Summary: To show how we are good encouragers when, from pure motives we deliberately give the message that truly encourages
These are commands for us to be good encouragers.
Think about it with me, and how it works in the Church...
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve visited someone sick and all around the room there are cards, flowers, beenie babies, you name it – all sent by people from the church family. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve visited the hospital and a sick person will tell me, “Oh, there have been several people here today already!” (Maybe that’s a hint for me to leave sooner!). And something is obvious about those visits – they’ve encouraged somebody.
A man’s afraid. Someone said he was afraid to become a Christian. It is scary, but a few words of encouragement from someone who knows what that fear is like, and he makes the decision to accept Jesus. That’s not just some made-up story. It’s the kind of true story that’s the story of people sitting around you!
I want you to leave this morning being a better encourager than you were when you walked in. Let me encourage you to do that, will you? And, once again, let’s get it done by looking into the encouraging letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, I Thessalonians, ch. 2.
I want you to see with me that encouragement comes with “some assembly required.” It has a few parts, and we’re going to look over the instructions this morning to see if we can it put together in ourselves before we get out those doors.
The first part is…
I. Pure Motives
Story - There have been periods of time in my life when I must have been very discouraged and the word got out because I would get phone calls. People would call me up – people I don’t even know, just to encourage me. Yep, I’ve had a lot of encouragement over the phone:
“Mr. Nicholas Sherman? This is first bank of the last chance, and we want to compliment you on your excellent credit record. Our company wants to reward responsible people like you with our new Visa plutonium card. You owe this to yourself for all your hard work!” ------ they’re very encouraging! Still, when that friendly voice sounds on the other end of the phone, I have to honestly say I don’t trust their motives. I think they want something more than to just call me up and compliment me!
Encouragement is an effort to change another person’s direction – to get them to think and feel differently. That’s what informercials are for, isn’t it? So, what’s the difference between being a good encourager and being a good manipulator? It’s called pure motives.
For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.