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I'm always intrigued by the phrase some parents and care-givers use with children: "Now children, we need to use our 'indoor' voices."

What Ephesians 4 is saying is that when in the church (not the building) we need to use our "in Jesus" voices.

Those voices need to lift up, not tear down.

And this command is repeated elsewhere in Scripture:

· "...encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13

· "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

This is so important to God that He not only expects us to encourage one another, God Himself is willing to show us how it should be done.

Now, I don't often use Greek from the pulpit... but this is intriguing. The Greek word - translated "encourage" in these passages is "parakaleo." Say it with me: parakaleo".

It means to "call someone alongside" so that you can comfort them/ strengthen them.

Now, what's really interesting is that (in the Gospel of John) Jesus made us a promise:

"... I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor ("paraklatos") will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7

Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit who lives inside us once we become Christians. Acts 2:38 says that when we repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins we receive... "the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Everyone of us who is a Christian has the Holy Spirit inside of us. And the word Jesus uses to the describe God's Spirit (in the Gospel of John) is "paraclatos". "Paraclatos" described someone who would "come alongside you".

Now why does the Holy Spirit come alongside us?

Because God gave us His Spirit to comfort and encourage us.

That is one of the major roles of the Holy Spirit.

So, God wants us to "parakaleo" each other (come alongside)

And God sends His Spirit as a "paraklatos" us (One who comes alongside)

In other words: God not only believes we ought to encourage one another, He Himself is committed to encouraging us as well.

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