(1 Thessalonians 5:11) “Let the promise of spending eternity with Jesus motivate us to encourage and edify one another.” WHAT IS IT? Biblical encouragement isn’t focused on complimenting someone’s car or telling them how good their lesson is. That kind of encouragement is important, but the encouragement the Scriptures refer to is explicitly Christian encouragement.Encouragement is shared with the hopes that it will lift someone’s heart toward the Lord (Col. 4:8). It points out evidence of grace in another’s life to help them see that God is using them. It points a person to God’s promises that assures them that all they face is under his control.The New Testament reveals that encouragement was a regular part of the early church’s life together (Acts 13:15, 16:40, 18:27, 20:1-2, 27:36). They shared Scripture-saturated words with each other to spur one another on in faith (Acts 14:22), hope (Rom. 15:4), unity (Rom. 15:5; Col. 2:2), joy (Acts 15:31), strength (Acts 15:32), fruitfulness (Heb. 10:24-25), faithfulness (1 Thess. 2:12), perseverance (Heb. 10:25), and the certainty of Christ’s return (1 Thess. 4:18). The Word encouragement is used for several words in the New Testament in the ESV The word Parakaleo which means to call near, invite The word protrepomai to turn forward for oneself The word euthumos in fine spirits The word episterizo to support further II: WE NEED IT (1 Thessalonians 5:11) According to this verse, Christians are called to let the promise of eternal life with Jesus motivate them. Despite the turmoil and trials of the world, we have a glorious hope awaiting us. We are to encourage one another with the assurance that our faith in Christ secures our eternal future. Our actions and words should reflect this hope and inspire others to look forward to spending eternity with Jesus. 1. Encourage - English trick 2. Build one another up - edification - oikodomeo to be a house builder. Ephesians 2:21, 1 Corinthians 3:9 3. Opposite of tearing down. (Ephesians 4:29) KJV corrupt communication; ESV corrupting communication. Sapros rotten, worthless GOD COMMANDED IT Jesus warned that “in this world you will have trouble,” which he then followed with a much needed encouragement: “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).We live in a broken world where everything calls us toward selfishness and despair. Sin steals joy, our bodies break down, our plans falter, our dreams die, our resolutions weaken, our perspective dims. We are promised suffering (1 Pet. 4:12), persecution (John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12), and trials of various kinds (James 1:2-3). When encouragement is absent from the life of a church people will feel unloved, unimportant, useless, and forgotten. God knows his people are in need of grace-filled reminders, so he calls us to encourage each other every day until his Son returns (Heb. 3:13). We are not meant to face life alone as a Christian. We are place in a body, the Body of Christ, and that body is seen on Earth as the church. We have to cooperate and love one another to build each other up. HOW CAN I DO IT? There isn’t only one “right way” to encourage each other, but here are a few ideas to help you get started. Pray for God to make you an encourager. Ask him to give you a heart that loves others and creativity to know how to show it. Ask him to help you die to self-centeredness and grow in a desire to build others up. Because God delights in helping his people obey his commands, we can trust that his Spirit will teach us how to bless others for his glory and their spiritual good. Study Barnabas and ask God to make you like him. Barnabas was nicknamed the “son of encouragement” by the early church (Acts 4:36). He was the kind of guy you wanted to have around as you were serving the Lord. He wasn’t just a spiritual cheerleader, but he was a man of great conviction who wanted to see the church flourish and did all he could to make it happen. Ask God to give you and your church a heart like Barnabas. Make encouragement a daily discipline. For some of us encouragement comes naturally, for others, not so much. I have a reminder in my calendar each day to send someone an encouraging note, email, text, or phone call. I need this reminder to pause, pray, and then intentionally try to spur someone on in Christ. Pray for God to show you who to encourage. Ask God to bring someone to mind that you should reach out to. Look at our prayer App!! Use Scripture if you’re able. Nothing encourages us like promises from God’s Word. Make a list of Scriptures that God has used to bless you personally or an excerpt from something you read in your daily devotional. Mine the Psalms, Romans 8, and the Gospels. Find and share riches of God’s grace with others. Be specific in what you say. The note I received from my friend included two very specific ways he had seen evidences of grace in my life. When I read them, I was humbled and reminded of the fact that God does actually work in and though me. I needed that. Regularly encourage your pastors and fellow church members. If your pastor says something that God uses, tell him about it. Don’t expect him to write you back, but just send a few lines in a card or an email. Nothing encourages a pastor like hearing specific ways God used a sermon or counseling session to work in your life. Pray that God would create a culture of encouragement in your church. Ask God to make your church a community that loves each other in specific, tangible ways like encouragement. Ask God to use you to help fan that flame. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t return your encouragement (Matt. 6:3-4; Eph. 6:3-8) or if you don’t see fruit from it (Gal. 6:9-10). Creating a church culture that glorifies God takes a long time, lots of prayer, and abundant grace. I encourage you to keep at it. Get started. Who can you encourage right now? Who has blessed you recently that you can thank? What verse can you share with them? How might God use it? What about you? We have an eternal perspective that should motivate us to encourage and edify one another, always looking forward to the day when we will be with Jesus. Let us commit to consistently building up our fellow believers, being faithful to meet together, and stirring one another toward love and good works. This week, text or write 3 people and message of encouragement. Tell someone they are doing a good job, or you are proud of their work. Pray for someone you know is struggling, and let them know your commitment to pray for them.