I thought it's cute for you to see. Are you telling me, the weatherman says snow is coming and everybody gets excited, but the preacher says Jesus is coming, and they just sit there. I love his face, unbelievable. That's his expression, I can't believe that Christians would hear and assent that Jesus is coming, but our lives absolutely do not reflect that. We love the things of the world, we listen to the song of sirens and we not serving, we are not living pure lives, we are not gathering to encourage one another. Doesn't makes sense, according to our friend here and I think it doesn't make sense to God too. The Bible says don't neglect this, don't neglect this. It's easy to neglect this, it's easy to think that gospel communities are optional stuff, for the more on the ball Christian or when my kids are grown up or when my life is more settled. Actually, I think these are times where you need gospel communities even more. You don't understand, the song of the Sirens.

Recently I had a meeting with a friend and he he knows I'm a pastor. He knows some members in our church and and I said they are all in my, some of the friends he mentioned, they are in my care group. He was shocked because hah, you mean you are leading a care group, I thought a pastor, no need to lead a care group. To him, care groups are kind of a program for the members, for me it's not a program, it's a biblical command. All the more because I'm the pastor, I need this and I want this. I say My friend, do you see that this is what God wants for you? This is so important, you know why, because if we don't meet together, there's a caution, caution, a threat actually. There's a caution and a threat that is written in Hebrews 10 and it goes all the way to the end of the chapter and we will come to that in due time. But it also says if you don't meet together, this is what may happen, you, you will go on sinning deliberately. You see without the men tying us to the mast we hear the song of sirens and we can be drawn nearer and nearer and nearer to the island of the Sirens and we crash upon the rock. And at the end of chapter 10, he actually says, but we're not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, there are people who actually shipwrecked their supposed faith because they have neglected the assembly together of the saints.

This is serious stuff, this is not optional stuff for you to consider. My friends, this is what you need to do this is not just about yourself, now some of you say, I'm a strong Christian, I'm fine, I don't need community. Have you thought about others who need you. Actually, this whole passage is written from the angle other people need you, they need you. We need one another, I need you to stir me, and to encourage me, you need the person beside you to stir you up and to encourage you. Christians, they say, are like coals, coals on fire. When coals are together they glow, but when they are kept apart, they grow cold. So let me ask you are you keeping one another warm with the flame of the Gospel or are you already neglecting to meet together? I want to say this, I'm not here selling care group as a program in Gospel Light. If you have a meaningful gospel community outside of this church with brethen from different churches and background, but that is a meaningful community, praise God for that you have. I hope by the grace of God, you have all your needs, these kind of needs met beautifully in the community, that's fine. But if you have zero, nothing at all, then maybe this is what you have to be considering today for yourself. You know the Acts church for today is the vision of Gospel Light. What did the Acts church do? They met in Pan Pacific Hotel and have a big service. No, they met from house to house, they did the one anothers. That's what one anothering is, that's what makes Acts church an Acts church. So, may the good Lord speak to you. Don't be the frog please, that sits only on a branch, take a step of faith today, trust God to meet you when you obey.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Real wisdom is not just knowing what to do. The devil also believes but he doesn't repent to commit his life to God. This is a straightforward, plain and simple message, but it is pointless to you if you are not willing to obey. We gather this morning to worship the Lord. We worship, not just with listening, but with doing. As far as I know many of you are in care groups, I praise God for that and if you're in care groups I say, don't just pat yourself on the back that you are in the group but would you endeavor this morning to ask God to help you grow in considering, provoking, encouraging. But if you're not in a care group, if you're not in a gospel community, hey, don't miss out. Don't miss out on why Jesus came to die. He came to give us community. As Wesley says, there is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian. That's what Jesus came to do, to bring you to be able to live in such communities where the world will see you love one another, and they will know then that you are His disciples. Wow, that you will be able to rejoice that the people in your care group, the brothers and sisters in Christ, help you, so that you may do what you need and not do what you want, so that you can be a blessing to a brother or sister who otherwise would have struggled without you. My friends, Jesus our Lord is coming again. Would you be ready for His return? This is one aspect of what it means to be ready.
So take this time and think for yourself and respond to Him in prayer. What does God want me to do today? What is this sermon about today? The song of sirens — what an alluring tune, tie me to the mast, tie me to the mast, lest I go mad with desire and I crash my life upon the rocks. Oh brothers and sisters in Christ, tie me to the mast. Father, we thank You this morning. We pray that we will be people who will be wise, to build our house upon the rock. Let us know the priorities that we need to have that we may seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust that all these things will be added unto us. So I pray once again that Your Spirit will take Your Word and blessed to each and every heart today, trusting and obeying, knowing that there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Thank you. We pray all this in Jesus Name. Amen.

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