Encourage One Another

Meaningful relationships don’t just happen. They take time and effort. The “One Another” series is about developing close relationships and building community with one another. Hebrews 10 tells us to encourage one another. Everyone needs encouragement. When you encourage, you put courage in someone. When you discourage, you take courage out. Here are four ways we can give encouragement:

Consideration
Hebrews 10:24 begins by saying, “And let us consider how to stir one another up….” The word consider is used one other time in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus….” Consider means to observe, to fix your eyes attentively. When we consider Jesus, we look, think, focus, and fix our eyes on Him. The writer of Hebrews is writing to Jewish believers who were wavering over leaving Jesus and going back to Judaism. They were being persecuted, were losing friends and property, and were teetering on the edge of going back to their old life. Meeting together marked them as believers, but meeting together was worth it!

Some of you today are tempted to go back. The message here is don’t give up! Don’t go back! Keep meeting with other believers and encouraging them. Keep your eyes on Jesus! Consider Him. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).

Stimulation
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…” (Heb. 10:24). Be a hope-filled person, loving others and stirring others to love and good deeds. Do you ever question, “What is the point?” “Why get out of bed?” Consider Jesus and other people. God put us on this earth and saved us for love and good deeds. Why come to church? We don’t come just for the singing or preaching, but for the stirring, stimulating, and motivating of one another to keep going. Encouragement is not just from the preacher to the member, but the member to the member. We are all encouragers. More than just your presence, God calls for your participation! God calls us to show up to church and to stir up one another. Ask God to help you encourage someone today.

Exhortation
Hebrews 10:25 continues, “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another….” Neglect means to forsake. Americans for the most part forsake church not because of suffering, but for selfishness. It is not for persecution, but pleasure. Not the threat of poverty, but prosperity. When they do come it’s with an inward focused, consumer Christianity. “What is in it for me?” We are to assemble with an upward focus! Consider Him and stir up one another to love and good works. Are you connected or disconnected from one another? It is possible to be faithful to the church and not faithful to Jesus, but you can’t be faithful to Jesus without being faithful to His church! Everyone battles discouragement. Live on purpose, praying, “Lord, show me who I can encourage today.”

Motivation
The end of Hebrews 10 says that the Christians endured a great struggle (v. 32), knowing there was “a better and an enduring” reward in Heaven (v. 34). Where did they get that kind of courage? By meeting together, they encouraged one another. They put courage in each other.

Why do we do what we do? Why do we love one another? Why do we consider one another, stir up one another, encourage one another? It is a matter of doing the will of God. We have a great reward! There is no joy like knowing you are in the will of God and knowing you have done the will of God. Verse 36 says after we have done the will of God, we will receive the promise. He is faithful!

Love One Another


This Sunday we started a new series on the “one another” sayings of Jesus. Meaningful relationships don’t just happen, they take time and effort. I hope you’ll go on the journey with us this summer and learn how to develop close relationships and build community with one another. We are going to start with the most repeated “one another” phrase in the Bible, “Love one another.” You read it in John, Romans, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, 1 John, and 2 John. More than the words of Peter, Paul, and John, these are the words of Jesus. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “’And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:30-31).

The Expectation of Love is Clear
John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another….” The word love in our world has become a “catch all” word. People say, “I love chocolate” or “I love water sports.” God’s love, however, is a commandment. It is more than a feeling or a love song. Love is a decision, a choice, and an act of the will. It means we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We treat people the way the Lord treats us, regardless of reciprocity or how they respond.

God commands us to love one another then gives us the ability to love one another. He makes the impossible possible! Ask the Holy Spirit to make this new and fresh to you today. We live in a world filled with hate, strife, conflict, bickering, war, and division. There are people all around us, that need to see the love of God! God is love and He expects His children to love one another.

The Extent of Love is Costly
The second half of John 13:34 says, “…as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” God’s love is unconditional. His love is sacrificial. He gave His only Son for our sins! It always costs something to seek someone else’s good. Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied Jesus, yet Jesus washed their feet. The dirty feet of a dozen grown men was the illustration of how to love one another. It was the task of a slave, the lowest menial job. Jesus washed the feet of the man who betrayed him and the man who denied him. What Jesus did was shocking! Love is costly. As believers, we are to love those who hate us and hurt us. Unbelievers can love those who love them, but God will enable you to love people you don’t even like.

The Expression of Love is Convincing
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). “Love one another” is an impossible command that gives evidence of an invisible God. The church is designed to be a community of impossible love that shows the world God is real. The only Bible, the only Jesus, some people are going to see, is us. Our love for one another is our witness and it identifies us before a watching world. Most of us think that the evidence of salvation is love for God. That is not what Jesus said. Jesus said, the evidence of whether or not you are His disciple is love for one another. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-2).

When unbelievers see true love and compassion among Christians, it gets their attention. In this world of hate, love is attractive. It is the greatest testimony and indication that God has changed your life.
This week after Father’s Day, remember it is all about the Father’s love. We love because He first loved us!

