Sermon: Encourage One Another

Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 5:11
July 24, 2021

I love the story told by Larry Olsen in Outdoor Survival Skills:

A guy has been lost in the desert for days. He’s out of food and water. His lips are parched, his tongue swollen. His legs are bruised and bleeding from crawling, his skin is scorched by the sun, bitten by insects, and pricked by cactus thorns. As he pulls himself over the next sand dune, he sees nothing but more wasteland through his bloodshot, sand-peppered eyes. He sighs, “You know, a few more days of this, and I might get discouraged.”

In actuality, we are prone to be discouraged far more quickly than that, as John Piper has noted:

“…one of the pervasive marks of our times is emotional fragility. It hangs in the air we breathe. We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We blame easily. We break easily. Our marriages break easily. Our faith breaks easily. Our happiness breaks easily. And our commitment to the church breaks easily. We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition.” [The Roots of Endurance]

We need help and hope — and we need to offer help and hope to others who are experiencing difficulty and are despondent, discouraged, and maybe even despairing.  That ministry of encouragement is foundational to the church, and it is a vital part of Paul’s ministry to the Thessalonian church.

As we come to the communion table this morning, my goal is to remind us of the essential nature of relationships in the church body and how the Lord has positioned us to help care for one another.  This year we are regularly focusing on the importance of church life and body relationships; it is crucial that we fulfill the roles the Lord has given us to care for one another.  Today we look at the ministry of encouragement from a section at the end of 1 Thessalonians:

Because of the certainty of Christ’s return, we care for one another spiritually.

In this verse (5:11), Paul makes four statements about our spiritual care of others in the church body:

  1. Because of Christ’s Coming… (v. 11a)
  2. …Intentionally Encourage One Another (v. 11b)
  3. …Intentionally Disciple One Another (v. 11c)
  4. …Keep on Working (v. 11d)

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.

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