Encouraging

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Philippians 2: 1-16


Introduction:  One of the most needed spiritual gifts in the church today is the gift of encouragement.

I understand that we are all called to encourage each other. 

      There is a verse that says to all of us:

      “let us consider how to spur one another on to love

       and good deeds. Let us encourage one another,

       and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

We all have to do that level of encouraging, but there is a

special ministry of encouraging that God has appointed. 

            There are some people who are gifted at enheartening

             those around them.  If you are here today and if you

             have that spiritual gift – we are particularly grateful.

 

Two vital things that go with the gift of encouragement: There is a

mindset that goes with the gift of encouragement

           And there is an Obedience that goes with

           the gift of Encouragement.

 

A. There is a mindset that goes with

                 the gift of encouragement

1. It is a mindset in which humility dwells and helps others

do that too. Maybe you’ve already noticed it: you don’t get

              much encouragement hanging around proud people.

                 Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

 

Christians with the gift of encouragement don’t waste a lot

of time thinking about what others are thinking about them.

4 not looking to your own interests

  but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

How do encouragers do that?

                           It is a mindset in which humility dwells

                           and helps others do that too.

So how is that best done?

                 They have discovered this little reality:  When you

                 are worried about how little others think  of you it

                 helps to realize how little others think about you.

 

Humility is a great asset in the life of a gifted encourager.

2. It’s a mindset in which unity is highly valued and helps

    others do that too. There is a standard towards which

    encouragers encourage us: the standard of Christlikeness. 

                         2 being like-minded, having the same love,

                            being one in spirit and of one mind.

                     3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

 

The one thing more than any other that Encouragers

     want for you is that you ALL conform to how Jesus lived. 

It’s a mindset in which unity is highly valued and helps

others do that too. The encourager doesn’t think it will be

boring if we all become more like Jesus. To that end…..

 

3. It’s a mindset that takes Jesus as supreme example

    and helps others do that too.  

5 In your relationships with one another,

  have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

 

What was that mindset:                   sacrificial love. 

         What was that mindset:          healing virtue. 

                  What was that mindset: Kingdom orientation.  

 

Encouragers want you to

have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Can you embrace this simple goal: To be like Jesus!

This hope possesses me,                In every thought and deed,

This is my aim, my creed;             To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me,

His Spirit helping me, Like him I'll be.

 

It’s a mindset that takes Jesus as supreme example and helps

others do that too.   What would happen if we reached that

                                simple goal? …. A Jesus mindset would

                                       happen in us. Encouragers seek that.

 

4. It’s a mindset empowered by Jesus

    and helps others receive that too.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united  

     with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common

         sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion.

 

United with Christ,

filled with his love,

         sharing in the Spirit,

                showing tenderness and compassion;

                       that is what encouragers want to see at church.

 

It’s a mindset empowered by Jesus

and helps others receive that too.

 

Are there one or two here today that just live for that to be a

reality? United with Christ, filled with his love, sharing in

             the Spirit, showing tenderness and compassion; 

                      yes? – and do you go around trying to

                          help others get to that?  Then the chances are

                          you have the spiritual gift of encouragement.

 

There is a mindset that goes with the gift of encouragement

                        and there is one more thing accompanying it:

 

B. There is an Obedience that

                   goes with the gift of Encouragement.

1. It’s an obedience that started with Salvation

    and helps others see that too.

 

Salvation isn’t a static state. Oooo pastor – I’m one of the

saved! My ticket is clipped. My place in heaven is

completely secure. Thank goodness I don’t have to do

anything in the “Salvation Department.” I am Eternally

Secure! … and I’d feel even more secure

                 if this next verse wasn’t in the bible: 

12 continue to work out your salvation

     with fear and trembling

“Oooo – I dislike that verse! 

    I’m sure that verse doesn’t say what it seems to say!”

    It’s like those 36 other verses that say the same thing.

 

Calm down – There are spiritually gifted people here to help

you - Encouragement is an obedience that started with

                                 Salvation and helps others see that too.

 

If you don’t need encouragement to continue to work out your

salvation let us know – we will send the encouragers to

those who do need it. Either way the matter of obedience

                                  will be in the picture….

 

2. It’s an obedience that submits to God’s will

    and helps others do that too.

                13 it is God who works in you to will and to act

                                      in order to fulfill his good purpose.

 

Ah – just in case you thought we thought that the previous

point meant that you have to work your way into heaven and

pay for your own salvation –

   along comes this brilliant verse: it is God who works in  

       you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

 

 

Encouragers know that if we will obey God He will give us

                                         all the grace we need to please him.

They want to animate an obedience in themselves that

submits to God’s will and helps others do that too.

 

Now you can obey without loving God – it’s called

Phariseeism – but you cannot love without obedience.

 

3. It’s an obedience that obeys gladly

   and helps others do that too.

 

Legalists – those whose religion is all laws and regulations, –         

                   Legalists want you to obey no matter

                   how much you suffer to do it. 

Legalism is often long-faced obedience.

                   We are NOT satisfied with that.

                   We want gifted Christians who can help us..

              14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 

 

Encouragers live that kind of obedience:

                            It’s an obedience that obeys gladly

                            and helps others do that too.

 

I want to have people in this church who

           stimulate us all to obey God without grumbling.

 

 

I want to have people in this church who

           embolden us all to obey God without arguing us into

           submitting to their picture of righteousness.

 

I want to have people in this church who have SUCH a joy

           in obeying God that it makes us jealous of them. 

 

Now just before you think it’s all joy and no Bible…..

 

4. It’s an obedience that holds to God’s word

    and helps others do that too.

 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

There’s no non-biblical Christianity.

 

In a world that says: “let Christian or even semi-Christian

                                   songs be the way you stay a Christian.” 

In a world that says: “follow every new preacher on TV and

                                   you will stay a Christian.”

In such a world we need the encouragers who say:

            It’s an obedience that holds to God’s word

            and helps others do that too.

 

Once you are light on soaking your soul in the Bible all the time –

there is no other mechanism,

                        no other tradition and

                        no other peer pressure

that will keep you growing in grace.

hold firmly to the word of life.

 

Conclusion The gift of encouragement is like

                     a hand reaching to pull others up

                     to the level they have reached in Christ.

 

The encouragers know what it is to have the Mind of Christ,

             because they got it through being obedient to Christ.

                            Who wants them to bug you to get that too? 

A church might want a few less prophets

                 but when it comes to servers and encouragers –

                                          can we ever have too many?

The spiritual gift of encouragement will never be satisfied

        to say “I’m OK and you’re OK too.”

 

This gift is all about us living closer to Jesus.