One of the greatest needs for any Christian.
It is our duty to encourage others and receive encouragement from others.

I would like for us to consider how encouragement has always been a part of God’s plan for us to grow both as a Church and as individuals.
God did not choose to have those who were saved lead solitary lives but rather to establish groups of believers in different cities and have them interact with each other.
What was the purpose of people with various talents: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers?
It was to prepare God’s people both individually and collectively.
Ephesians 4:12-- to prepare God’s people for works of service.

When the body of the saints is involved in its work, what benefit is derived?
12-- so that the body of Christ may be built up.
13-14-- we all reach unity in the of faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature man—no longer infants children tossed back and forth by waves.
15-- Instead, speaking the truth in love.

As God’s people mature and speak the truth, what happens to the body?
15-- we grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16-- the body builds itself up in love as each part does its work.

Looking down in verses Ephesians 4:22-29:
22-24- put off your old self ... and put on the new self.
25-- put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.
28-- work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29-- speak what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

How are these types of activities to take place if these results are to occur?
When we are together and interacting with others
What was the purpose for the Church to come together in the first century?

Why was the ability to prophesy superior to speaking in tongues?
1 Corinthians 14:1-5-- so that the church may be edified.
31-- so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.

What does it mean to “prophesy”?
A prophet is one who prophesies and a prophet is one who has the divine gift of receiving and imparting God’s message.
We are aware of many OT prophets who received knowledge from God and then as God’s appointed messenger, conveys God’s message to those as he was directed.
We know that sometimes these OT prophets did this against their own will.

In the early Church, since there was no written word as we have today, the gift to prophesy was very important as the gospel was delivered.
What did Paul say the goal of obtaining spiritual gifts? Still in 1 Corinthians 14:
9-12-- build up the church.
26--All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

What individual responsibilities do we have to ourselves and to others because of our relationship to God?
Let’s turn to Hebrews Chapter 10:19-25.
19-22-- Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart.
23-- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.
24-- Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
25--Let us not give up meeting together and let us encourage one another.

Who is responsible for fulfilling these responsibilities?
How do we fulfill these responsibilities?
individually and when we come together
PAUL documented three main sources of encouragement to early Christians.
The first of these was God’s Word.
Acts 20: 32.
2nd Timothy 3:16-17.
2nd Timothy 4:1-2.

These verses point to the written word, but let’s not forget what John tells us in:  John 1:1 & 14—
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

The second main source of encouragement was by the personal example shown by Paul and others.
Barnabas worked side-by-side with Paul and provided an example.
1st Timothy 1: 12-16.
2nd Thessalonians 3: 6-9.
Acts 20:33-35.

Paul references both of these in  2nd Timothy 3:10-15
What things do we do today to encourage each other?
By reading and learning and preaching the Word of God.
By the lives we lead ---
As we discussed with respect to Barnabas: Acts 11:24
He was a good man.
He was full of the spirit.
He was full of faith.

By the “small” things we do.
Simply being here at services.
The interest we show as we participate in the services.
The “Thank you’s” we give others.
The helping hands that are given to brothers and sisters who have needs.

We have such excellent examples of all of these methods of encouragement here.
How can we not all benefit and grow with these actions going on around us?

The third source of encouragement Paul referenced is found in 2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17. Here, we are told that Jesus Christ and God our Father by his grace gave us eternal encouragement.
And Paul asks that Jesus and God the Father encourage and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
What a solid, unchangeable source of encouragement and strength.

2nd Tim 3:15 referenced the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
We have the word that we can learn from and as we learn, we understand that having faith in Christ Jesus is not just believing but having and active faith and obeying and acting on His commandments.
1 John 2:3 – We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

From many acts of conversion in the Bible, we see that the wisdom we must gain and act on tells us that we must do:
Recognize the sin in our life and repent
Confess that Christ is the Son of God
Be baptized to have our sins washed away and rise as a new creature
But after we are baptized and we try to follow Jesus’ example of how to live our lives, we recognize that we will not be able to live up to God’s expectations.

As we discussed, one of the purposes of the church is to encourage each other to continue, to persevere, and to always strive to live in a manner that will be pleasing to our God and our Savior.
If we have moved away from God, as James said because of our own evil desires, we need to ask for God’s help.
In 1 John 1:9 we are told that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
If there is anyone who desires to be baptized or needs additional encouragement thru the prayers of the church, please come forward.

By Carey Scott from a sermon by Dale Johnson

Return to the Sermon Outlines page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /