This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about the Ministry of Encouragement.
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Last week we introduced the Ministry of Encouragement and we talked about what encouragement is and why it was so desperately needed in our world today. I also asked you to start memorizing a passage of scripture from Hebrews 10:19-25. For this week you were supposed to have memorized Hebrews 10:19. Let’s try it together:
Hebrews 10:19 (NIV)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
For next week you need to learn Hebrews 10:20
Hebrews 10:20 (NIV)
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
Today I want to expand on the idea of what the Ministry of Encouragement can do.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Discouragement causes us to be unable to face life’s challenges effectively. It causes us to be dysfunctional and fearful.
Encouragement, however, helps us to know and remember that God is the one who provides spiritual power that equips us to handle and difficulty that comes our way.
Luke 1:37 (NIV)
37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Discouragement makes us feel like we need to withdraw and isolate, “I just can’t take it anymore”, but encouragement helps us to move forward and stay involved and engaged.
It is not uncommon to hear people say, “I just didn’t want to get involved”, even when they are witnessing some bad thing happening to someone else.
Christianity is all about involvement, demonstrated by a little thing called the incarnation. Talk about involvement. As recipients of the gifts and blessings of His incarnation we are to be involved as well. We cannot just sit by on the sidelines and watch as the enemy deceives people and keeps them from coming to know Jesus and thereby experiencing real life, now and forever. We can be radically involved as encouragers’ in our world and culture today.
What will an encourager have to do? Paul gives us an idea in Romans 12.
1. Don’t be fake
Romans 12:9-16 (NIV)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
We will not impact the world by being phony. We have to live this life out in Jesus doing our best to do the next right thing, but being honest with our struggles and our hope in the Lord.
2. Get ready for hard work
Romans 12:11 (NIV)
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
We will have to step out of our comfort zones, roll up our sleeves and get plugged in.
3. Take the initiative
Romans 12:13 (NIV)
13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
We need to look around us and see where the needs are and then (refer to number 2).
4. Practice selflessness
Romans 12:14-15 (NIV)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
We have to get the focus off of us. Our naturally tendency is to view life from within our own very limited of perspective about how everything impacts us. Life is not found there. We need to get our perspective from the throne room of God. It is not all about me!
5. Be humble
Romans 12: 16 (NIV)
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Our pride is a major stumbling block into becoming involved and engaged in the world around us. How many times has our pride cause us to respond in the complete opposite way we should have responded?