1 Thess. 5:11

 

With all that has gone on this week we need to focus on forgiveness. It is a spirit of not forgiving others that brings hate and violence.  Our response to violence has to be peace and love for one another.

 

I don’t want us to forget how Christians are to live and react in the face of murders and protests and in the little day to day issues when a family member insults you.

 

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

 

Be a blessing, continue to be a blessing no matter what the other person does.

 

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

 

Be a peacemaker

 

Matthew 5:39  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

 

Turning the other check is Christ like not retaliating. Retaliating is the fleshes response.

 

Let God comfort you when you do the right thing and still get pushed around.

We need to find other people that we can comfort who are being pushed around.

 

That is what it means to encourage one another. Encouragement is coming along side and giving support.

 

Jesus –

Luke 2:25  Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

 

Jesus was the comforter of Israel because He brought the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Jesus is our comforter too.

 

Barnabas –

Acts 4:36  Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37  sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

 

Barnabas was a comforter because you supported people financially.

Can you comfort and encourage others by your generous giving?

 

Philemon

Philemon 1:7  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

 

How are you refreshing the hearts of others?

You think I am hurting and need comfort how can I encourage others.  Just give it a try.  As you help others you may just find the help you need.  You have more to offer others than you think.

Encouraging / comforting others is not just going to happen.  You must intentionally make a difference in the lives of others.  Put their needs before your own.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage ONE ANOTHER and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

See someone in need and encourage them. You say you’re not sure how to encourage others.

When do you feel encouraged? Then do that to others.

 

We are encouraged when we receive help, seeing others working hard, even a smile.

 

Encouragement goes straight to the heart, so touch someone’s heart with your encouragement and refresh them.

 

You can encourage by speaking the persons “love language” (words of affirmation, spending quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch)

 

Praise people in front of others – praise their character and abilities.

 

Remind fellow Christians of the specific promises of God and characteristics of God.

 

Write someone a note to tell them that you’re praying for them.

 

Realize the power of presence. Just being there is encouraging! When you’re with others, you’re telling them that they’re important.

 

Be excited with others. It is more fun to rejoice together.

Look at grown men on a ball field. A walk off home run – dumping Gator-aid, piling on each other, jumping up and down.

 

When you see someone making positive changes in their lives, affirm them.

 

Be committed to showing up. Your simple presence encourages others that they are part of a family.

 

Tell people how they’ve encouraged you!

 

Encourage other believers with a reminder of Christ’s coming. It redirects our thinking to an eternal perspective and ultimate deliverance from sin and death.

That is the context of our passage this morning.

We think encourage one another is to give polite and kind words to lift someone’s spirit. But the only words that really lift the spirit are words about our Salvation.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

Encouragement is not for the sad but for each of us to have the hope of salvation. Encourage one another with the truth of the gospel. Jesus is coming and we need to be ready.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

 

Our encouragement comes from the comfort of our salvation, from the fact that we know Jesus is coming for us.

Does that comfort you?

Jesus loves you and He is coming to pick you up.

 

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

 

No matter the struggles in life, no matter what makes us down we have the promise of Heaven.

 

So we have the ultimate reason not to be down but life is difficult and there are reasons to be discouraged in life, but there is no reason to give up the hope we have.

 

Psalm 43:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

 

So when we see others who are giving up, those who are discouraged in life give them the hope of Jesus, remind them what Jesus has done for them and the promise of His coming for them.

 

Another reason we need to encourage one another is so that we do not lose our salvation.

Hebrews 3:12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

 

As we encourage one another to remember Jesus’ coming we have to remind each other not to be deceived by sin. Paul later in Hebrews gives us more of the same encouragement.

 

Hebrews 10:23 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.

 

Who has given up meeting together? Miss them, love them and encourage them to come back.

 

We have encouragement because of Hope but also because of God’s promise.

Remember what Jesus told the disciples in John 14?

 

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (Comforter) to be with you

forever.

The Greek word is “Paraclete,” the One who comes alongside to encourage us.

 

We have a built in encourager. When we rely on God the Holy Spirit we never have to be discouraged.  Yes, life will be tough and bad things will happen but God is with us.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

 

We have experienced God’s comfort so let’s use that to encourage others. Let’s spur one another on and encourage one another to remain faithful and look forward to Jesus’ appearing.  Let’ spur each other to love and to do good works, to meet together and encourage each other.

 

If we are truly going to be united like Jesus desires, we must be together so we can love each other and encourage each other. Sometimes we just want to be alone, that is fine for a while, but we really need to be with our Christian family so we can encourage and be encouraged.

 

Christian will you become more of an encourager?

 

If you want the ultimate encouragement then accept Christ today and God the Holy Spirit, the great comforter, will come and live within you.

 

Will you come believing that Jesus is the Messiah, will you repent of your sins, will you be immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit?