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How To Encourage Others
Message by Dr. Rick Mandl at Eagle Rock Baptist Church, September 6, 2020
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
Sermon Manuscript: Stay Positive Message 4- Be Encouraging
Sermon preached by Dr. Rick Mandl, Eagle Rock Baptist Church, August 29 & 30, 2020.
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
Welcome… It’s great to be with you today... We’re in week 4 of our “Be Positive” sermon series, reminding ourselves that our God is much, much bigger than all the negativity that we have in our world today. And in a world filled with negativity, we're focusing on God's Word to renew our minds to stay - - - - positive.
Today I want to talk to you about something I believe God wants to stir within the hearts of all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. I believe that our God is calling all of us to be encouragers. Our God is calling you to be an encourager, to build others up in a world that is constantly tearing people down. Why is this so important? It’s so important because... Everyone You Encounter Is Fighting a Battle That You Know Nothing About.
It may not be obvious on the outside, but they are fighting a battle on the inside. And one thing I’ve observed through the years is often, by the time that someone tells me about their struggle, it’s past the time when I can do anything to help. But at other times folks will share about the struggle that they’re in while they’re still in them. I believe that one of the most spiritual things that you can do is be an encourager. I want to say it again. One of the most spiritual things you can do is to build others up, to encourage them, and to lift those around you. I want to tell you why I believe this is true.
If you're taking notes, a key thought for our message today is this: We need to understand that
- Our God is an ENCOURAGER
If you and I are going to reflect the character and nature of God, we need to understand that our God is an encouraging God. In fact, in 2 Corinthians chapter 7 verses 5 and 6, the apostle Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. And here's what he said about God. He said, “When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us." How many of you feel like that right now? Like you're going, going, going and there's never any rest for you. He says, "We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside." And I think that’s a good description of a lot of our lives right now. So many battles going on. So many things coming at you that you just did not see coming. Battles on the outside and fear on the inside.
In verse 6 he shares two key words... And those words are... “But God," I love it when you’re reading God’s Word and you see something negative, followed by a “but God.” He says... "But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.” What does God do? Encourages those who are discouraged.
I hope today that if you're watching on-line and you feel discouraged, you feel like you're hurting, you don't know which way to go, you're facing some decisions and you're not sure what you should do, you've got challenges at home, maybe you've got challenges at work, maybe you've got financial challenges, maybe you've got health challenges, maybe you're just hurting and you feel very, very discouraged. You've got conflict on the outside and fear on the inside. I want to tell you, but we have a God who loves to encourage those who are discouraged.
How did God encourage Paul? He just sent a guy... A guy named Titus, to come alongside. Paul attributes the ministry of encouragement that God gives us to the arrival of another godly man that God had provided to encourage him. And don’t miss this... When you have eyes to see spiritual things, you can see something that others might consider a coincidence, and you can say… "No, no, no, that was not a coincidence - that was my God encouraging me." God sent someone to come alongside at just the time that I needed him. Someone who came alongside and maybe did something seemingly small, but I consider that as a message from heaven that my God cares about me. He is a God who encourages those who are discouraged. We serve a God who encourages those who are discouraged. Therefore, one of the most spiritual things you can do is to be like God, and to be a voice of encouragement in a world full of discouragement and hurtful voices.
It’s for this reason that...
2. God calls us to become ENCOURAGERS.
The writer to the Hebrews said this in Hebrews 3:13. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). How often are we to encourage one another? Daily. As long as it's called today. Why? So that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Every single day we should be a tool of God, to be a voice of encouragement to other people. This one of the reasons why...our life groups are so important, and why we’re always encouraging you to be a part of one.
