Summary: As Christians, we should encourage one another through our words and actions.
Encouraged to Encourage
Intro: There is an old story about a preacher leaving a church. At his farewell dinner, he tried to encourage one of the founding members that looked very sad, “Don’t be so sad. The next preacher might be better than me.” She replied, “That’s what they said before you came but it just keeps getting worse.”
. That wasn’t a very encouraging thing to hear was it?
. We all need encouragement.
. This old life that we live can be challenging at times and we all need encouragement.
. We all need someone to lift us up don’t we?
. Fifty six years ago, on June 18, 1956, a freak accident happened on a lake in New York. A speeding motorboat bounced on a wave and shot into the water two of its passengers, a 50-year old man and a little girl. To keep her from drowning, the man held her head above water while the boat circled back. They rescued the girl. But the man sank and drowned.
That’s how Dawson Trotman died, the founder of the Navigators, an international discipleship ministry. According to a quote in Time Magazine, “He lived to save others. His death was just the way he would have planned it. In his obituary someone wrote that he died just the way he lived, always lifting someone up.
.What a legacy. To be known as someone who always lifted others up.
. Someone who was always encouraging others.
. It has taken me many years to learn that one good word, one word of encouragement can inspire and physically help people.
. There was a study done using children and the affects that encouragement has on them.
. These psychologists hooked up all these wires and sensors to children and then they would either use encouraging words and gestures or discouraging words or gestures.
. What the study showed was that when children were encouraged, their physical energy would increase.
.When they used discouraging words and gestures, the energy level of the kids would drop immediately and dramatically.
. While this particular study was done using children, I’m sure that they would get the same result in adults.
. We all need some encouragement.
. We all like to receive encouragement don’t we?
. When we receive encouragement we feel that others care about us.
. I titled this message Encouraged to Encourage.
. My prayer is that through this message God will inspire you to become an encourager..
. I want us to look at one of the great encouragers in the bible this morning.
Acts 4:36 is the first time we hear of this man.
. The church was young. It had really just gotten its start there in Jerusalem and all of the church was in one accord the scriptures tell us. The apostles were preaching and teaching every day and more and more believed that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah and they were placing their faith in Him and what He had done on the cross for them. They were excited and on fire for God.
. The scripture says that they were selling their property so that everyone in the church would be provided for.
. There is one man though who was singled out for his generosity and encouragement of others,
. Let’s read our scripture this morning.
. 36For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.
. 37He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
. His name was Joseph but we don’t know him by this name. This is the last time that his proper name is used in scripture for him. His nickname was Barnabas.
. The apostles gave him a nickname.
. How many of you have had a nickname?
. I will probably regret this but when I was growing up my next to the oldest brother gave me a nickname that one of my brothers still uses today.
. He nicknamed me Diddle. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. To this day though, one of my brothers will slip up and call me Diddle.
. My nickname didn’t mean anything but Joseph, nicknamed Barnabas did.
. Names had a meaning back in Jesus’ day and it meant “Son of Encouragement” or encourager.
. Barnabas’ character as an encourager was so well known that they actually changed his name. His nickname became who he was .
. As you look through the New Testament you will find that everywhere he went, Barnabas was an encourager.
. Look at Acts 11:22-24;
. 22When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.23When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.