This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about the Ministry of Encouragement.
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Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV) (Memory Verse)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
For next week we need to memorize this verse:
Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
The Ministry of Encouragement is all about setting people free from this grumpy world’s discouraged, fearful, negative, selfish, gloom and doom attitude. What set’s people free?
John 8:32 (NIV)
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The Truth. As we continue on in this series we are going to introduce what we will call the Encouragers TRUTH. We will build an acronym on the word TRUTH to help us remember the tools that God has given us to be encouragers.
T – Thinking
R – Recognizing
U – Understanding
T – Talking
H – Helping
Over the next few weeks we will be developing the Encouragers Truth to help us have a fruitful Encouragement Ministry. Today we will look at the first T in truth, Thinking!
1.) The link between thinking and encouragement
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Though we live in the world, we don’t wage ware as the world does. We are not to get our perspective from the culture, but from the very throne room of the living God. God is not pacing heaven saying “I didn’t see that coming”. We need to always remember that God is faithful, God is able, and God is in control. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to go through difficulties, it means that we need to look beyond the circumstances and remember that God is still God. We don’t give in to the fear, but we hang on to the hope that we have in Him. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
2.) The importance of right thinking
Rather than be consumed by the fear being spewed by our culture, we need to focus our thoughts on the Kingdom of God and the things of the Lord.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world (be afraid, be very afraid) but be changed by the renewing of your mind. By right thinking. By keeping our thoughts focused on God, His will and His way.
3.) Stop complaining and start capitalizing
Rather than freaking out about every wave of bad news, we need to seek after God and look to see what opportunities there will be for His Kingdom. We can’t just look at how everything impacts us. How can God use this in people’s lives?
James 1:2-8 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
One of the benefits of getting out thinking right, is that we can experience peace in the midst of turmoil.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
One of the ways that we can be encouraging is to bring a sense of calm and hope in to the midst of difficult situations. We can’t do this if we react to every situation the way the culture does. We don’t wage war that way, we demolish arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. Getting our hearts and minds focused on God is the first step in being a Minister of Encouragement.