Encourage One Another (Week 3 – One Another Series)
Jason White




A sincere word of encouragement can make a huge impact on our lives and the lives of others, and The God of Encouragement (Romans 15:5) came to dwell in you to be an encouragement to you and to use you to be an encourager to others.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Encourage one another and build one another up, just as in fact you are doing.






Sermon Audio Transcript
So when my son, Eli was in the fifth grade, this was few years back now he's around 10 or 11 years old,we were contacted along with all of the other parents in his fifth grade, or of the children in his fifth grade class. And the teacher was telling us that she had an project that was coming up that she needed us to participate in. She said, I'd like for each of you to write an encouraging letter to your child that I'm going to give to them to read at the end of the semester, she said, I'd love for you to also find three other influential people in their lives and have them write a letter of encouragement as well, and then seal them up in an envelope, give them back to me, and we're going to read them as a class. And so Natalie and I wrote a letter of encouragement, we had each set of grandparents write a letter of encouragement, and there was someone that was one of our children's ministry volunteers at the time that had been with him throughout several years in a row, we asked him to do one and she said, hey, just just write things like how much you you love them point out characteristics that you appreciate about them, just affirm them in ways, right, maybe even a few personal stories that really stand out to you about them, just anything that would speak to their hearts, and really be an encouragement to them as they get ready to get launched into middle school, which is a really kind of a unique time when we're growing up in that particular age. And so, again, we had all the letters collected, we sealed them up, we gave them back to the teacher. And then we were invited to come to the class on the day that they were going to read them. And so the rest of the parents and along with us all gathered together, and we were invited into the room, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. But when we walked in the lights were kind of turned down a little bit, there were lamps that were lighting up the room, there were kind of there was kind of the soft instrumental music that was playing in the background and, and there was a box of tissues on every single desk throughout. And it's it's a good thing that there were because as I made my way around to where Eli was, I noticed along the way that each and every single kid in that room had been crying at one point in time, and many of them were still crying in that particular moment, it was obvious that these letters had really impacted them in a powerful way. And then, of course, we as parents got to be there just to continue to affirm to to give hugs, and to continue to speak words of life and affirmation to them face to face. And I I just don't think I'll ever forget that moment that I walked into the room and saw the impact that it made. And I doubt very seriously that many of the kids that were in the room that day will ever forget that moment, either. That's the words that we say the words that we write, the words that we communicate to other people can have a powerful impact on their lives. I honestly can't think of too many other ways that are more impactful than a sincere, a sincere word of encouragement from someone, oftentimes, it can even be from someone we really don't even know that well. I think in many cases, it's true. If we really do know that person well, and it means more. But sometimes it can even be from someone we barely even know or a stranger that just encouraged us in some way that can even be really powerful in those moments. And so I think that's why the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote what he did here in First Thessalonians 511 where he says, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing was something they were already doing, but he wanted to encourage them to continue to do the encouraging and the building up. The Greek word here that's translated encourage one another is para Calais. Oh, everybody say Pora say Calais, oh, I park Calais o para means to the side or to come alongside Calais O means to call and when you put it together it means to come alongside and, and kind of call out some things in someone that you encourage them, you strengthen them in some way. It could be to comfort them based on something that's going on in their lives in that moment or to exhort them to To instruct in some way. I think when you see the other word that Paul used for build up and put them together, you get an even deeper sense of what he was saying, this is Iike de Mayo and Greek right here. And isn't this, this is great. Watch this. He says, it means to increase the potential of someone. When Paul says to build up someone, it's you're you're increasing the potential of them, you're making them more able, you're again, building up, you're edifying them in some way. And so when you see kind of what's at the root of each of these words, you really get a sense of what Paul is talking about here, we're coming alongside of other people throughout this journey of life to to be a support to them, to inspire them to, to comfort them, to build them up, and to edify them in some way. But we need to go even a bit deeper, to really appreciate more fully what Paul is talking about here, because we see this word para Calais, O, or a form of this word, in many more places throughout Scripture. As a matter of fact, Jesus even used it here in John chapter 14. He's talking to His disciples, and He