Summary: This is a second message exploring the concept and practice of encouragement. This message explores the mandate to encourage one another.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“The Art of Encouragement”
Last week we explored the need and availability of encouragement. Given the multiple causes for discouragement in our world, encouragement is a critical component to survival.
Our own thinking causes discouragement.
Words of others cause discouragement.
World events cause discouragement.
Personal limitations and failures cause discouragement.
Personal and family circumstances cause discouragement.
The dictionary defines discouragement as a feeling of having lost hope or confidence. We have all experienced those feelings from time to time. The feelings range from slight to severe; light to heavy. We all need someone or something to en-courage; restore our hope, revitalize our enthusiasm for life, replenish our diminishing strength, renew our perceptions. Last week we explored a key section of Scripture regarding encouragement where the word “encouragement” appears ten times in only five verses. The Greek term variously translated in our English Bibles (urge, beg, comfort, exhort, encourage, advocate, counsel, help, ask) comes from a combination of the verb “to call” and the preposition “beside”.
It communicates the idea of urging or imploring someone to do the right thing.
It was used to describe a pleading for help.
It describes coming along side another with positive words of encouragement.
It describes someone coming along side not just to console but to strengthen.
It references someone sent to advocate on our behalf; like a lawyer.
The noun and verb appear nearly 150 times in the New Testament.God does it. People practice it. God commands the church to practice it toward one another. Jesus does it. It is the central function of the Holy Spirit. Other terms like inspire, motivate or influence capture the sentiment of the term.
I proposed several observations from a letter of Paul to the family of Jesus followers living in Corinth.
He urged them to bless God for His encouragement in all our suffering.
• God’s encouragement flows out of God’s nature.
• God’s encouragement addresses ALL our troubles.
• God’s encouragement empowers us to encourage others who face affliction.
• God’s encouragement mirrors our suffering.
• Our encouragement comes because of our connection with Christ.
• God’s encouragement is others centered.
• Encouraging others energizes endurance in others.
• God’s encouragement inspires hope.
Paul blessed God for His encouragement but recognized that God uses people to encourage us. He shared how the presence of Titus brought significant encouragement. I’ll let him tell you.
When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told us how much you long to see me, and how sorry you are for what happened, and how loyal you are to me, I was filled with joy! 2 Corinthians 7:5-7
Paul was encouraged by Titus who was encouraged by the Corinthians expression of love for Paul and now Paul was encouraging the Corinthians by his letter. Feelings of encouragement provide a new sense of courage, inspiration to go on or do the right thing. The act of encouraging as do with a sense of connection with someone who motivates us in a positive direction our of a negative state (discouragement). Encouragement comes due to at least four things. Inspiration, motivation, renewed enthusiasm, positive outlook come from at least four elements.
RESOTRATION OF DIVINE PERSEPCTIVE
A significant aspect of encouragement involves words. In times of difficulty we need God’s perspective on life in a broken world. Many times, our discouragement comes from faulty thinking.
“I’m a failure.”
“Nobody loves me.”
“God is mad at me.”
“There is no way out of this.”
“Life is over.”
These, along with a multitude of other negative “messages”, play over and over in our thoughts even to the point of mental paralysis. We need a renewed thinking. Paul told the Romans that we are transformed by the renewing of our thinking.” The major source of that renewed perspective flows from the Scriptures.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to remind the apostles of His teaching. God inspired and recorded all of Scripture to provide necessary perspective on life.
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17