Shield of Faith

Good morning Liberty! Since I didn’t get to say that yesterday, I wanted to get it out there today! I missed being with you, but am so grateful for Chip, Dalton, and Zac preaching for me while I am away. I have heard great reports of how the Lord used each of them.

The SBC Pastors’ Conference and Annual Meeting started last night. This year I am serving on the Committee on Order of Business so I had to be in Phoenix early for several meetings. I love attending these meetings, but am looking forward to being back with the Liberty family on Sunday!

We will start a new series on Sunday on the One Another passages in the Bible. It’s also Father’s Day! If you haven’t already, invite your dad to come with you and make plans to be at church. It’s going to be a great day. If you are not in the local area, make plans to attend Libertylive.Online on Sunday at 1:00, 2:15, or 6:00 p.m., Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., or Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

Many of you asked for the passages of Scripture that I gave recently for winning over the enemy. When Satan hurls darts at you like, “You’re a loser…”, “You will never amount to anything…”, “After what you did, do you think you are saved and going to heaven?”, “God can never use you…”, “Your situation is never going to get better…”, “Your circumstances are never going to change…”, “You will never have a good marriage…”, “You will never be a good parent…”, “You will never have a happy home…”, “You’ll never get well…”, “You will never get out of debt…”, etc. ,You take the shield of faith saying:

– I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).
– I am trusting the Lord with all my heart, leaning not to my own understanding, and in all my ways I’m acknowledging Him… (Prov. 3:5-6).
– And I know all things are working together for good because I love God and am called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
– Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Ps. 23:6).
– God said I am blessed when I come in and blessed when I go out (Deu. 28:6).
– No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Is. 54:17).
– Greater is he that is within me, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
– I will fear not for they that be with us are more than they that be with them (2 Kings 6:16).
– I will fear not for my God is with me. He will uphold and strengthen me with His right hand (Is. 41:10).
– God’s plans for me are good and not of evil… (Jer. 29:11).
– I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
– My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).
– He will never leave me or forsake me (Deu. 31:6).
– I am drawing nigh unto God He is drawing nigh unto me (Ja. 4:8).
– I am resisting the devil, knowing He must flee from me (Ja. 4:7).

Stand firm! Spend time in God’s word and use it daily to set your mind on the Truth. God wants you to win!

Tammy and I love you and we are praying for you! See you Sunday!

Win

Paul has taught us about prayer, relationships, the church, etc., but he concludes his letter by telling us how to win over the enemy. This is so important! Many Christians have no idea we are in a spiritual war. They live as if life is a playground, not a battleground. We have to be prepared, and learn how to win!

Win Over His Adversary
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We are fighting a plurality of evil, not the devil singular. You are no match for the devil and his demons. Only by being strong in the Lord (v. 10) can we win. We have the victory as believers.

Verse 11 tells us to stand against the wiles of the devil. He is a master counterfeiter who works to trick and deceive. He wants to destroy God’s people and defame God’s glory. The good news is that Satan is not omnipresent. Satan and the demons are limited by God’s control and power (remember the story of Job). God is sovereign and Satan is subordinate. The devil did everything he could to keep Jesus from dying on the cross and shedding His blood. Why? We are overcomers through the blood of the lamb!

Win With His Armor
Verses 13-17 tell us to put on the armor of God. Taking up the armor is how you become “strong in the Lord.” Paul tells us “to stand.” You can’t escape this fight and you must do your part. You can’t run and hide. There are only two places in the Bible that say a believer can flee: sexual immorality and the love of money. Everywhere else, you must stand.

We are to stand with the belt of truth around us. A belt is for looks today, but to a soldier in that day, it was a tool belt to hold their sword. We have the truth of God’s word and we need it because the devil is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44). We are also to put on the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate covers your vital organs. Guard your heart. Do right. Any area of your life that you can’t control or won’t control is open to the influence of the enemy. Paul says to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. Shoes help us hold our ground. Cleats for football, tennis shoes for basketball, etc. We stand firm on the gospel. The shield of faith is how we “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (v. 16). A shield protects a soldier from arrows. The enemy shoots fiery darts of deception, discouragement, lies, and temptations, but we respond with faith in God’s word, and in His promises. We are also to put on the helmet of salvation. A helmet protects your head. If you are not sure about your salvation you are going to be tossed to and fro. Satan attacks the mind. Finally, we are to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. God’s word helps kill sin. It heals, giving life. Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil with… “it is written.” Get up early and get in the word! Memorize it and pray it.

Put on Jesus every day and do battle.

The armor is a picture of Jesus. Jesus is the truth, our righteousness and peace, the one in whom we have put our faith, our salvation, and He’s the Word that became flesh! Put on Jesus every day and do battle. King David fell into sin when he was not engaged in the battle. Idle time is the devil’s workshop.

Win Through His Ability
Verse 18 begins with, “praying always….” When you pray you get what God can do! The fervent prayers of righteous people availeth much (James 5:16). Jesus told us to watch and pray lest we fall into temptation. When it is hardest to pray, pray hardest!

Jesus gives us the victory over His adversary, with His armor, through His ability. The best way to get the devil out is to get Jesus in your life!