says, and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, which the original word there is Parklea toasts, and you can see how it's related to Tara Calais, oh, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, he says to the disciples, for He dwells with you, and he will be in you, He says, and so the spirit was among them was with them in those moments, but we know there was a day coming. And Jesus even highlighted that it would be better for them when he goes away after his death, resurrection and ascension, because the spirit, the parklike, toast was coming to now dwell in them in those moments right. Now, again, this is kind of a complex term. And you can read more about that and has the idea of mediating on behalf of someone, but again, being related to the park Calais, oh word, it carries the idea of encouragement. He is a helper in that he encourages us, God, the Holy Spirit is the encourager. We even see this in the way that Paul addressed God in Romans chapter 15. This is near the end of the letter that he was writing to the church at Rome, and he addresses God in this way, may the God of endurance and the God of encouragement, para Cleese's, again, related to our word here, may the God of encouragement, grant you to do what? To live in harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together, you may with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We talked about this the first week, and how the Lord united us together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and a lot of the one another's, that we have are talking about the way we relate to, and behave around with each other as a result of the unity that he's placed within us and between one another. And so he's saying, May the God of encouragement, be the one that allows you to live in that harmony and carry out the one another's in these particular ways. Now, again, when you go back here, he's saying that not only was he with him, but he'll be in use. So this God of encouragement would come to dwell in them in in that moment, three things were going to happen now. Number one, the god of encouragement was going to be there to encourage them, the god of encouragement who dwells within us, if we put our faith and trust in Jesus is there to encourage us to comfort us to just in any life situations where we need to be built up in those ways. And I guarantee you that we've all had those moments where we've just since deep down within our spirits, that we were being encouraged by the Lord, that we didn't come through another person. It was just deep within my spirit. I could feel the Lord encouraging me in some way. And I know that you've felt it at those times too, because that's who he is. But he wasn't just there and he's not just there to encourage me in my journey with him and along life, he's there to be in me to use me to encourage other people. And he puts himself and other people to use them to speak words of encouragement to me, as well. And so this is kind of when we see Paul saying, to encourage one another, it's a result of the spirit that comes to dwell in us who is an encourager, goes back to the things that we talked about the very first week, guys, this is not just okay, here's all the one another's now go out and try to do them better.We've talked about loving one another in who is God, He is love who comes to dwell in us and that love gets expressed through us. We talked about forgiving one another, the God who forgives, forgive them, for they know not what they do on the cross comes to dwell in us to lead us to forgive other people encourage one another, oh, by the way, he's the God of encouragement, who puts himself inside of you to express that encouragement in and through you to other people. So this is where it comes from. It's an inside out work of the Spirit, the god of encouragement through us. Now, what we really need to drill down to though, is, how does this play out in our practical, everyday lives? If Paul says, to encourage one another, what does that really look like? Well, I can't think of a better example, than someone who was nicknamed the Son of Encouragement in Scripture. Many of you have read your bibles know exactly who it is that I'm referring to. What's his name? Barnabas, right. And we're introduced to Barnabas in Acts chapter four, where Luke tells us this Joseph did you know that was his real name, his real name is not Barnabas, his name is Joseph. And he was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, this was a nickname, in other words, son of in courage, but guess what the word for encouragement in our English Bibles is here, power crisis, right. And so again, we see how many times this is used of that. And that he sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles feet. So we see this nickname. When do you get nicknamed something as a result of something happening over and over in your life again, and so the apostles experienced encouragement from Joseph, and they said, You know what, we're gonna call you Barnabas, because you are such an encouragement. But again, we're not highlighting the work of Barnabas here. We're not saying go be more like Barnabas, because the same Holy Spirit, who is the god of what encouragement came to dwell in Joseph, the moment that he put his faith in Christ. And now all of this encouragement that we're seeing come through Bonners. Barnabas was a result of the god of encouragement, who dwelt in Him and was expressing that encouragement from or through him. So what we're going to do is look at some of the practical ways that the Spirit led Barnabas to encourage others. If this is the activity that we see in the sun of encouragement, then there's a pretty good chance it's the same kind of activity, we should look for the encourager who dwells in us to lead