Summary: Could it be the most important ministry of the Church is the minstry of encouragement?
Following God: The ministry of encouragement
From what I’ve learned this week the most important ministry of the Church is the ministry of encouragement.
Why is that? As I studied this week I found the impact that encouragement has upon a person or a group of people is incredible.
The vision God gave me over twenty years ago when I was trying to find my way as a pastor was this vision of the Church being a type of storm shelter.
A place where people are encouraged in such a way and to such a degree they are then willing to go back out into life and deal with the ongoing storm or be able to allow God to pick up the pieces of the wreckage and bring good from this storm.
Midway Community Church is a result of this vision. What I see happening here at Midway, we are an environment of Grace. A place where hopefully, we are not playing games. A place where everything we say and do is to encourage you in the faith and build you up in Christ.
The greeting at the door is not for show, it is very important part of the ministry of encouragement. The greeting here inside again is to encourage you and tell you that you are welcomed here.
To encourage you to come back into this environment of grace so you can find your way in this thing we call the Christian life.
The Praise and Worship is designed to encourage all of us to look to God to meet our needs, to heal up the hurt places in our hearts. It is not for our entertainment but for encouragement.
The praise reports, bulletin, prayer time, all of these are not just for information but also for encouragement.
The message that I share is to encourage you to build you up in the faith.
There is a lot on the line for many people who come here on Sunday mornings and I want to be a part of encouraging them to keep on keeping on.
To encourage them to repent if that is the need, to confess their sin, to depend upon our Lord for life. Most of this takes place through the ministry of encouragement.
Whenever we follow God we become usable by Him as an agent of blessing to others. This morning we are going to look at a man whose nickname was the “son of encouragement”. Now I’ve been called the son of something else before but wouldn’t it be great to be called this? We are going to see examples of how he got this name, and I hope it will encouraged all of us to participate in the ministry of encouragement every single day.
1. He had a stewardship view of life; look at some significant things in these verses;
a. An attitude emerges from these verses that was among these people. It was an attitude they had toward the things they possessed; v32, not one of them claimed that it was his own; but all things were common property to them; not communism; no one forced this to happen, it was just an attitude that emerged from this body. They all shared in the life of Jesus, they had that in common. And even though they were from different background, at different levels of economic status, they shared in this thing we call body life. How can the foot say to the hand I have no need of you? Have you ever tried to dress yourself with out hands?
b. Abundant grace was upon them all; v33-35; this God’s riches at Christ’s expense was upon them; and it resulted and had an impact upon all of them; for there was not a needy person among them; there was no hesitation to meet the need of the needy. They were moved by God’s grace to do whatever it took to meet those needs;
c. V36; a man emerges; Barnabas; son of encouragement; and note what he did; why Luke picked him out above the others I don’t know but here he is; All that he had belonged to God; he was someone who was wiling to share his resources with those who lacked; not just monetary, but physical, spiritual, and practical resources as well; as we will see later on; HE HAD A STEWARDSHIP VIEW OF LIFE; HIS LIFE WAS NOT HIS OWN HE KNEW HE HAD BEEN BOUGHT WITH A PRICE; HE WAS SO IMPACETD BY GOD’S GRACE HE WANTED TO SHARE WHAT EVER HE HAD SO OTHES COULD KNOW THE IMPACT OF GOD’S GRACE. How encouraged I am when I see and hear how many of you have this view of life; a stewardship view; willing to give to others to encourage them; I cannot count the times I have been encouraged because you have given of your resources to meet the needs; I am encouraged because this means God is at work in your life; you were not manipulated or cohered, but because God grace was upon you, you encouraged someone else.