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Bible Church International

Leaving No Man Behind (part 1)

Leaving No Man Behind: (Part I)

 

 

THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT

 

Hebrews 3:13; 10: 24-25

 

Hebrews 3:13

 

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 10:24-25

 

24) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

 

25) 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.

 

 

            Since the Vietnam War, the United States military has taken on the doctrine of “Leave no man behind.” The concept was that should a soldier fall (die) in combat, his or her body would be recovered at all cost. Many times this doctrine also meant that if you were captured by the enemies, you would never be left behind.  There is no counting of how many lives have befitted from this doctrine that establishes the strong commitment of soldiers for each other.

 

            I believe that this level of commitment should also be visible among the soldiers of Jesus Christ. Time and again, we all need to be reminded that we are in a spiritual warfare. Satan and his angels are constantly on the attack. By all means, they want to destroy everyone who belongs to the family of God because we are the ones tasked to advance His kingdom.  

 

Now, as we stand against our spiritual enemies, we would need all the support we can get from one another. We don’t have to wait for our comrade to fall before we help; we need to be there to prevent the fall. Or if they have fallen, we can help restore them in order that they can get back into fighting.

 

Looking at our texts, we can see that one of the ways we can assist our fellow soldiers is by choosing to be an encourager. When the author of the book of Hebrews wrote these words, he was aware of the fact that many of the Hebrew Christians were so discourage because of their severe persecutions to the point that many of them were contemplating of abandoning their faith in Jesus Christ.  In this situation, the author recognizes that the church needed to develop the ministry of encouragement.

 

This morning, with our theme, Leaving No Man Behind, I want us to examine how we can effectively encourage one another. Although, we may not think of going back to our former religion, we can also be discouraged to the extent that we would abandon a productive life. Before this happens to anyone in our church family, let’s learn how we can encourage one another:

 

 

I           THE PICTURE OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

 

            What does it mean to be an encourager? Well, in our texts, the word for encourage was taken from the Greek word, Parakaleo, which literally pictures a person who made himself available to walk alongside with another in order to provide support and help. The same root word is used in John 15:26 to refer to the Holy Spirit as the Counselor.

 

John 15:26

 

26) "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.  

 

 

            Therefore, just like the Holy Spirit, an encourager is one who chooses to make himself or herself available to assist another believer to be built up in Christ.  

 

            Discouragement is common among Christians. Rick Warren in his book, Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions, had used one passage in Nehemiah to identify some reasons why Christians can be discouraged.

 

Nehemiah 4:10-12

 

10) Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."

 

11) Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."

 

12) Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."

 

 

            While Nehemiah led the nation of Israel in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem , some people became discourage because of the following reasons:

 

Ø      Fatigue - The strength of the laborers is giving out (v.10)

 

Ø      Frustration - there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. (10)

 

Ø      Fear - Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work." Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us. (vv.11-12)

 

 

Sometimes, we have the same issues in our lives, or we may have other issues affecting us. Discouragement can occur and reoccur to all of us. Even great men in the Bible have experienced it – Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Peter, etc. For this reason, we have to be prepared in becoming God’s instruments in bringing encouragements to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

 

                       

 

II         THE PRACTICE OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

 

As you carry out this responsibility of encouraging others, our texts provide three important instructions:

 

  

 

  1. It must be mutual: “one another”

     

The phrase one another in the New Testament highlights the unique relationship of the believers in body of Christ.  We all belong to one body functioning together for each other. We need to support one another:

 

Ephesians 4:16

 

16) From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

 

 

            Clearly, we need our brethren as much as they need us. There will be times when you’re the one giving encouragement, and days when you’re the one receiving. Always be faithful for the sake of Christ’s body.   

 

 

  1. It must be regular: “daily”

     

Hebrews 3:13 impresses a regular effort by using the word daily. Often, for people who have problems or discouraged, the weekly encouragements, which takes place in Sundays are not enough. Think of Israel in the wilderness, being the context of our text, they may have overcome the hardening of their hearts if they have encouraged each other daily. Unfortunately, their grumbling and complaining were far more regular than their encouragements to one another.   

 

 

  1. It must be personal: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing”

     

Our text warns the Christians who were neglecting meeting together. Why? Christians cannot be vibrant in isolation. We cannot neglect meeting together because by being present we are able to provide and receive encouragements. Again, Let’s be reminded, just like Eve, we are an easier prey for the devil when we are isolated.

 

People give many reasons for not attending church. For the first century Christians, severe persecutions were one of them. However, even that is not enough to forego church. The truth is: Our faithfulness in church attendance shows our commitment to Christ and His body.

 

           

 

III        THE PRODUCTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

 

            What can happen when we meet together regularly and encourage one another? There are two significant results:

 

 

  1. Preservation: ”so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness”

     

By encouragements, we can save someone from a lot of miseries and heartaches brought about by sin.  In Genesis 4:9, Cain was held accountable by God for his brother Abel when God asked, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain’s response was unacceptable, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In the same way, Christians are being tasked to be caretakers of one another. And we cannot turn our backs from this responsibility. God expects us to care for others in the same way we would care for ourselves.

 

 

  1. Provocation: consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. “

     

The word spur is translated provoke in King James Version. This word literally suggests to stir up to an excitement.  Obviously, because of all the persecutions, many of the early Christians have lost their excitement in their Christian service. Notice, both love and good deeds are key ingredients in Christian service. Love is the motivation, while good deeds are its expression. Without proper encouragements, Christians can be indifferent to the people God has placed around them. May BCI abound in encouragements so our people will abound in serving the Lord.

 

Someone once has said, “A church of encouragers is a church that’s alive.” I absolutely agree. Discouragement can steal our vitality.  We all should not allow the enemy to sow the spirit of discouragement in our lives, much more in the midst of our church. We need to be sensitive of our brothers and sisters in the Lord who may be hurting because of discouragements. Let’s make ourselves available to walk alongside with them. We need one another.      

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

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