Summary: Paul not only challenges us to be faithful to Christ, he shows us HOW to do that. How long has it been since you went out of your way to encourage another believer?
How To Give Encouragement
II Timothy 4:21a,22
Purpose: To show how believers can show encouragement to each other.
Aim: I want the believer to look for ways to encourage others no matter how difficult.
INTRODUCTION: What can Christians do to help change the world? Why have so few of our neighbors and friends been drawn to Christ? The answer lies in a Christian disease called the “Who mees.” Let me illustrate.
An out-of-shape, overweight man decided to take up tennis. He took several lessons from a tennis pro. He also read several self-help books which advised him to “think positively” and “develop a winning attitude.” A friend asked him how his tennis play was going. With a decidedly positive, winning attitude in his voice, he replied, “When my opponent hits the ball to me, my brain immediately barks out a command to my body: ‛Race up to the net.’ Then, it says, ‛Slam a blistering shot to a far corner of the court. Then immediately jump back into position and return the next volley to the other far corner of the court.’ Then my body says, ‛Who, me?’”
I am sure you’ve had the experience of coming to Church, listening to a message from the Bible where Jesus gives a very specific command, and immediately concluding that it’s not meant for you, but somebody else – kind of a knee-jerk reaction. Someone who has made a list of spiritual diseases, calls this one the “Who Mees?”
“Repent,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?”
“Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?”
“Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus commands, “Who, me?”
“Pray for those who persecute you,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?”
“Forgive those who trespass against you,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?”
“Love your enemies,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?”
“Give to him who begs from you,” Jesus commands. “Who, me?” [From an Online sermon, “Who Me?” at http://voicings.com/061800.html ]
Paul started this book with, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NAU). “Who, me?”
Through this book Paul not only shows us how to encourage others to be faithful to Christ, he challenges us to do the same. How long has it been since you took some time to encourage another believer to be faithful to Christ? We must be careful that our response is not, “Who me?”
1:1-2:13 I. How Should a Christian React to Stress?
2:14-26 II. How Should a Christian Relate to Fellow Believers?
3:1-17 III. How Can a Christian Reside in a Hostile Culture?
4:1-22 IV. How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
Vs.1-5 A. Put first things first “preach the word” – “Who me?”
Vs.6-8 B. Focus on the joy of our reward “crown of righteousness” – “Who me?”
Vs.9-15 C. Ask others for help “come to me soon” – “Who me?”
Vs.16-18 D. Have confidence in God’s plan “The Lord stood with me and strenghened me” – “Who me?”
Vs.19-22 E. Encourage fellow believers – “Who me?”
Here we see an indication of the three aspects of serving Christ: power, love, discipline, only we see them in a different order: love, discipline, and power.
Last time we looked at the first one:
Vs.19-20,21b 1. Encourage them to display God’s love “Greet...”
✔How Can We Display God’s Love to Others?
✔1:2-4 Verbalize your love to them
✔1:13-14 Focus your faith on God’s love
✔2:24-26 Be willing to risk their friendship
✔4:8 Long for Christ’s approval
Now lets look at the second facet of serving Christ:
✔Vs.21a 2. Encourage them to be disciplined “Make every effort”
✔How do we Discipline Ourselves?
✔1:8 Sign up to suffer
2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, (NAU)
We often have sign-up lists here at church. We have them for retreats, for fellowships, and for banquets. I wonder how many would sign up for an opportunity to suffer for Christ.
Suffering isn’t something that just happens to us. Suffering is something we volunteer for. Do you love Jesus enough to suffer for Him. Jesus said that if we are not willing to suffer for Him then we don’t really belong to Him. Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (NAU)
Suffering for Christ is a privilege. Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. (NAU)
We need to take a deep breath, and tell the Lord, “I am willing to endure anything that will help me serve you better.”