This weekend is the first weekend of sign-ups for the up-coming semester, and I hope you’re going to sign up because in our life groups we come together to encourage one another in the things of God, because let's be honest, you stay away from church for a little while, you stay away from close fellowship with other believers, and our spiritual enemy just beats you down and beats you down and beats you down and beats you down. This is why, later on his letter, the writer to the Hebrews says... “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but... Do what??? Encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
On your notes, you’ll see... Big Idea. And as it relates to encouragement, the Big Idea is simply this... You Have No Idea What God Might Do Through A SINGLE WORD Of Encouragement. You have no idea how God might use YOU to offer someone hope, or to build someone’s faith, through a single word of encouragement. When you were a child, maybe you were taught, in response to an insult to say... Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s something that you’re taught as a child but as you grow, you quickly realize that that is not true. Words hurt! Words scar! Words leave wounds all the way down to the soul. Some of you today, can recall with crystal clarity, discouraging words that were spoken to you years and years ago. This is why the writer of Proverbs said... “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Someone who knew well the truth of those words, was God’s servant Job. Some of you know the story of Job. He lived in Old Testament times. He was a good man. He was a godly man. And he fell upon some hard times. In fact that is a huge understatement. The enemy, Satan, attacked Job and robbed him of more than you could ever imagine. And it was in the midst of his despair that his “Friends” show up to offer their opinion as to why the things that were happening to Job were happening to him. They said “Job, we’ve lived a long time. We’ve observed a lot of things. And the conclusion we’ve come to is that the things that you’re going through are your fault. They are a result of your sin.” Just thought we’d stop by and share that bit of helpful information with you.
And I love the way that Job responded to them. Because his response was totally honest. In Job 16:2 he said... “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking?" He tells them… I wish we could trade places... He says... I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.
But look at what he says in verse 5… He says... But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. “If it were me, I would encourage you.” Job knew that... “The tongue has the power of life and death.” And so he says, if were me, I would choose life. And that is what God is calling you and me to do. To speak “Life-giving” words. To speak words of encouragement. Why? Because... Everyone You Encounter Is Fighting a Battle That You Know Nothing About. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). Do you see what Paul is saying? He’s saying “Use your words to build up.” Maybe it’s not your spoken words. Maybe it’s your words communicated through a keyboard, or a phone on social media. Use your words to build others up.
You have no idea what God can do through a single word of encouragement. He can heal a marriage. He can give hope to a child who needs it. He can change someone’s destiny because you spoke life into them. Imagine a world where every Jesus follower did this. Imagine a world, where just on social media, every Jesus follower took the time to be encouraging. In fact some of you kind of like to rise to a challenge. So let me give you a challenge.
Let’s call it the “One Week Social Media Encouragement Only” challenge. And just like the name suggests, it’s a challenge for the next week, to not post anything on social media, unless it’s encouraging. Try it for a week. If that’s too much, try it for a day. It would be a very different world. If we made the decision to only use words that build others up. Trust me, the people in your life need encouragement. The people on your social media feed need encouragement. But sometimes the person who needs encouragement most is you. Sometimes you are the one in need. Sometimes you are the one fighting a battle that nobody knows anything about and you need encouragement. You might be smiling on the outside. To everyone else you look like you’re doing great. But you’re hurting on the inside. Everybody needs encouragement
And that’s why the third point on your notes is ...