us in at times as well. So I'm going to highlight three things three ways we see Barnabas encouraging others in the book of Acts, number one, Barnabas encouraged others through giving. We saw this in the first that we were introduced to him, he introduces him and he says what he did, Barnabas sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles feet. Now, this was no small thing. I mean, honestly, ownership of land was the principal source of wealth and social standing in the Greco Roman world that he lived in at the time. And so if you sell your principal source of wealth and social standing, and you don't use the proceeds of that, to benefit your social standing and put it in your 401 K, or to go buy yourself, the boat that you always wanted, or the new house that you've always wanted, but you lay it at the feet of the apostles to be used in God's kingdom work and just give it away. That's a pretty big deal. And it was encouraging so encouraging to the apostles and the others who were there saying, you know, we're gonna change your name to the sign of encouragement, write it You guys have seen this happen in your own lives. I mean, we share stories of people on social media. A lot of times during the holidays, this gets highlighted a lot during Christmas time, which will be Did you know, by the way, I went to Lowe's the other day, we have not even had not even gotten to October yet. And guess what's in the aisles, Christmas trees, all kinds of Christmas stuff out there. But during our Christmas season, we highlight a lot of times people who are being selfless people who are giving to other people and helping them on some way. And when you and I see stories like that, what does it do to us? Man, it just encourages us so much that we want to share it with others on social media so that they can be encouraged when they see someone being so selfless when we see one, someone giving to benefit their own somebody else's life or to fund the ministry, these guys were called to ministry and they have a need, and they want to meet those needs. But they didn't know how they were going to fund it. And now the Lord provided through Barnabas, and it was encouraging to them. This is the kind of activity we see in the sun of encouragement. And I'm even seeing it through you as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I've mentioned the spending plan that we were going to be voting on a little bit later. And, you know, when we looked at where we were financially, as far as our general budget, just in August, before we go on into our last month of the fiscal year, we were behind. And we were noticing that we were probably going to end our fiscal year at least 50,000, maybe more like $100,000, kind of in the hole where where we had giving less than expenses for this year. But about a week or two after we began to look at those and project those things to be happening. Do you know that in one Sunday, we had a $90,000 Giving week, we usually expect around 20 to 23,000. That's what it takes if you average it out each Sunday to be able to meet our general expenses for ministry throughout the year. And we had a $90,000 Giving week on that Sunday. What right? I mean, what does that do to you even before she started clapping right? To your heart, most of you felt that most of you were encouraged by that to go, wow, that's the God who provides who can only show up and do that kind of thing. And so again, why because God encourages us through giving in the way that he uses it to provide in each of the situations that we have. And we've seen God do it time and time again, we're going to continue to see him do it over and over again through our now's the time campaign, and all of these things. So when we're looking at it in our own lives, and we see it in the sun of encouragement, go, Oh, now I need to be open to looking practically how the Lord wants to use me to encourage one another through my giving potentially, the second way that we see Barnabas, practically encouraging others throughout the book of Acts, is that Barnabas encouraged others by welcoming outsiders welcoming outsiders, to the insiders to the inside circle into the family.We see this in a couple of different places in Acts. The first one is in the life of Paul, most of you know that before he became Paul, he was Saul and he was not a good guy. Like Saul persecuted Christians, he gave orders to kill them did many things to them. And what we see is that after God gets a hold of his life, and after he changes his name to Paul and says, I'm going to work in and through you to share the gospel with others, that the disciples, the other apostles were scared of him. We see this in Acts chapter 926. It says when he came referring to Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples. But they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. Paul was an outsider. He was not one of them. And they were afraid of him. They thought that he might be tricking them to harm them. And so they wanted to keep him on the outside. But look at what we see in the very next verse. But the Son of Encouragement, took him and brought him to the apostle As he told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord, and that the Lord had spoken to him and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus, Barnabas, again, the Son of Encouragement speaks up for Paul, in this moment, Barnabas welcomed him into his own life, he welcomed him into the family of believers. And now he was encouraging others to do the same. And we know that they eventually did. And we know how much impact Paul had in spreading the Good News of Jesus to others, especially another group of people who were considered outsiders at the time, which is the Gentiles. We see this in Acts chapter 11, beginning in verse 19, it says, Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Steven was killed, you can read about that in Acts chapter seven, and eight, and how they were all scattered from Jerusalem and and now Luke's picking back up to say, here's what happened to all those people. I told you about three chapters earlier, that were persecuted and got spread out all over the place. So he says they traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch spreading the word at first only among the Jews. But some of them However, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also telling them the good news about Jesus. Now, the next thing we read is that the Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turn to the Lord. But news of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check it out. Now, why did they send Barnabas to Antioch to check this out? One of the things that we know is that the Jewish Christians at the time, were pretty skeptical of the Gentiles becoming Christians. The Gentiles were outsiders. They were not on the inside. They didn't want to welcome them in and they were not very accepting of this idea of these outsiders coming to know Jesus and being welcomed into the family. And so when they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check this out, it most likely wasn't because they were so excited about it and wanted to welcome them in. But here's what we see happen in the very next verse when he Barnabas arrived, and saw the grace of what the grace of God had done, he was glad. And he Parra Calais owed them, right, he encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord, with their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And a great number of people were brought to the Lord Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement, was used by the Spirit, to encourage the Gentiles in to welcome these outsiders into the family of God. Even see that he goes on to do this for a whole nother year. As soon as this happens, it says, Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. And so for a whole year, Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught a great many people why, to be an encouragement to them, because they were encouraged by what the grace of God was doing even among the Gentiles. And so once again, in a very practical way, what we see Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement, doing is encouraging the outsiders, to show them that they were welcome on the inside because of the grace of God. And Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the god of encouragement, wants to do the same thing through you. I mean, think about that it is so encouraging, when those on the outside are truly welcomed in on the inside. And again, let's be honest, we've all been on the outside at one time of our lives and know what it is like to be on the outside in hoping to be on the inside. There might even be some of you who are here today, maybe you're a guest, maybe someone invited you and you've felt like an outsider. But someone invited you and you had the courage to come today and we hope sincerely that you've been welcomed in but we recognize that that can be a really difficult thing. It may have even been that you were hurt in church or you had This idea of what goes on in these kinds of places and for you to step out and be here, not knowing what it was going to be like when you really came is a very courageous thing to do. And we thank you for that. And we want you to know that this is a safe place. We want to be a welcoming, loving, caring family that you are welcomed into and to ask questions, and we just want to get to know you and come alongside of you, and be an encouragement to you. And so we hope that that's been the case. But we also know how encouraging it is to the rest of us, not just when we're the ones welcomed in, but honestly, when we see other people welcomed in, right. I mean, this is the church that we feel like God has led us to, to partner with. We've seen him do things in our own lives, we've experienced it, and we want other people to experience it. And we want our church to grow. And so when we see outsiders becoming insiders, what does it do to our hearts, encourages us as well to know that other people are experiencing the same kind of things that we experienced when we came in. This is a work of our God, the encourager, He does it through our giving, He does it through using us to welcome outsiders to the inside, as well. The third and last thing I'll highlight in the book of Acts that we see in the way that Barnabas is practically encouraging others is that he encouraged others by restoring those who failed. And honestly, we see this in Acts chapter 15, where this is what plays out. It says some time later, Paul said to Barnabas, let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preach the word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Barnabas wanted to take John also called mark with them. But Paul did not think it wise to take him because he had deserted them and PAMP philia and had not continued with them in the works. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, Barnabas took Mark, and they sailed for Cypress. Now, there's a lot of things that we don't know about this disagreement. There's a lot of things, a lot of details. We don't know exactly what happened with John Mark. And the way he they did he deserted them in a certain other time. But whatever it was, was big enough for the Apostle Paul to write him off as a failure.Whatever it was, was big enough for the Apostle Paul to write him off as a failure and say, No, you can't come and that very well could have been the end of his ministry as a missionary that could have been that was it for him. But Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement, would not let John marks failure define him. He said, No, no, no, no, not on my watch the blood of Jesus even covered that. And so he took him with him. And they sailed for Cyprus, for what a vacation to go prop their feet up and just chill, no, to continue to go and make disciples of all nations, he restored him from his failure, and said, Come with me. And we're going to be in this together as you continue to see the Lord work in and through you to the ministry that he called you to as well. And so again, if this is the kind of activity that we see in the sun, and of encouragement through the God of encouragement, who dwelt in them, then we look for the same thing in our lives as well, that he wants to lead us to encourage other people by restoring those who have failed, restoring those who have made mistakes, restoring those who have fallen on their faces. And again, let's be honest, that's been all of us at one time or another. In a lot of times, when we failed in those moments, many of us may have had someone come to us and encourage us in some way, reminding us of our complete forgiveness in Christ, and that God still wants to work in and through us and just spoke words of life to us in those moments of failure. And we were finally able to kind of pick our faces up off of the ground and maybe get onto our knees and then begin to stand up on our own feet again, and then begin to take steps as the Holy Spirit empowered us to get back into this game of life and the work that Jesus was doing in and through us. And again, let's be looking for how the Spirit wants to lead us to do that. Let's be looking for him and his activity in all three of those areas as we close today, I just want to encourage you to ask yourself these questions based on what we see happening in in through Barnabas his life as a result of the Spirit who is the encourager. Ask yourself today, Lord, how do you want to encourage others through my giving? And listen for what he has to say, Lord? How do you want to encourage others by using me to invite outsiders to join our family and become part of our church? Lord? How do you want to use me to encourage someone who has failed by restoring them? And as we ask that final question, we also have to recognize that for some of us, that may even be related to last week's message where we learned we were to forgive one another, because the person who failed that the Lord brings to mind may be someone who failed us in some way. And so now we're taking that step of forgiving them to eventually be able to restore them, and encourage them to get back into relationship with us and be reconciled and back into the ministry that the Lord has called them to as well. And so again, I really want to encourage you to be thinking about and praying about these three specific ways. But again, as we close, let's also just remember that if God really is the god of encouragement, it goes way above and beyond just these three specific ways. I mean, be asking the Spirit just in general, who do you want me to encourage this week? And how, right? Is there matter of fact, I want to encourage you, I want to challenge you, to ask Jesus to bring five people to your mind this week. There are seven days between now and next Sunday, I'm gonna give you two of them off. All right, but for for each day, let's say Monday through Friday, right? Lord, lay five people on my heart that you want to use me to be an encouragement to in some way this week? And how do you want to do that, Lord? Is it through a text message? Is it a phone call? Do I write on a handwritten note? Do I need to meet face to face and and what's it about right, but as the Lord lays those people on your heart trust, it's from him, the god of encouragement in you, and then trust him to lead you on how it is that he wants to encourage you through them. And then I would finally just say, if you get encouraged by someone today, it even encourages other people, when you call that out, share it with someone else posted on social media, I was so blessed today and encouraged by this person who wrote me a handwritten note. And you don't have to share every detail that may be personal, but you just call it out and you go, Oh, man, that's awesome. And we get encouraged that you are encouraged in some way. And there's just lots of encouragement happening all over the place. So this is how I think the Lord may be leading us practically send some way, just trust that the God of encouragement who dwells in you, is going to lead you to encourage someone, five people, at least this particular week and beyond. Holy Spirit, God of encouragement, thank you for being so encouraging to us. Just think of the moments in my life where I've been stressed. I've been down I've been sad, I've been frustrated, I've been angry. And the times where you just met me right, where I was at, and loved me anyway. And just spoke words of life to me are so encouraging. You truly are the God of encouragement. And I pray for my brothers and sisters, the guests who are here today, who may have been walking in here today with much of that on their heart, just lonely, angry, depressed, frustrated, confused? would maybe they even just right now in this moment, experience your press. Feel in their spirits. The encouragement that you have for them, the love the forgiveness, the words of affirmation, you want to speak to them in this moment. Lord Jesus, we recognize that as you encourage us, that you want to use us to be an encouragement to others.We make ourselves available, would you do that through our giving? Would you do that through the way we will Come others inwould you do that through leading us to restore those who have failed maybe even us in some way make ourselves available to you thank you Jesus it's in your name we pray amen