The Ministry of Encouragement Part 1

May 25, 2010

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about the Ministry of Encouragement.

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The Ministry of Encouragement – Part 1

We should start our discussion on the Ministry of Encouragement by defining what encouragement is. Encourage is a compound word consisting of “en” which means to put in or into and the word “courage” which means brave, strong, or confident. To encourage literally means to put courage into someone. The ministry of encouragement then would be to put courage into people to trust and obey God because He loves them.

If you add the prefix “dis” to a word it basically reverses the word it is attached to. So to discourage would mean to take someone’s courage away.

An encouraging person is good to be around because they build you up with their words, actions, and attitudes.

A discouraging person leaves you feeling weak, hopeless and fearful.

In the New Testament, the word that we translate encourage from is the word “parakaleo”. So, “para” means beside or near or alongside and “kaleo” means to call or summon. A “paraclete” or encourager is someone who comes alongside and brings comfort, hope and courage. Paraclete is the word used to describe the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Why embrace the Ministry of Encouragement?

1.) We live in a grumpy world

Filled with bad news and fear which for some reason is spun to make it seem worse and more fearful. The reason. To keep you watching so that you will watch commercials which they are selling to make money. But it is a factor in why the world is so grumpy. It is making us all eeyores. We’re all doomed!

Hebrews 10:19-25 (New International Version)
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let 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. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let 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 all need to memorize this verse. Let’s do it one verse a week. So this week memorize Hebrews 10:19

2) It is embraced by God

Encouragement is part of the ministry of God expressed in the trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:3 (New International Version) (Father)
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (encouragement),

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (New International Version) (Son)
16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

John 14:16 (King James Version) (Holy Spirit)
16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (paraclete), that he may abide with you for ever;

3) It is a main purpose of the Bible

The Bible is a book of encouragement, truth, hope, love, purpose, and forgiveness

Romans 15:4-5 (New International Version)
4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,

2 Timothy 4:2 (New International Version)
2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

4) It is a ministry for everyone

100 % of the church can and should be a minister of encouragement

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (Steve’s Paraphrase)
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement, 4who encourages us in all our troubles, so that we can encourage those in any trouble with the encouragement we ourselves have received from God.

We are going to finish today with a little quiz. Don’t freak out, it is not going to be graded. There are no wrong answers, it is just self evaluation. Don’t answer as you think you should be, answer with where you are currently.

How Prepared are You for the Ministry of Encouragement?

1. Do I speak more words of encouragement than I do of criticism, complaint or correction? Y / N

Be honest with yourself. What is the ratio?

2. Are people more cheerful when they are around me? Y / N

Do people like to be around you or do you actually draw all the air out of the room?

3. Would my family consider me to be an encouraging person? Y / N

This is where you would go to see if your answer to number one is correct.

4. Do I apologize to people after I have been negative or discouraging or complaining? Y / N

When you realize you have fallen into the grumpy trap, do you go and make it right?

5. Have I been diligent in encouraging people I am regularly in contact with? Y / N

People at work, people in church, Winn Dixie cashiers.

6. Do I pass along good news and let gossip stop with me? Y / N

Or do you do the opposite? Good News stops with you, but gossip flows like a river.

7. Is my conversation with friends generally building up other people? Y / N

Are you bonding illegitimately by judging other people with other people?

8. Have I recognized how encouraging God is to others as well as to me? Y / N

Or am I in the trap of the grumpy 24 hour a day bad news cycle?

9. Does my impatience/anger/selfishness get in the way of encouraging other people? Y / N

Is it all about me and what I want?

10. Am I patient in spending time with and listening to God so He can encourage my heart? Y / N

Start every day by being thankful for five things. Then encourage at least two people a day.

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