Summary: As long as the church of Jesus Christ has the potential to improve, we need to be serious about encouraging others.

Encouragement: Making Others Strong

1. Why is it that many of us are into “approval addiction?”

2. Some of us need a lot of approval, whereas others needs less. But we all need it. Why?

3. The answer is simple: life is rough, and it tears away at our self-esteem. People, circumstances, our failures and inabilities, our sin nature, and the devil all accuse us of missing the mark, of being less than we should be.

4. In some ways, this is true. Missing the moral mark is one definition of sin. But there is nothing sinful about losing at chess, not getting that promotion, or being less than athletic.

5. No, life is filled with discouragements.

6. There is an old story about a pastor leaving a church. At his farewell dinner, he tried to encourage one of the pillar members, “Don’t be so sad. The next pastor might be better than me.” She replied, “That’s what they said last time, but it keeps getting worse.” (Source: John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, p. 159).

7. The world will look down upon us because of our Christian values and beliefs; we will be labeled narrow, escapist, non-intellectual, judgmental, and out of touch with reality – just for following the Scriptures.

8. But Christian families and churches need to be sources of encouragement, not discouragement, except when the shoe fits and we have to wear it.

9. For example, when Cain offered an inappropriate sacrifice to God, God confronted Him with the problem; this discouraged Cain, but it needed to be done.

10. Encouragement is artificial if it is not valid and sincere. We are dealing with persons, not projects. Encouragements when possible, but not at the expense of truth.

Main Idea: As long as the church of Jesus Christ has the potential to improve, we need to be serious about encouraging others.

I. Encouragement is Crucial to EDIFY and NURTURE Others

1. The OT word for encouragement means to STRENGTHEN.

Deut 1:38: “But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.”

Deut. 3:28 “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see."

Part of Leadership training is filling the “encouragement tank” of future leaders…

2 Sam. 11:25, “David told the messenger, ‘Say this to Joab: ’Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.’"

Is. 41:7, “The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer

spurs on him who strikes the anvil. He says of the welding, ‘It is good.’"

2 Chron. 30:22, “Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the LORD . For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised the LORD , the God of their fathers.”

32:6-7, “He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.’”

Encouragement acknowledges the fears that people have as real, and emboldens them despite those fears.

2. NT word means to COMFORT.

I Thes. 5:11-14, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

3. Notice the INTENTIONALITY of encouraging words

If we are to accept that encouraging others is crucial toward developing God’s Kingdom, then how do we do it?

II. We Can Encourage People By Developing Encouraging HABITS

A. Begin with the People You Know BEST: Family and Close Friends

1. The principle of I Timothy 5:8

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

2. There is nothing MASCULINE about being NEGATIVE

--do not make your life’s mission to keep other people humble by being critical or withholding compliments…people with good self-esteem usually ARE humble…

3. If you compliment only perfection, you have PROBLEMS

There are many ways to divide people; one division is between those who withhold nurturing words and those who encourage and reward sincere effort…

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