Summary: A call to encourage one another.
1. As individuals in the church, we each have different gifts and resources to share with each other. God has given these to us for the building up of the church - as Paul says "for the common good". T that is why we should celebrate our differences as gifts from God which enable us to function together as a church.
2. That is why each one of us is important to God’s work in our midst. Sometimes we struggle with knowing our gifts and what God wants us to do - how he wants us to serve Him.
3. Today we look at one thing which God wants us to do that each one of us is able to do and has a responsibility to do, and yet, it is something that some of us find harder to do than others might.
4. In 1 Thessalonians God tells us to "encourage one another and build each other up".
5. This morning God challenges each one of you with this question "Are you encouraging one another?".
6. How would you respond? How would I? What does it mean to encourage one another?
1. To encourage one another in the Greek can mean to admonish or console each other. While these two things may seem opposed to each other there purpose is the the same - it means to offer comfort.
2. In fact the word is the same word that is used to refer to the Holy Spirit - the comforter, the counselor - we could say the encourager.
3. In our passage from Hebrews we read that we are to encourage one another.
4. Passage begins with a therefore which tells us that there is a reason why we are to comfort one another.
a. The writer has been telling the Hebrews that Christ has sacrificed Himself once and for all for our sins. We are no able to come into God’s presence, to enter the Holy of Holies. We are together God’s people who have been set apart.
b. We need to be reminded of that and so the chief tool we are given to encourage one another is the word of God. The Holy Spirit, the encourager is called the Spirit of Truth.
5. We are called to do four things - each one introduced by the words "Let us"
a. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. Wwith the assurance of our salvation, focusing on whom we believe for our faith is in Christ.
b. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, focusing on what we believe - and not letting present struggles and circumstances cause us to let go of that hope.
c. Let us spur one another toward love and good deeds - in how we enable our faith to express itself in love
d. This is the call to each one of us, but there is one more call.
6. The last of these four is "Let us encourage one another". We could say that this call provides the way by which we are are able to do the first three.
7. The Christian life can be a struggle with many factors - ourselves, circumstances, other people - we can easily get discouraged.
8. That is why God has gathered us together as a church - so that we can enable each other to grow in faith, hope and love despite those discouragements.
9. The means by which we encourage is by " let us not give up meeting together - instead encourage one another"
10. Do we encourage thru worship and thru study and thru one-on-one converstion? Can you think of at least one person that you have encouraged in past week - in faith, hope, love?
11. We do so thru the truth of Gospel, but especially thru living out the truth.
12. To see how we can encourage we take a look at a man named Joseph - at least that was his name until the disciples gave him a different name. They called him Barnabas - which mean Son of Encouragement - because Barnabas was an encourager.
13. In book of Acts Barnabas teaches us by eg. how we can encourage
14. First read of Him in Acts 4. It was a time when a number of believers who owned land sold the land and brought the proceeds to the apostles to give to those in need. We are told specifically that one of these men was Barnabas.
15. It is in this act that we discover the first trait of an encourager.
16. An encourager is a person who is willing to put their own money, resources, time, or concerns aside in the interest of others. A person who is aware of another’s needs and is willing to do soemthing to help them. When we help another we are encouraging them.