Summary: Message 34 in our James series. This message continues exploring the call to win the wayward through encouragement. This focuses on the manner of encouragement.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Anatomy of An Encourager”
The final two verses of James letter extol the value of encouraging wanderers from God’s ways to return to His ways.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
This wandering can be anything form a brief lapse to a full-blown defection. James clearly wrote earlier about the devastation of unaddressed sin.
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Anytime we draw someone back from their wandering, we save them from the consequences of sin. The writer of Hebrews prescribes preventative action in the church to prevent falling away or stumbling.
Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13
It is much better to prevent wandering than try to restore the wanderer. The action is encouragement. James observed that we ALL stumble in many ways. Therefore, we all need encouragement. I believe that the art of regular encouragement is the life blood of the church. The practice occurs over 150 times in the New Testament. Hebrews called for us to practice daily encouragement. It means to come along side. Encouragement involves words that bring Biblical or divine perspective in a world of difficulties.
Our words provide perspective, truth and hope, care, sympathy, inspiration. Words have the power to both heal and hurt. I call them life words and death words. Our words can provide divine perspective in a difficult circumstance. We can also encourage one another without words. Sometimes just our presence, our involvement, our connection inspires others. Encouragement provides community or comradery in a world of conflict. It means to come along side for the purpose of ministering.
A few weeks ago we surveyed the practice of encouragement.
• Do everything we can to regularly encourage one another.
• Gently restore
• Bear one another’s burdens.
• Have mercy on the doubting
• Snatch the perishing from the fire.
• Show mercy on the sinning
• Watch for the common traps
o Failure to appropriate grace
o Failure to forgive
o Failure to pursue eternal values
• Gently teach truth
• Lovingly seek restoration through meaningful conversation
• Avoid intimate association with the unrepentant
• Reaffirm love
• PRAY persistently
Doing the work of encouragement without the heart of an encourager bears little fruit and sometimes bring more damage than good. Today I want to explore several passages that focus on the manner we encourage.
Truth spoken without genuine love is like surgery with a skill saw instead of a precision scalpel. It may help cut out the infection but leaves a lasting scar. Coming along side another in their pain when we have never established a relationship of love only intensifies the pain. Scripture has a great deal to say about the way we relate to one another. Following are the Biblical characteristics of an effective encourager.
An effective encourager…
1. Comes along side in love
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
There are other motivations behind our words. Pride, anger, superiority. The motive is building the body.
So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12
What then, brothers? When you come together…Let all things be done for building up. 1 Corinthians 14:26
Make sure it is love.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Love seeks to heal not hurt. Love seeks to encourage not expose. Love seeks to give not take.
2. Comes along side in humility
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21