IT IS ENCOURAGING
1. In noting the various ways that the word ENCOURAGE is used in the Bible, we come up with the following definitions:
A. "To strengthen, harden, or fix."
B. "To be or become strong."
C. "To strengthen ones self."
D. "To urge forward, persuade."
E. "To stimulate to the discharge of the ordinary duties of life."
2. So, with these definitions before us, we know that in discussing things that are ENCOURAGING, is to talk about things that are strengthening and stimulating to us.
A. In other words, things that are helpful to us to hear.
I. IT IS ENCOURAGING that there are Christians that study the Bible carefully and regularly. 2 Tim. 2:15.
A. That take such delight in the law of the Lord.
B. They take advantage of Bible classes; no one has to beg them constantly to attend.
C. In this group one will find some splendid teachers.
1. To them the Bible is more than just a book "traditionally" esteemed and often quoted.
a. It is food for the soul. Matt. 5:6; Psa. 119:172.
II. IT IS ENCOURAGING that many of God's people give generously of their money, time and talents to support the work of the Lord. 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 9:6,7.
A. Such realize that inflation means rising costs in areas that pertain to the church and its functioning.
1. When they are given an increase in salary, they remember to increase their contributions to the Lord.
2. These are "cheerful givers" -- the kind God loves.
III. IT IS ENCOURAGING that a sizeable number of members of Christ's body can be depended upon to attend all the meetings of the congregation. Heb. 10:25.
A. Nothing keeps them from the assemblies of the saints unless it is the sort of hinderance that would also keep them home from their work.
B. They do not whimper, whine, and make flimsy excuses for their absences.
1. To them it is a joy to meet with others of like precious faith. Psa. 122:1.
IV. IT IS ENCOURAGING that a lot of people in the church expect a preacher to do the work of an evangelist, as is outlined in the New Testament. 2 Tim. 4:5.
A. They are unlike a few who want him to be a sort of "pastor" like the denominations have.
1. They know that he has more important things to do than coaching a ball team, sponsoring a scout troop, running errands for people, ringing door bells of church members to feel their pulse, or hold their hand, or humor them.
2. They know he has mor important work to do than to be a kind of public relations man for civic projects in the community.
V. IT IS ENCOURAGING that some Christians realize the necessity of having qualified elders and deacons in a congregation of the Lord's people and they work toward that end. 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1.
A. Such genuinely appreciate good elders and deacons.
1. they look at the good which these men do in harmony with God's plan.
2. They desire to work with them, not against them.
3. They have warm praise rather than constant criticism.
4. They realize that such men are only human and God does not expect elders and deacons to be super-human.
VI. IT IS ENCOURAGING that many brethren have a solid grasp of the difference between New Testament Christianity and denominationalism. Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28.
A. It makes no difference to them what the denominations are doing.
1. They know that Christ's church is not a sectarian setup.
a. And they have no ambitions to ape their neighbors who are tied to sectarian concepts.
B. They want the church of Christ to be what Christ wants it to be, nothing more and nothing less.
VII. IT IS ENCOURAGING tht many in the kingdom of God today appreciate sound preaching and teaching. 2 Tim. 4:1-4.
A. They do not mind if a sermon really hits home.
B. They want to know the truth and the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
C. They do not mind lessons that point up some of their shortcomings.
D. They also desire that outsiders, that visit from time to time, are given opportunity to hear truth preached.
E. Yes, I rejoice that there are still people on this earth who want to know God's will.
VIII. IT IS ENCOURAGING that a lot of Christians take their religion seriously.
A. They want to go to heaven after this life is over.
B. They love God more than athletic events and TV shows.
C. They believe the Bible means what it says and that its message is relevant to every generation.
D. They are not ashamed to let their convictions be made known.
E. They demonstrate that one can be a Christian and not be a hypocrite.
IX. IT IS ENCOURAGING that there are so many things to cheer us up and give us added zeal!
X. IT IS ENCOURAGING, yes it is strengthening, to know what God has done for us and that He loves us. Jno. 3;16.
A. That we can be saved by obeying His will. Heb. 5:8,9.
B. That we can call upon Him as His children and He will hear and help us in time of need. Heb. 4:16.
C. That we have the freedom in this country of our to go about telling others of His wonderful grace
1. We sing a song: "Will You Not Tell It Today?" Will you not encourage others to do God's will?
1. Let us encourage you at this time to step out and render obedience to the Lord that you might be saved.
By Jim Sasser
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