Encourage One Another

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:11, ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’

 

Observations: Paul is discussing the time of Jesus’ return, and instead of worrying about ‘times and dates, (v1)’ he is more concerned with how we live while we wait. We are to ‘be alert and self-controlled, (v6)’ and we are to put on ‘faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (v8)’ But Paul’s main point is that while we wait for Jesus to return we ought to ‘encourage one another and build each other up.’ The word encourage in the Greek is parakaleō, which basically means to ‘call beside.’ It refers to someone coming along side someone else in order to comfort them or encourage them. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Counsellor, or Comforter (Jn 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). The word ‘build up’ is usually used of building a house, which is a euphemism to edify or strengthen others. In the book of Acts we are told that the Church ‘was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. (Act 9:31)’ Just as the Spirit encourages and strengthens us, so we should encourage and strengthen one another. The wonderful thing about the church in Thessalonica is they are doing just that.

 

Application: The question we have to ask ourselves is: are we encouraging and strengthening one another? How do we do that? In the previous chapter Paul says, ‘encourage each other with these words. (4:18)’ One of the best ways to encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is to remind them of God’s word, and our salvation in Jesus Christ. Even in the face of the loss of loved ones Paul tells us not to ‘grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (4:13)’ Rather our hope is in Jesus Christ, that in him we have eternal life and death has been swallowed up in victory. No matter what we’re going through we can encourage and edify one another by pointing people to Jesus.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have encouraged and strengthened me through Your Holy Spirit who lives in me. You have given me hope and a purpose. Lord may I not keep these things for myself, but may I encourage and strengthen others with the comfort and the strength that I have received from You. Help me to remind others of everything that You have done for them in Christ. May my life be an encourage to Your people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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