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Summary: Being an encourager is a Christ-like, Godly thing to do. How can I be a better encourager?

The Positive Power of Encouragement - Part 2

Acts 11:19-26

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - May 13, 2009

*Last Wednesday, we started looking at the power of encouragement in the life of Barnabas, and we found that your encouragement can do some amazing things.

-Your encouragement can help someone through a crisis.

-It can make the best things even better.

-It can help someone stick closer to the Savior.

-Can help lead more people to the Lord.

-Can bring new friends into the fellowship.

-And your encouragement can help Christians become fully devoted followers of Christ.

*Your encouragement can have great power. One reason why is because everybody needs to be encouraged. The night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, he was carrying:

-Two pairs of glasses.

-A small velvet eyeglass cleaner.

-An ivory pocketknife.

-A large handkerchief with “A. Lincoln” stitched in red.

-A tiny pencil.

-A brass sleeve button.

-A fancy watch fob.

-And a brown wallet with a Confederate five-dollar bill.

*But Lincoln also carried 8 newspaper clippings that he had cut out and saved. All of those clippings praised him. Everybody needs encouragement. (1)

*Heb 3:13 tells us to “exhort” or “encourage” one another every day. And it would help us to know more about this important word in the original Greek. It is “parakaleo” and it is found 108 times in the New Testament. That is easy for us to miss, because often this same word is translated as “beseech, plead or beg.”

-For example, Matt 8:5&6 says: “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, PLEADING with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’”

-Matt 14:35&36 says: “When the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and BEGGED Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.”

*Sometimes this same word is translated as “desire” or “pray.” In Acts 16:9: “A vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and PRAYED him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

*Parakaleo is also translated as “comfort.” In Matt 5:4 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be COMFORTED.” -- same word. Plus, in 1 Thess 5:11 Paul tells believers to “COMFORT each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

*All of these words are translations of “parakaleo.” The word picture is to call someone near to your side. And this word is especially important, because God chose the noun form of this word as a name for Himself: The Comforter.

*On the night before He went to the cross, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter or Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn 14:15-17)

*Being an encourager then is not only important to people, it is important to God. Being an encourager is a Christ-like, Godly thing to do. How can I be a better encourager?

1. First: Use your feet.

*I am talking about your availability, your presence, just being there for someone. In vs. 20-23, the Christians in Antioch preached Jesus.

21. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

22. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.

23. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

*Barnabas being there made a difference for those people. And God wants you to make yourself available to someone who needs encouragement. Many times I went with Bro. Savoie when someone was very sick or had died. And I noticed that very often he was quiet during those visits. You see, it wasn’t necessary to say a lot. Simply being there for someone made a difference.

*Using your feet involves availability, but it can also involve hospitality. Rom 12:13 tells us to be “given to hospitality.” Titus 1:8 tells us to be “a lover of hospitality.” And 1 Peter 4:9 tells us to “use hospitality one to another without grudging.”

*Usually for us, hospitality means opening our homes. It means being generous and gracious to our guests. Certainly that’s a big part of hospitality. But the word “hospitality” in the Scripture simply means “love for strangers.” And when the Bible tells us to be “given to hospitality,” the word picture is hunting, going after, running after strangers in love.

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