Summary: On the Narrow Road of Jesus, we need one another.

Theme: Narrow Road Series

Purpose: We need each other

Strike while the iron is hot. Did you ever wonder what that means? The blacksmith heats his iron red-hot in the fiery forge. It requires time to heat the iron up and time for it to cool down once it is plunged into the cooling water. But, in between, is the single moment when the iron is perfectly ready, flexible enough, to be struck and pounded into the desired shape the blacksmith had in mind. “Striking while the iron” is hot means that opportunity is fleeting and we are only given a few moments in time to effect changes in others that could last a lifetime. One fleeting moment and the opportunity has past.

There was a man who, ousted from his profession for an indiscretion, took work as a laborer simply to put bread on the table. Near the end of the third week, he felt that he could take no more. “I’ll work till break time this morning,” he told himself, “and then that’s it. I’m going home. I just can’t handle any more of this.” A while later, he decided to finish out the morning and then leave at lunchtime.

Shortly before noon, the foreman came around with paychecks. As he handed the man his envelope, he told him. “Hey, there’s a woman working in the front office who says she knows you. Says she takes care of your kids at church sometimes.” When the laborer opened his envelope, he found, along with his check, a handwritten note: “When one part of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer with it. Just wanted you to know that I’m praying for you these days.” He stared at the note, astonished at God’s timing. He hadn’t even known the woman worked for this company. Here at his lowest hour, she had given him the courage to go on, to push another wheelbarrow of bricks up that ramp. (Dean Merrill, Another Chance, Zondervan, 1981, p. 138.)

Opportunity can only be grabbed from the front before it has past. Once it has past there is nothing to hold onto; it is lost. The Apostle Paul tells us, that we ought to

1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Hebrews 3: 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

One more, Hebrews 10:25 “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.”

What does it mean to encourage one another? Every encounter you have with people either builds them up or tears them down. You either inspire them to be better, or you provoke them to give up trying. You lift them, or you lower them. Their encounter with you leaves them blessed or burdened. So how can we who are the children of God learn to be be people-builders instead of people-wreckers?

Today, we’re going to talk about how to encourage one another, but first I think that we should start with prayer.

It’s pretty hard to overstate how important it is to be an encourager. The Greek word for encouragement is found 109 times in the New Testament. All through the Bible, the role of the encourager is celebrated.

In Romans 12:8, encouragement is listed as one of the gifts of the Spirit, did you know that on two occasions the Apostle Paul sent a man named Tychicus to different churches for the soul purpose of encouraging them.

In Colossians 4:8 says I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,

In Ephesians 6:22 says I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

Tychicus must have had the gift of encouragement. Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica for the purpose of encouraging the Christians there.

Hebrews 3: 13, the passage we noticed just a moment ago, says that one of the ways we avoid being hardened by sin is through the encouragement of others. Encouragement inspires us to be better people. It softens our hearts. It lifts our spirits. It draws us closer to God. So how can we fulfill this important command?

I’m putting the one that’s hardest for me first. Listen to Ephesians 4:2 , “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Be easy to please.

We tend to be tough on others and easy on ourselves. Few things are more discouraging to people that living with someone who can’t be pleased.

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