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Sermon outlines
by Edward Thomason
Things that encourage
text: Hebrews 10:24-25

Source: written by Edward E.Thomason Preach today.com
Date _______  place: Church of Christ
Objective: Supportive
Sermon Plan Theme: Our responsibilities

Things that encourage
text: Hebrews 10:24-25

     Let me encourage you to turn in bibles to Heb. 10:24-25 (read). The text says: "exhort one another..." (the word exhort means basically the same as our word "encourage") Encouragement is like a vitamin, we all need a daily min. requirement. We need someone to believe in us, see us as we could be... We need someone to love us, accept us, appreciate us... The text tells us to "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" (We are to make a deliberate effort to stimulate and encourage one another as individuals and as a group, to do and be our very best!) We should ask ourselves, what encourages me? Would that also encourage someone else? We should use our imaginations to look for ways and opportunities to encourage others.. In fact, let us consider together this morning a few simple ways that Christians can and do encourage each other:

I. FIRST, JUST BEING TOGETHER ENCOURAGES:
    (There is strength in numbers!)

    A.  Sometimes when together we encourage one another in ways unexpected. We may not realize it, but just being here this morning may be an encouragement to someone.) Prov. 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron..." (Illustration: knives) "So one man sharpens another." (We need each other.) We benefit from one another's strengths, wisdom, zeal, insights, compassion, and love. No where is this demonstrated more clearly than within families: (Family members nurture, support, strengthen and go out of their way to help one another.) God in his infinite wisdom designed the church to be a family... (We come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to nurture, strengthen, help and console one another.)

    B.  Because we are family and we need one another, our text in Heb. 10:24-25, reminds us that we are not to forsake assembling together. When we miss meeting together as a family, we miss opportunities to help encourage, strengthen those who need us. (Show lack of consideration.) We also miss out on being encouraged by others. The family of God is a place of mutual love, concern, spiritual growth where we are encouraged to be our best. But it is difficult for people who are out of touch with one another to effectively encourage one another. I remember going to my grandparents home and the old "Pot belly" stove that kept the house warm. Big Daddy would stoke the fire and the embers would lie together nestled in the belly of the stove and keep one another warm. (It was an improvement over the old fireplaces /efficient and safe.) In a fire place, burning embers often pop out and scatter over the hearth and "embers separated cool more quickly." Becoming separated from the family of God is like a burning ember separated from the fire... soon our hearts and faith grow cold. Unfortunately, there are times of discouragement in the lives of all Christians... when our zeal and enthusiasm may grow cold through the week while we are separated from other Christians... but coming together in our assemblies helps warm, rekindle and reheat the embers (members) again.

     C. JUST BEING TOGETHER IS ONE THE MOST ENCOURAGING THINGS WE CAN DO FOR OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER.

II. SECOND, KIND WORDS AND CARING DEEDS ENCOURAGE:

     A. It requires no special gift to be kind to others, to be pleasant when we speak to one another and to share words of encouragement and lend a helping hand. (No special skills, only a caring heart.) The world is full of critics/ cynics/ pessimist/ and bitter people looking for something to complain about... How refreshing to be around someone who actually encourages us and lifts our spirits! Gen. 43:11, Jacob wisely told his sons to take a little honey with them as they entered Egypt to buy grain. Good advice: (We too should take a little honey to sweeten a bitter world.) As parents, we understand that our children need and deserve words that encourage them, and affirm that they are precious and valuable. Even God himself spoke from heaven and encouraged his son: Mt. 3:17 says, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased" (GOD WAS PROUD!) Every child (young/old) needs to hear such words. (How many fathers have told their sons/ daughters how well pleased they are with them?)

     B. What works at home will work at church and in the community also. A small gesture, note/ card/ visit when sick/ phone call/ welcome visit to a new comer in the community...may make a real difference. Those who are waiting to do some earth shaking deed before doing anything will likely never be much help to others. (But the simple, quiet, humble, behind the scenes, little deeds, words of kindness often have a powerful effect. (A little leaven/ a little honey/ a little kindness can make an impact.) The day will come into each of our lives when we will need others, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, someone on whom we can depend. Until that day comes, shouldn't we be the one offering the hand/ shoulder/ trustworthiness?

III. THIRD, ATTITUDES OF ACCEPTANCE AND APPRECIATION ENCOURAGES:

     A. Somehow we must separate a person's deeds from their worth. Parents seem to be able to do this with their children... Love hides a multitude of sins... when we are discussing our children.) Parents are far more forgiving and tolerant with own children because they love them.

      B. Illustration:: A child may break a dish and mother says: "Naughty girl, shame on you." But a moment later her daughter is tugging on Mom, looking up into her face... she wants to know: "Am I still loved? Mommy's girl?" (A wise parent will take her up in her arms and hug her.) But isn't this what the cross is all about? Our sins are grievous, shameful... we have done things we should not have. God is displeased by our sins but he still loves us. He made it possible for our sins to be washed away (forgiven) God's children/ family must imitate that kind of love and forgiveness and compassion in our relationships with one another. Just as God loves us, although we are not perfect... we should love others. We can hate the sin in the lives of others without hating the person or being hateful toward them.

     C.  Most of the time, it is not our brethren or families who let us down and fail to appreciate us, it is our own selves. (Some give up on themselves.) Some have made major mistakes in their lives. Their sins are grievous and their guilt so overbearing, that they simply give up on themselves. The guilt and godly sorrow that leads to repentance can also cause us to feel like a failure/ a disappointment... to God/ to those we love/ to ourselves. At such times we must try to look through the eyes of the one who hung on the cross, and see ourselves as he sees us... He doesn't look upon us as wretched sinners/ too miserable for mercy... hopelessly lost! (He sees all our potential... of what we can yet be, with his help and forgiveness.) At the foot of the cross there is hope for even the worst of us... because Jesus is able to separate our deeds from our worth as a person.

     D.  How fortunate we are... that God is willing to forgive our sins and cherish us as his children.
      Illustration:: A child running through the house accidentally bumped a table and broke a cherished family heirloom - a vase. She knew its value to her family and screamed in horror as it came crashing down. Her mother hearing her scream and the crash came running in and pulled her up out of the broken pieces of glass into her loving arms, showing relief that the child was not hurt. (That child looking back years later on this event once wrote, "I discovered that day, that I was the family treasure.") We all need to be loved, valued, appreciated... like that!
(And in God's family, all of us are family heirlooms.)

Conclusions:

     1. Encouragement comes in many different forms: May we always cherish the precious commodity of time spent together as we exhort one another... May we each be the kind of brother or sister in Christ who will see the best in one another and appreciate and value one another. And if there are times when we leave an assembly and do not feel that we were personally encouraged, may we look again at this text before us and see... it is our obligation to come and exhort/ to encourage others/ to provoke unto love and good works.... and then ask, "Did we?"

     2. Did we come with the desire to encourage someone else? Did we sing to encourage our neighbor? Did we remember others in our prayers? Did we take the time before and after service to visit and encourage others?

     3. Let us remember that our presence, our concern, and our words make all the difference to someone - and that someone may be ourselves.

INVITATION

 

 

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