Summary: There are eight ways the Bible suggests we can encourage one another.
The Power of Encouragement
Sermon Objective: There are eight ways the Bible suggests we can encourage one another.
We have all watched infants who were on the verge of taking their first unassisted steps. For several days or weeks they stand alone confidently for moments at a time, squealing with delight at the accomplishment of balancing their little bodies on their little feet.
After a while they consider moving one of those firmly planted little feet in front of the other. All the while parents are coaxing the little tyke to venture toward them.
"You can do it! Come on!" says mother, arms outstretched to catch Baby if he/she stumbles.
"Look at you! What a big boy!" his father declares.
Baby responds with thoughtful trust—complete trust in his parents but measured caution in his own ability. When Baby does finally take that first step it is a benchmark day – it leads to new worlds opening up before them … worlds of adventure that Baby could never imagine.
And I am confident that Baby’s parents’ loving, consistent, cheering presence was a major ingredient in the achievement.
We all live in a world of daily challenges—to venture beyond where we have been before, to reenter painful or frightening arenas, or to hang tough right where we are.
The encouragement of others helps us move from fear and passivity to belief and action. It is not a cure-all. But the encouragement of others does help us move forward even though we are uncertain.
Encouragement … the word, the note, the look that says, "I am with you. I care about you. You will survive. You can do it!" We cannot measure how many significant historical advances have been made because another “someone” was behind the achiever encouraging them.
Encouragement is God-like. Scripture is full of promises about God’s provision for us in times of difficulty. Through the prophet Isaiah, God reassures His people, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Is. 41:10). Years later, Jesus declared to His followers, And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17 KJV).
We continually wrestle with the results of living in a fallen world. We may think that our faith should prevent difficulties. But that isn’t the case. Encouragement, however, can make living in the midst of those troubles easier.
And that is one reason God has given us each other. And nothing should highlight a conversation between believers like encouragement. The Apostle Paul says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
A church of encouragers is a church that’s alive. Discouragement is a sure sign of disease in Christ’s body. “The deepest principle in human nature,” said William James, “is the craving to be appreciated.”
A key biblical encourager was Barnabas. Originally his name was Joseph, but he was nicknamed ’son of encouragement’. He left a trail of encouraged people behind him wherever he went. Just about every time he appears in the New Testament he’s ’barnabizing’ people. Which makes sense since If one part of Christ’s body is praised, all the other parts share its happiness (1 Corinthians 12:26).
Few things build a sense of community and a sense of F*A*M*I*L*Y like encouraging one another. It is hard not to be drawn together whenever your spiritual brothers and sisters go out of their way to encourage you.
So today, I want to take a few minutes and show you eight ways we can encourage one another.
We will use B*A*R*N*A*B*A*S as our memory tool for these eight word pictures.
Since time is short, I will give you these in quick rapid succession and challenge you to consider them more fully throughout the week.
B Bended Knee (prayer)
2 Corinthians 1:11-12 says: …help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Encouragement is never complete unless we are praying for one another. As we do so we elicit the power of the living God on each other’s behalf.
The book of Acts is filled with stories of God acting on behalf of another because of the prayers of the Saints.
The Bible says, …far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. …(Samuel 12:23)