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 (2015 Revision of an earlier sermon already posted)

1. We are often discuouraged.

2. 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).

3. Christian families and churches generally be sources of encouragement, when possible.

4. 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

A. The Old Testament word for encouragement suggests STRENGTHENING

In the ESV, we find the word "encourage" 32 times, "encouraged" 11 times, "encouragement" 11 times, and "encouraging" 6 times. The Hebrew word is used hundreds of times and is sometimes translated "make bold," "brave," "strengthen" and "build up."

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…

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.

B. The New Testament word suggests COMFORTING

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.”

C. 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 Encouragement as a HABIT and Manner of Life

A. Principle: begin at HOME

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…

B. The Bible offers us a NUMBER of ways to encourage

1. We encourage people by using PLEASNT words without barbs:

Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.”

2. We encourage people by recognizing what God has DONE through them

Galatians 2:7-9a, “On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.”

3. We encourage people with GRATITUDE for how they have blessed us

2 Thes.1:3, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. …..ESPECIALLY TO WOFE KIDS FAMILY

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