This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about the Ministry of Encouragement.
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This is what you should have memorized:
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NIV)
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. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We are continuing in our discussion on what we are calling the Encouragers TRUTH:
T – Thinking
R – Recognizing
U – Understanding
T – Talking
H – Helping
We have talked about the importance of getting our perspective from the throne room of God and not from the culture, and then learning to see, hear and use our words the way that God does. Today we are going to talk about HELPING. Using our hands to encourage others.
1 John 3:16 (NIV)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1. It is OK to start small
Sometimes we don’t move into a situation because it seems too big. Like if we don’t have a complete solution then we don’t do anything. This is what happens in this passage:
John 6:1-9 (NIV)
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
From this illustration, you need to see a few things. First, Jesus already had in mind what He was going to do. God already has it all figured out, so you don’t have to figure out how it is all going to work out. Second, Phillip looked at the situation and basically said, “it can’t be done”. Phillip is doing what most of us do, we forget to keep God in the equation. Third, Andrew, while not having it all figured out, offers what he has at hand. “Here is a boy with five small loaves and two small fish, I am not sure how this can feed so many, but…here you go Jesus”. All it takes is a little bit of faith and starting with what you have.
2. Start at home
If you are not encouraging your family, and your friends, you will not be an effective minister of encouragement. Your home is the perfect place to figure out how to encourage well, and how to love well. Encourage your spouse, encourage your children, encourage your parents, speak words of life and hope. I asked you to listen to what you are saying last week. What is your conversation like with the people closes to you. Are you building them up or tearing them down? Are you blessing or criticizing?
1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
You need to provide encouragement to your family. You need to remind them that God loves them, that you love them, and that there is always hope as long as you keep God in the equation.
3. Show respect to everyone
We have talked about this before, but it is important to look at people and circumstances with God’s eyes.
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
We have to continue to develop the encouragers truth in our lives, getting our thinking right by getting our perspective from the throne room of God, asking God to help us with our spiritual blindness and deafness, and using our words to speak life into the lives of people. And, in order to help others you need too….
4. Know your value
You have something to offer. Sometimes people think that they don’t matter, that they can’t say or do anything that would help someone. You need to know that you have tremendous value in God’s eyes and that you make a difference. That you have something to offer the world around us.
1 Corinthians 12:14-19 & 27 (NIV)
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Each one of us is a part of the body of Christ. We are His hands, His feet, His eyes, His ears. Whatever part you are matters!