Sermons

Summary: This word, paraklesis, is used 29 times in the New Testament. What we learn from a study of this word is that an encouraged Christian is a positive functioning member of the body, but that a discouraged Christian is a malfunctioning member of the body.

Admiral Richard Byrd, the famous polar explorer, had

adventures of being lost and then found that are amazing. In his

book Alone, he tells of being alone for six months in his little shack

in 1934 living through a long Antartic winter. Every day he would

take a walk, but he would take a bundle of sticks with him which he

would push into the snow every 30 yards so he would have a guide to

get back to his shack. He would then pick them up as he returned.

One day he was out for a long walk and did not notice the drifting

that was taking place behind him. When he finally decided to return

he looked back and could not see his line of sticks. He knew

immediately he was in big trouble. He knew his life depended on

finding one of those bamboo sticks. He put up a pile of crusted snow

chunks to give him a point of reference. As he backtracked he kept

his flashlight on his reference point. But he cam to a point where he

could no longer see it. If he lost that and did not find a stick he was

doomed. He decided to take 30 more steps in the direction he was

going. On the 29th he found his first stick and his line. He was all

alone, but he was filled with joy and encouragement, for that

discovery meant he would live and not die.

Most of us do not experience that kind of dramatic rescue and

feel overwhelming joy at being spared a tragic death. But the fact is,

when we trust Christ we go from being lost and dying with no

direction to being found of God and saved with a destiny of heaven.

This ought to be the most joyous and encouraging fact in our lives as

Christians, and so Paul begins this second chapter of Philippians by

appealing to that encouraging reality of being united to Christ. He

writes, "If you have any encouragement from being united with

Christ...." Paul's if here is not the if of doubt, as if they might not be

encouraged at all by their being saved in Christ. It is an if-then

sentence he is writing. If such and such is so, then it follows that

such and such shall also be so. For example: If you love your

country, then you should vote. If you love your mate, then you

should be kind. Paul has a series of 4 if phrases here that set the tone

for Christians to have the right attitude that leads them to be truly

Christlike.

The if phrases are equivalent to, if there is any water in the sea,

or if there is any light in the sun. In other words, it is obvious that

each of these things are true. Paul is simply reminding Christians as

to why they are to make an effort to be Christians in their attitudes.

It is because of these values which we can easily take for granted,

but when we think of them, compel us to move toward Christlike

goals. When a Christian is being self-centered, demanding his own

way, and not contributing to the unity of the body, it is because he is

neglecting to consider these values that Paul says are the foundation

for a Christian attitude. Lets look at them and learn to think about

them so we can develop a Christian spirit.

I. ENCOURAGEMENT.

This word, paraklesis, is used 29 times in the New Testament.

What we learn from a study of this word is that an encouraged

Christian is a positive functioning member of the body, but that a

discouraged Christian is a malfunctioning member of the body.

Encouragement is like oil. It makes things run smoothly. The

encouraged Christian is the one who can give of self and foster unity

and harmony in the body. The discouraged Christian is looking to

take and not give. The one running on empty and needing the flow

to come from others to them is not bad. This is a part of the purpose

of the body. But they are takers in that state of mind and not able to

look beyond themselves to the interest of others. When self-need is

high one becomes a care-receiver and not a care-giver. This will be a

part of everyone's experience at some point, but the goal is to be a

healthy care-giver. This can only be when we are encouraged about

who we are in Christ.

Paul likes to use this word in a context of unity. Encouraged

Christians are united, but discouraged Christians tend to be divided.

From the frequent references in the New Testament, we know that

one of the hardest tasks of the church is to keep Christians united.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion
using System; using System.Web; using System.IO; ;