Summary: It is so easy to get discouraged, but the words that we say have such an impact on people. The church today needs encouragment, but how can we give and receive encouragment
“A Closer Look: Encouragement”
William Arthur Ward said, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”
Our words are one of the most powerful weapons that we have. With just a few words we can tear a person down and hurt them deeply, and with just a few words we can brighten someone’s spirits greatly and encourage them. Many people use that power that they have to harm people and others use it to build people up.
Have you ever met a person who is an encourager? Have you ever met a person who just builds you up every time you are with them, and you always leave feeling encouraged?
Let me tell you about Donny Merritt…Donny Merritt was an elder in the Lord’s church and had the spiritual gift of encouraging people. He could always see the good in a person and would point it out, and they would be encouraged to continue to grow. Every time I would preach Donny was the first person to greet me, and he would always tell me something that helped him, and he would encourage me to continue to preach. He was one of those people that helped me in my path to getting here. Sometimes the work of the Lord is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Sometimes it is hard because you wonder if you are making a difference in people’s lives, you wonder if people are changing. Donny would always encourage me that God’s Word never came back void and that I had helped him. It would have been easy for Donny to criticize the areas that I messed up and stuttered, and fell over my words. It would have been easy for him to tell me areas I could improve, but instead he found an areas to encourage me and I will always remember him as an encourager.
Perhaps you know a person that has helped to bring you to where you are now.
Throughout the week we can all have things that tear us down and upset us. We live in a fallen world, in which we daily have to come in contact with sin, and other things that can discourage us in our faith. Then you come to church on Sunday hoping for encouragement, you hope to be built up from the encouragement of God’s people, but instead you come into church and you hear people complaining about the things they don’t like at church, you hear people gossiping about other people, and you hear people who show no joy of being in Christ. You wonder why even come to church, the church is just like the rest of the world. The church is supposed to be a place for the hurting to find encouragement. Are you doing your best to encourage people in their faith? You will never know where a person has been and what has happened to them throughout the week and one discouraging word may seem harmless to you, but it may be detrimental to the faith of a brother or sister who has had a week full of discouragement. Hopefully, this morning we can take a closer look at encouragement, where we can find it and how we can give it. Please do not overlook the importance and impact of encouragement, because of our encouragement, people may be spurred on to do something great for the Lord. If you are here today and need encouragement, then I hope that within this message you can find a way to encourage and build up your faith.
Text: Hebrews 10:19-25
I. Encouraged by Faith
One way to encourage people in their faith is to have great faith in your own life. There is nothing that encourages and builds me up more than seeing other people living out their lives in faithfulness to Jesus. Sometimes I will be really down, and then I will see some great growth in someone and that will really build and lift me up. I am also encouraged by great men and women of the faith that display such a great godly attitude. There are many times I am down and tired and worn out and I come to church here and someone’s strong or growing faith in the Lord encourages me to serve the Lord more fervently.
In the early church many Christians had certain spiritual gifts that were given to them by the laying on of the hands by the apostles. Those gifts were primarily to prove that what they were preaching and teaching was truth. Their words about Jesus had to be accompanied by signs to prove it to the world. Those gifts were also to provide revelations to Christians who did not exactly know the order of the church and how they ought to live. As the completed Word of God came into existence there was no longer a need for those gifts, because the full revelation from God was available. The third reason for the spiritual gifts in the first century was that other Christians might be encouraged in their faith by the awesome demonstration of God’s power.