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Encourage

Encouragment  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro
Did you know that the Greek word “encourage,” parakaleo, appears 105 times in the New Testament. This means that throughout the Bible we see instructions to encourage one another and verses that are meant to encourage us. Why is encouragement emphasized in the Bible? Primarily because encouragement is necessary to our walk of faith.
Somehow, encouragement has become confused with complimenting or praising others. While praise can be part of encouragement, it doesn’t cover the full meaning of the word. We often think of encouragement as saying nice things to others to make them feel good about themselves, but this is closer to the definition of a compliment. Encouraging someone can mean you’re giving them support or confidence, but is also means that you’re helping to develop something in them.
When the Bible talks about encouragement, it usually means that one is calling someone to their side in order to teach, comfort, strengthen or push them to act in a certain way. There are a few other words in the Bible that have similar meaning, such as exhort, warn or admonish, but they are mostly used in Paul’s letters. People who encourage others say with love what a person needs to hear, when they need to hear it–even if it isn’t what the person wants to hear. So tonight I want you to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness,” tells us. says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other, just as in fact you are doing.”

Encouragement in Action: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Jesus did not shy from telling His followers about the troubles they would face. In fact, He told them the world would hate them (; see also and ). But Jesus’ grim forecast was tempered with cheer; He followed His prediction of trouble with a sparkling word of encouragement: He has overcome the world. Jesus is greater than any trouble we face.
Without encouragement, hardship becomes meaningless, and our will to go on wanes. The prophet Elijah struggled with discouragement (), and so do we. It is important to remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (). This truth makes encouragement all the more important. It is not just that we face the world’s displeasure; we are caught in the cross-hairs of a spiritual battle. When we are encouraged in Christ, we have strength to put on our spiritual armor and remain steadfast (see ).
Even in places where Christians do not experience overt persecution or hatred, we all know that life can be difficult. Discouragement is not an uncommon human experience. At times, recognizing that there is meaning in the seemingly inconsequential things we do seems next to impossible. We may want to give up. Yet He who calls us is faithful, and He gives us the power to be faithful, too ().

Encouragement makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the word. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

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We must choose whose methods to use, God’s or the world’s
Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons-prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are powerful and effective .

Encouragement makes it easier to love as Jesus loved. “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love is an attitude that reveal itself in action by helping when it’s not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back.
This kind of love is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know you are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Encouragement gives hope. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope.”

Paul states a great truth concerning the purpose of scripture, it was written for our instruction, so that as we patiently endure we might be encouraged to hold fast our hope in Christ
The knowledge of the Scripture affects our attitude toward the present and the future. The more we know about what God has done in years past, the greater the confidence we have about what He will do in the days ahead.
Encouragement helps us through times of discipline and testing. “And have you completely forgotten this world of encouragement that addresses you as a father address his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you.”
His discipline is a sign of deep love for us.
When God corrects you see it as proof of His love, and ask Him what He is trying to teach you.

Encouragement nurtures patience and kindness. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is not law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with it passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Love is the greatest quality. Joy is rejoicing in God’s salvation. Peace is the product of God reconciled sinners to Himself. Forbearance shows that we are following God’s plan and timetable rather than our own. Kindness means showing goodness, generosity, and sympathy toward others.
Goodness means working for the benefit of others, not oneself. Faithfulness means consistently doing what one says one will do. Gentleness is a submission to the will of God, teachable, and consideration of others. Self-control is the discipline given by the Holy Spirit that allows us to resist the power of the flesh.
Conclusion
Encouragement makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom. In short, encouragement makes it easier to live the Christian life. Without encouragement, life would soon feel pointless and burdensome. Without encouragement, we can be overwhelmed by the very real pains of our lives. Without encouragement, we feel unloved. Without encouragement, we begin to think that God is a liar or is unconcerned with our welfare. So, the Bible tells us to encourage one another, to remind each other of the truth that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured, that our struggles are worth it. Encouragement from the Bible gives us the will to carry on. It is a glimpse of the bigger picture. It can prevent burn-out. It can save us from believing lies. Encouragement helps us experience abundant life (). So let our encouragement take actions so we can live in this fallen world, make it easier to love as Jesus loved, give hope, helps us through times of discipline and testing, and give us patience and kindness. says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” God’s Word is full of encouragement. Pleasant words, indeed. Pray and have the congregation encourage each other.
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