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Summary: This is the thrid and final sermon in this series. This sermon looks at 1. The People Of Encouragement Are Us. 2. The Time Of Encouragement Is Now. 3. The Purpose of Encouragement Is Overcoming Sin.

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The Marks Of A Great Christian - Encouraging

We have been looking at “The Marks Of A Great Christian.” The first week we looked at serving and we found that we were called to serve one another. Last week we looked at loving and we found that we were called to love one another. And this week we will be looking at encouraging.

Our text for today comes from Hebrews 3:13:

“Encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” Hebrews 3:13 (HCSB)

In the King James the word for encourage is exhort. This word in the Greek comes from two words – one means to call; the other means side; which combined means to “call to your side” or “call alongside.” Isn’t that a great word picture of encouragement? When someone is down, discouraged or in despair – you call them to walk by your side. You travel with them on a journey. You visit with them. You give them uplifting words of comfort and encouragement.

This past March I heard another preacher speaking about encouragement and the way that he defined encouragement was: “to add courage to”. A person who gives words of encouragement is to somehow help another person become bolder and braver. On the other hand to discourage is to take away a person’s courage. Folks I don’t know about you but I want to be an encourager when it comes to helping people do the right thing. When a person is doing work for God I want to be a spiritual cheerleader. I want to encourage them. I want them to become bolder. I what them to give their best effort. I what to help them. I want to give them an added boost.

Let me tell you I’m not much of a runner anymore – but when I was it was always encouraging when I was finishing a race and I would hear the crowds cheering. It doesn’t matter if you are coming in last place – if people were there cheering you on – it always gives you an added boost. All of us can use some encouragement sometimes. All of us can use a pat on the back. Right now I would like to show a video clip about encouragement. This clip is from the movie, “Facing The Giants.”

Let’s watch this clip on encouragement.

(For those who don’t have the ability to show the clip – I have put the illustration below.)

*In the move “Facing The Giants” the coach challenges one of the players to give his best effort. The young player says that he will – but the coach pushes him to promise to give it everything he’s got. The player promises that he will give his best effort. To ensure that he will "give it all he’s got" the coach puts a blindfold on the player. The task is to move down the football field on all fours (the players hands and feet) while carrying another player on his back. The young athlete believes that in his best effort he might make it to the 50 yard line. The center of the field.

As the player starts moving down the field the other players are laughing and shouting. The player moves slowly but steadily along. One step at a time. One move at a time. Soon the laughing of the other plays turns to silence as the player continues down the field. He believes he as moved past the 10 yard line and perhaps past the 20. The coach keeps yelling words of encouragement – “Don’t give up. Keep on going. You can do it.” The young player starts saying that his muscles are hurting and that he is becoming exhausted. The coach starts yelling – “Just ten more steps.” When the player gives him ten the coach yells – “Just five more steps.” They continue down the field. “Give me just two more.” He keeps going. Then the coach yells, “Give me one more.” When the player does it, the coach yells, "One more you’re almost there." And they continue down the field. Finally the player is exhausted. He believes that he might have made it to the fifty yard line. When the young athlete finally stops and removes the blindfold he finds that he has gone end zone to end zone. The coach had given him encouragement the entire way.


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