Summary: Encouragement has a two-fold emphasis: to comfort or reassure and to challenge or admonish. Discouragement tears down; Encouragement builds up. The question is "Are you an encourager or a discourager?"
ARE YOU AN ENCOURAGER OR A DISCOURAGER?
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting (encouraging) one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Introduction: In Hebrews 10:25 we are instructed by God to encourage or admonish each other as members of the Body of Christ. The Greek word for "encourage" may be translated as comfort, console, entreat, beg, implore, counsel, urge, challenge. Encouragement has a two-fold emphasis: to comfort or reassure and to challenge or admonish. Discouragement tears down; Encouragement builds up. The question is "Are you an encourager or a discourager?"
I. The Call to be an encourager.
A. The ministry of encouragement is always your calling as a part of the Body of Christ.
B. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (HCSB) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
C. Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.
D. Dante Bartiel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they, at least, showed potential talent. Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment. He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings—these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately enthused over the talent they revealed. "These," he said, "Ah, these are good. This young man, whoever he is, has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future, if he will work hard and stick with it." Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. "Who is this fine young artist?" he asked. "Your son?" "No," said the old fellow sadly. "It is me—40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then … for you see, I got discouraged and gave up—too soon." – Bits & Pieces, March 30, 1995
E. There is a distorted view that says Christians will never struggle in their faith and that they should never become discouraged or disheartened.
F. A reality check says – the Christian life is warfare, a battle, a struggle. As believers we fight against the world that excludes God; against the devil’s legions, temptations, and snares; and against our own old nature which raises doubts and fears. All these seek to discourage us and stunt us in our Christian experience.
G. When we come to the Assembly of God’s Family we need to find encouragement not discouragement.
H. Ephesians 4:11 - 12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ,
II. Are you an Encourager or a Discourager?
A. An Encourager sees the Possibility.
1. He or she is one who sees what God can do through others.
2. Remember in the Old Testament when the spies returned after seeing the Promised Land.
3. Numbers 13:30 - 33 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
4. An encourager has great vision. An effective encourager has the ability to see possibilities that others can not see. The ability to recognize the reality of circumstances, but not be limited by the immediate evidence.
5. Caleb was an encourager. He believed that it could be done. Unlike the discouragers who said, "We just can’t do it. It will never happen. I’m not going to have anything to do with it." Look at Caleb’s comment. He says, "Let US go up at once and take possession." This brings me to the next point…