- Encourage YOURSELF in the Lord
What may be the most powerful example of this is found in the Old Testament. The incident is recorded in I Samuel chapter 30 verse 6. It’s just a little bit before he becomes king and David is with an army of about 600 men living in a town called Ziklag. And what happens is that David and his men go off to a battle, and when they return, what they return to find is devastation. The place they had been staying is in ruin. It’s been burned. It’s still smoldering. All of their families... Their wives and children have been kidnapped. All of their possessions are gone. And the men who are there with David begin to weep and to wail and to mourn over all that has happened to their families. And then their grief turns to anger. And they’re looking for someone to blame. And David as their leader is the most logical person. And so they begin to threaten him. And this is what 1 Samuel 30 tells us…
It says... “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters." Put yourself in David’s shoes... David was massively distressed. There was trouble on the outside and fear on the inside. People were talking about stoning him. You think you’ve got it bad? Most likely nobody is trying to kill you with rocks. But then there is in this verse, this great phrase. It says... “But David found strength in the Lord his God” (Psalm 30:6). Those two words there that are translated there “Found Strength” Is the word ... CHAZAQ, NOT SHAQ. The former NBA player, but... CHAZAQ. It’s spelled “C-H-A-Z-A-Q” What does it mean to “Find Strength” in the Lord? It means “to talk to yourself.” And that’s what David did. He preached to himself, and told himself those things that he knew to be true about the goodness of God, and the faithfulness of God, and who God is. At this time when David was deeply distressed... facing conflict from every direction, battles on the outside and fear on the inside. David “found strength in the Lord”
The King James Version translates it this way... It says... David ENCOURAGED HIMSELF in the Lord his God. When David had come to the end of his own resources... He didn’t give himself a motivational pep talk. He didn’t says “If I can believe it, I can achieve it.” Instead he finds his strength in the Lord. Think about this for a moment... The town is still smoldering... The wives and children are gone... All the possessions are gone... And these men who have had your back for so many years are now angry enough to kill you. And this is what it says next... Verse 8… Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
Question - - - When does David hear this word from the Lord? Answer - - - It’s after he’s found strength. It’s after he’s been encouraged in the Lord. It’s after he’s got his CHAZAQ BACK. Here as David speaks to himself about who God it’s a reminder that words are powerful, and that words matter.
Psychologists have told us that for some reason, when we’re told POSITIVE things about ourselves, it takes us longer to believe those things than when we’re told NEGATIVE things. And I’m sure you’ve experienced that for yourself. You’ve gone through a day that was going great. You’re receiving compliments. You’re happy about how things have gone. And then one person begins to criticize you and it changes everything. Now matter how many good things happened that day, the thing that continues to replay over and over in your mind is that negative statement that was made to you. Why?
Because WORDS ARE POWERFUL and WORDS MATTER. So what words are you speaking to yourself? How are you speaking to your soul? Are you filling it with life? And with words of faith? Or are you filling it with words of discouragement and hopelessness? As we continue to talk about David... You can look at the Psalms and he wrote so many of the Psalms... And you’ll see a statement that he makes three times and he’s speaking to his own soul as he asks this question... And the question is... “Why are you so downcast Oh my soul?” (42:5, 42:11, 43:5). And he begins to talk to his own soul, and he asks that question three times. And all three times he answers in the same way. He reminds his soul of this... He says, “Put your hope in God.” David is telling himself to remember who God is... He has been good, he has been faithful, he has been my provider, he has been my protector. He is always with me. He is always for me. David writes “He is my strength and my refuge.” David reminds himself of who God is, and he finds encouragement there... Not because of who DAVID is...
David doesn’t make it about DAVID. HE doesn’t say “I got this.” He says “No, I will find my strength... I will find my encouragement in the Lord." Some of us need to get our CHAZAQ back – we need to find our strength in the Lord. Let me encourage you, as an ACTION STEP to set aside some time this week, to write down a list of things that you have to be encouraged about. Can’t think of anything? Let me give you some suggestions... Maybe you would write down... My sins have been forgiven. I’m redeemed. I have a home in heaven. I’m a new creation in Christ. I’m a child of the Living God. I am free from the power of sin. I am the workmanship of God created In Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for me to do. My name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me. Through Him I am more than a conqueror. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am an ambassador of the most high God. My sins have been separated from me as far as the east is from the west.
There are all kinds of things you could write down. Why is it important to remind yourself of these things? Because in this difficult time... In a world that’s filled with negativity, we need to get our CHAZAQ back. We need to find our strength in the Lord. Let’s Pray toward that end together...
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
From Series: "Stay Positive"
You can discover a whole lot to smile about if you know where to look. And we can help you find it! Don’t let life get you down. Stay joyful. Stay hopeful. And Stay Positive! Cynicism and negativity may be the easy choice, but they're not the best choice. If you seek what’s good, you’ll see what's good. Let's embrace the way we're created to think and Stay Positive. This six-week series will help your attenders learn to be thankful and excited in spite of all the negativity we experience in this world. Weekly topics include optimism, gratefulness, encouragement, generosity, enthusiasm, and confidence.
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