6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the 1 Thessalonians series, "Encouragement". What does the Model Encourager look like?

Series: Encouragement [#5]

BEING A MODEL ENCOURAGER

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Introduction:

Everyone needs someone to encourage them. So often, we are good at telling people their faults and how they can improve things; but we’re not very good at encouraging them to continue on. When things get tough, it is easy to want to quit; but often times, God can use someone just to be there in that time of need and use them as an encourager. God used Paul as an encourager to the Church in Thessalonica. Not only was Paul concerned about their safety; but he was also concerned about their spiritual growth.

1 Thessalonians 3:1-4 (NIV)

1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.

We can be a model of encouragement by…

1. Being concerned.

Paul knew that these new Christians were going to be tempted and persecuted; and he tried to prepare them for that so that when it happened, they would not fall away. It was literally driving Paul crazy that he couldn’t be there to see if they were growing or giving up.

1 Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV)

5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

We can be a model of encouragement by…

2. Doing something.

Being concerned is not enough. Our concern ought to put us into action. Although Paul couldn’t go and see; he was able to send Timothy to find out. It’s not that hard to be concerned about people; but it is more challenging to do something about it, especially when there are many barriers to doing it.

1 Thessalonians 3:6-8 (NIV)

6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

We can be a model of encouragement by…

3. Telling them.

I have noticed that in most situations that if you are doing a good job, no one ever tells you. Now, if you do something wrong you generally will hear about quickly. I have a friend who used to tell me, “If I have a problem, I will come tell you; if I have a praise, I will tell everybody.” Sometimes we need to verbally let people know that they are doing well and that we are pleased.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (NIV)

9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

We can be a model of encouragement by…

4. Praying for them.

It was amazing to me as I dealt with Tharon’s medical problems; that people would call and ask what they could do. The answer that I always gave was, “You can pray for us”; and the reply I receive almost every time was, “Is there anything else we can do”? While I do understand what they were saying- The greatest thing you can ever do for someone is pray.

Paul prayed for 3 specific requests:

He prayed that their…

? Faith might mature.

Although Paul could not be there, he prayed that their relationship with Christ would not grow stagnant, but stronger.

He prayed that their…

? Love for others would grow.

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