Summary: Everyone needs a pat on the back from time to time, but we are also to be the one giving the pat on the back from time to time.
The Need for Encouragement
Jonathan’s experience with David illustrates the reality of the ministry of encouragement. Romans 15:5 says “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.” So, God the Father gives encouragement. Romans 15:4 say that he encourages us with the scriptures. Philippians 2:1, says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ…” John 14 speaks of the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. He is our ever-present encourager, the Paraclete, who dwells within us.
All of us need to be encouragers, and all of us will need encouragement sooner or later. At times we will need extra encouragement. When do you need encouragement? Let us look to the Bible for the answers to this question.
I. If you are busy in your work or ministry
a. Leaders need to help workers with words of encouragement.
i. 2 Chronicles 35:2 says, “He set the priests in their charges and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord.”
ii. King Josiah encouraged the priests in their service.
iii. Hezekiah did the same in 2 Chronicles 29:11
iv. There is a principle here:
1. Those in authority need to encourage those under them.
2. Employers may do this for their employees.
3. Fathers need to encourage their children.
4. Husbands need to encourage their wives by a word, touch, smile, or hug.
5. And pastors need to encourage their staff members and congregations.
b. Those under authority yearn to be encouraged.
i. They need to know they are benefiting the one they serve.
ii. When they get encouragement, their hands are strengthened for work.
II. If you are facing a new challenge
a. The Lord wants his leaders to be encouraged.
i. The Lord told Moses to command and encourage Joshua for his good report concerning the land of Canaan.
1. “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it” (Duet 1:38)
ii. This illustrates an important principle:
1. Encourage your boss
2. Your Parents
3. Your Husband
4. Your Pastor
5. Whoever your leader may be.
b. In Joshua 1:6-9 the Lord himself speaks strong encouragement to Joshua.
i. In fact, he commands Joshua to be encouraged.
ii. Anything less would be sin!
III. If you are about to complete a task
a. People need to be spurred on to complete a project.
i. Ezra 6:22 says, “They caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”
1. The temple at Jerusalem was being rebuilt.
2. Ezra had been confronted with adversaries who were hindering the work.
3. Finally, the temple was complete (Ezra 6:15)
4. Ezra had not given up.
5. Now there came a special encouragement from an unexpected source – the King of Assyria!
a. Who prompted the king to encourage the Israelites?
b. The Bible says it was the Lord!
b. Do you know someone who is about to finish a task?
i. Does this person need encouragement?
ii. Is the Lord prompting you to encourage that person?
iii. Purpose in your heart to do it!
iv. It may be an older person completing life or someone sick struggling for restoration of health, or possibly a student about to complete high school or college.
IV. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you.
a. Daily encouragement s needed, and the Holy Spirit brings it.
i. We are to hear his voice and encourage others to respond, being sensitive to their needs.
ii. It is important for two reasons.
1. The heart can become hardened to the Holy Spirit.
2. The heart can be deceived by sin
iii. We may never know just when the Holy Spirit is prompting someone, so we need to be alert to encourage one another.
iv. Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as log as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
b. How do we do that?
i. Hebrews 10:24-25 says encouragement is effected by stimulating one another to love and to o good deeds, as well as by worshipping with one another.
ii. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says we are to buld up one another.
iii. Ephesians 4:29 says we are to speak encouraging words to others, not discouraging ones, by making positive statements rather than negative ones.
V. If life begins to overwhelm
a. When David was overwhelmed by a bitter and angry people, he needed encouragement.