Sermons

Summary: Finding encouragement from God and godly friends despite all the discouragement you may be facing

How To Be An Encourager in Discouraging Situations

(Acts 11:22-26)

Illustration: Thomas Edison said, "If I had not had 230 failures I would never have discovered the right filmanet to invent the electric light bulb. Failure often proceeds success."

1. Have you ever wondered how to encourage people during discouraging moments?

Barnabas was rightly called, the Son of Encouragement because he knew how to inspire people toward greatness. Barnabas is a fine example of a man who knew how to give courage, hope and embolden the hearts of those who really needed help. While others were suspicious of Paul, Barnabas staked his own reputation on the quality of the driven man’s commitment. Barnabas knew how to encourage the church leaders to accept Paul as one of their own. The encourager knew how to look beyond the surface to the depth of Paul’s love, determination and faith.

Application: Trust the Lord to help you to offer emotional, spiritual and social support for those who need encouraging. Ask God to help you develop a ministry of encouragement to people struggling with discouragement.

2. Barnabas trusted God for personal encouragement so he could in turn inspire others. Do not think that you can make lasting change in the hearts of people unless your encouragement originates from the power of the Holy Spirit. Phony encouragement quickly dissipates in the heat of adversity. Barnabas was a man who knew how to draw his courage from the Lord Jesus, His words and His promises.

Application: Unless we are consistently involved with drawing from the well of Christ’s living water we will be tempted to encourage ourselves without pure spiritual motivations. Ask the Lord to help you find your encouragement, courage and inspiration through a growing time in personal devotions, scriptural meditation and praise filled prayer. Get around encouraging people.

3. Barnabas knew how to encourage others to see the best points in people. By serving as an advocate for Paul, the early Christians learned how to focus on the latent potential of a former enemy of the church.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to bring out the best in every person. Choose to look at the parts of each glass that are full rather than its empty or negative characteristics.

4. Barnabas had great credibility in the eyes of church leaders for three reasons:

A). He was regarded as a good man indicating his benevolence to all regardless of their background.

B). He was full of the Holy Spirit indicating that he was in complete submission to the will of God

C). He operated out of a full and mature faith, coming out of a Levite background. Trust God to help you heighten your credibility.

Application: Expect your encouragement to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Ask the Lord to help you to grow in your credibility so that your encouragement will have a greater eternal impact.

5. Barnabas was able to encourage difficult people who were prone toward legalism and traditionalism. Here was a man who knew how to speak to people who were very resistant to any kind of change. The Jews were very proud of their traditions and laws, but Barnabas encouraged them to accept Paul as one who could teach everyone something about God’s grace.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you encourage difficult people toward more of an attitude of living by grace rather than by law.

6. Barnabas refused to give in to the prevailing discouragements in his circumstances. He went on two missionary journeys, despite a sharp disagreement with Paul, to help multiply the encouraging power of the gospel of Christ. Barnabas did not remain content to just encourage Christians, but he carried the good news of Christ to those who needed it most.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to take the encouraging message of Jesus to those who are prisoners of their own sins.

7. Barnabas knew how to give people second chances. Thankfully, Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance and even the apostle Paul eventually admitted that he was useful. We can thank Barnabas for encouraging John Mark to write the gospel of Mark that has encouraged billions. Barnabas was not ready to give up on someone who Paul considered to be too risky to accompany him on a second missionary journey. Do not be too hasty to give up on people because of a few disappointing episodes.

Application: Remember, how many times the Lord has given you many second chances. Ask the Lord to help you encourage those who need a second or third chance.

Concluding Quote: A great friend is someone who steps in when everybody else abandons us.

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