When we gather for the assembly, I think this is the one place where we should be able to count on receiving a blessing. God’s people who share so many powerful spiritual blessings and they are gathered together to encourage one another. Sometimes when we do not even feel like attending, there is a different feeling that evolves as people speak to us and greet us. We ought to leave feeling that we’re loved. That’s a major part of our life together.
To a group of people facing indecision, discouragement, and being drawn back into a hopeless religion comes the book of Hebrews. There are some thoughts on encouragement found there.
Encouragement is Vital…
To Keep Our Hearts Tender. (Hebrews 3:12-15 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”)
To Keep Our Hope Strong. (Hebrews 6:17-20a “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”)
To Keep Our Family Focused (Hebrews 10:22-25 let 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. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 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.”
We are to be Agents of Encouragement … How? Simple ways.
1. Smile (do any kids groups still sing that song about it not being any trouble just to s-m-i-l-e?)
2. Share burdens and cares
3. Show a Christ-like spirit
4. Shun attitudes that destroy
5. Shift from judgment to grace
6. Speak words of grace
A few passages about God’s heart for encouragement…
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
Romans 15:5-6 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those are some notes from my message this morning.