Monday, November 20, 2017

Encouraging Each Other

“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin's deception” (Hebrews 3:13 HCSB).

Brethren, we would like to share a word of encouragement with you to revive your faith and confidence in the Lord (Romans 1:11). It is true, as Christians we are not always happy people, and oftentimes we are faced with conflicting feelings and emotions, which hinders our faith and walk with the Lord. Therefore, temperaments and negative attitudes form part of our daily experiences, and these emotions may lead us to shameful conduct if we follow its dictates. However, if we fully recognize and acknowledge these emotions as a hindrance to a sound relationship with others and God we would then have an opportunity to seek His help and overcome, so that we can genuinely express ourselves with the marks of a true Christian (Romans 12:9-12). Lt us not lose heart brethren our faithfulness and persistence will be duly rewarded.

This message is a reminder that we are living in a broken world where hardship, suffering, pain and oppression are a reality (John 16:33). Knowing that our journey through this life would not be easy, the Lord guaranteed us His peace to serve as our consolation (John 14:27). It is this peace from the Lord that should calm the storm of our ever rampant feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. This peace should also give us security (Psalm 112:7).

Our Confidence

In the book of Hebrews, Paul states, “So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 HCSB). This is a very serious virtue to have; we should never be without confidence in this race of faith in Christ. Some time ago, I issued a rebuke to someone who did not take it well but allowed the rebuke to weaken her faith. The Lord, in a strong message of encouragement to the person, said that she should not allow the rebuke to conquer her faith and confidence, but to emerge stronger with a humble attitude.

We have another sister whom the Lord had rebuked for being an unfaithful witness. She was discouraged for a while by this, and whenever she would be running errands she would be tempted not to witness, reasoning that she is unfaithful. However, she chose to start praying for the Lord to teach her, help her, and give her the boldness to share. As she continued pray and obey the Lord by witnessing (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 14:21), she grew in her confidence and the Lord later commended her for being a faithful witness.

Oftentimes people hide in their shame after committing mistakes, and the fear of facing themselves and the world leads them to go “underground”. After enduring a humbling rebuke from the Lord, a sister resorted to self-hatred (self-loathing), thinking that her mistake had usurped her salvation. However, in loving kindness the Lord restored her confidence by encouraging her to receive His forgiveness and forgive herself as well, and stop hating herself. This was a timely and life-changing encouragement which lifted her from self-rejection, because she’d thought that that the Lord had rejected her. I personally also received some strong rebukes from the Lord which could have left me paralysed with resentment for the Lord, but instead He taught me to be humble and have a heart full of appreciation for His loving guidance. Brethren, from my experience, I have found that people often try avoiding those who have rebuked them, and this has led many Christians into the sin of harbouring hateful feelings towards their brothers.

Admittedly, in this ministry we have made some mistakes and some brethren that we work with made mistakes too. However, the spirit of humility and showing of our love and submission to Christ has resulted in a strong bond of true Christian love and respect for one another. When we serve to please the Lord, we must never be ashamed when we earn rebukes from our brothers or sisters in Christ (Ephesians 5:10).

Lifting Up Your Broken Brother

As Christians, we are encouraged to faithfully serve God and our fellow brethren, to “… be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25 HCSB). As we mentioned in Be Passionate for Christ article, not showing up to fellowship meetings or leaving hinders others' passion and may cause love to grow cold which makes room for the sin holding grudges and hateful feelings. In messages to us, the Lord recognised the presence of some weak brethren amongst us, and He often reminded us not to look down on them but to encourage them in patience as they grow in their faith and understanding in the Lord. It is true that our good confidence in the Lord can sometimes blind us, and in our display of superior faith, we expect some weak brethren in our midst to be like us. This shows our intolerance towards our fellow man; we are expected to act maturely by patiently guiding the misguided and weak brothers and sisters (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

As we shared in our recent article on the Joy of Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, when a Christian starts losing their first love, their joy fades and the excitement which gripped them at the beginning of their conversion turns into a faithless motion, where he or she pretends that all is well, masking the reality that they have become a sinking ship. This kind of attitude renders one a spent force, defeated, and with depleted energy marking the end of their confidence in Christ.

The Courage of the Oppressed

Great men of God have often found courage in the Lord, and their faith and confidence gave hope to those around them (1 Samuel 30:6). We may recall that the life of the young boy, Joseph, who was alone in a foreign country, separated from the support of his family. However, he found courage and a trusted friend in the God of his fathers, and his faith led to the preservation of nations (Genesis 50:20). Likewise, when Daniel was being persecuted and oppressed by the jealousies of his colleagues, he found no one to comfort him, so he turned to God. Daniel did not lose his confidence and trust in God, but his steadfast demeanour inspired not only the kings he served under, but future generations as well (Daniel 6:10-27). What these men of God had in common is that they had no one but God to trust. Will our generation stop complaining and having a “want more” attitude and serve the Lord in a humble and submissive attitude?

Brother and sisters, in this day and age where Christians are increasingly experiencing persecution for their beliefs in the Lord Jesus Christ and the unchanging truth of the Word of God, we should encourage one another to faithfully keep serving the Lord and endure to the very end till Christ returns to take us Home (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18; 5:11).

To begin a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, please start by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Grace,

Brother Glenn.