<%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %> Untitled Document ENCOURAGEMENT

This evening 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. Let’s look at verses 11-16 in Eph 4.

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.
Ver. 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?
Ver 12-- so that the body of Christ may be built up
Ver 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
Ver 15-- Instead, speaking the truth in love

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

Looking down in verses 22-29:
Ver 22-24- put off your old self ... and put on the new self
Ver 25-- put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor
Ver 28-- work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he
may have something to share with those in need
Ver 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?
Let’s turn to 1 Cor Chapter 14.

Why was the ability to prophesy superior to speaking in tongues?
Vers 1-5-- READ--so that the church may be edified
Ver 31-- READ--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 Cor 14:
Ver 9-12-- READ—build up the church
Ver 26--READ—All of these must be done for the strengthening of the

When the members of the Church come together, things were to be done to build up and strengthen 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 and look at verses 19-25.
Ver 19-22-- READ--Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart
Ver 23-- READ--Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess
Ver 24-- READ--Let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds
Ver 25-- READ--Let us not give up meeting together
Ver 25-- READ--Let us encourage one another

Who is responsible for fulfilling these responsibilities?--EVERYONE
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. In Acts 20,
Acts 20 Ver 32-- READ
2nd Tim 3 Ver 16-17-- READ
2nd Tim 4 Ver 1-2-- READ

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. A couple of weeks ago, Br. Shaw talked to us about Barnabus and how he worked side-by-side with Paul and provided an example.
1st Tim 1 Ver 12-16-- READ
2nd Thes 3 Ver 6-9-- READ
Acts 20 Ver 33-35-- READ

Paul references both of these in
2nd Tim 3 Ver 10-15-- READ

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 Barnabus: 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 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 at Norhill. 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 Thes 2:16-17. READ. 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. But, as we discussed tonight, 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 while we stand and sing our invitation song.

By Dale Johnson

Return to the Sermon 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 /