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Lift - How to Become an Awesome Encourager, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2023 6:00 am

Lift - How to Become an Awesome Encourager, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 4, 2023 6:00 am

Want to be more fulfilled? Experience more joy? Live with less guilt and more freedom? Chip shares how you can become the person you’ve always longed to become by following a few life changing steps.

Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
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John MacArthur
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Greg Laurie
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Dr. Michael Brown

The number one need of everyone you will meet today is encouragement. Unbeknownst to you, many are ready to give up, to break down, or to act out if someone doesn't share a dose of encouragement with them. Today I'm going to share four ways where you can become an awesome encourager. Stay with me.

Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We are a discipleship-driven ministry on a mission to encourage Christians everywhere to live like Christians. You know, no matter your personality, we all have the ability and opportunity to encourage someone close to us.

Maybe it's a coworker, a friend, a child, or a spouse. Whoever it is, as Chip said, they need a dose of encouragement. Today we're continuing our series, Lift the Awesome Power of Encouragement, as Chip breaks down the keys to becoming an awesome encourager. And after this teaching, he'll be back with us to talk more about how it really works.

So stick around for that. Well, here now is Chip for his talk from 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5. How would you like to be an awesome encourager? I mean, how would you like it that, you know, five years from now, ten years from now, maybe some tiny kids in third grade, fifteen years from now, you know, getting married and having kids and all that stuff, what, how would you like it if when their fondest memories of what it meant to be a Christian came to their mind, your name and your face popped to their mind and they said, yeah, there was a lot of people. There's a lot of people that did a lot of good things.

And I'm sure thankful, but the people or the person that I remember most. Or how'd you like to be a young couple going through all the struggles young couples go through and turn the clock up ten years? And they say, you know, we learned how to have a marriage because of you.

Or how'd you like to be a single person in the day that we live? I mean, all the temptation and all the struggle and all. And how would you like to be the person who said, you know, my life was wavering, but because of you, because of that small group, I can't believe what God's done in my life. I don't know about you, I can't think of a greater reward. If we're going to be that kind of encouragement to other people, there's four things we need to remember.

Three are review and the last one we're going to talk about. If you want to be an awesome encourager, first you need to remember that people are hurting far more than you know and far more than they show. Second, we need to remember that you have far more to offer than you know and far more to offer than you show. So many times, you know, we think, oh, I would love to move out of my comfort zone and help that person, but what do I have to offer?

You know the answer? A lot. A lot. And it doesn't take much. What it takes mostly is availability, not ability.

Mostly it takes heart and love, not lots of skill and knowledge. Third reminder is encouragement is helping others take the next step they couldn't take on their own and allows them to become more like Christ. It's not just encouragement would be nice, it helps people take the next step they couldn't take on their own. I believe God allows it to work in such a way that we're a body. All those commandments about becoming like His Son, loving people, they're in the second person plural.

I don't think they can be done alone. We need one another. You get in a part, an aspect somewhere in your Christian life and you'll stay there until someone comes and gives you the nudge, the word of encouragement, the comfort, maybe a little fine tuning.

You can't get there without them. And it's not this feel good society where, oh good, I want to get encouraged so we all have these ooey, gooey, warm, fuzzy feelings. Encouragement is helping people become like Christ.

It's helping them be conformed to the image of the one who dwells within them. And sometimes that'll be a word of admonishment. Encouragement is you being what God wants you to be so others can be what He designed them to be. Fourth reminder is the key to encouragement is attitude.

There's certain attitudes you need to have to be an encourager. The Apostle Paul, remember, it's been 18 to 24 months. He planted the church. It's growing.

It's doing great. They're getting some opposition. They had a little doctrinal confusion so he explained that to them. But now in the very last chapter, chapter 5 verses 12 to 28, he is going to give us 17 to 20 brief commands, exhortations that all revolve around our attitude because what he knows is is that we can know a lot about different people but the attitude in the church and the attitude in individual Christians is the key to creating an environment that really is building and encouraging. And what we're going to find is that in verses 12 to 15, there are certain attitudes that build great churches and then in verses 16 through the rest of the chapter, there's certain attitudes that build great Christians.

And so let's begin. Let's read together and become great encouragers by learning some attitudes that God wants us to have. Now we ask you, brothers, the Apostle Paul writes, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you, literally preside over you or managers over you in the Lord, and who admonish you, means correct you. Hold them in highest regard and love because of their work and live in peace with each other. As you look at these couple verses, you notice that first there's a word to leaders. And before you click off and say, well, I'm not an elder, I'm not on staff, I want you to know if there's anybody at all who looks to you to be the influencer in their life, anybody at work, any kids at home, any friends, anyone in a small group, anyone in any kind of ministry that really looks to you, then you're a leader.

So this is for you. And the Bible says there's attitudes that leaders need to have. Did you see the key words here?

They're assumed here. But did you notice they work hard, they lead well and they admonish wisely. The word for work hard literally means to toil to the point of exhaustion. And I believe as leaders in God's church, we need to give it our best shot. I didn't grow up in a church that believed in the Bible, but you know, my first inclination about church in general was people give it their leftover stuff.

They give it their worn out clothes, their leftover time and any little extra money or energy they might happen to have. And you know, one thing I knew early on is one, I didn't want to be associated with that church for a lot of reasons because the people didn't live what they said. But beyond that, there was just a climate is like, this is good enough for God. Hey, leaders, I want you to know that God wants us to work hard.

And how do you do that? By leading well means to provide oversight to use in the New Testament, both for elders and formal positions and for informal positions. That means leaders are well prepared, well planned, prayed up, come on time and are ready to roll. It means that whatever sphere of influence in the body of Christ, you take it seriously. You say, Oh, God, this is a stewardship.

Someone is looking to find out what you are like through me. And it also means that you don't just do the task. You care for the people you see when you lead.

Well, not only does the task get done in a way that honors God, but the people doing the task are fed and encouraged. Third thing here is leaders are to admonish wisely. It means literally to, to reprove or to correct, to put in someone's mind. There's a military term that when you see all these guys, they're walking in rank and you know, one guy's kind of out of step.

It's that guy. It's saying, Hey, bud, get back in line. When another believer's attitudes or behavior is out of line with the will of God and you know it will hurt them or to hurt relationships or to hurt the cause of Christ. It says leaders admonish them, correct them. Now, overbearingly, no, lording it over them.

Never wisely, lovingly caring enough to confront. Those are the attitudes that make for great churches. When leaders work hard, lead well and admonish wisely.

But notice that's not all. There's a word about leaders. In fact, the real flow of this passage has to do with how us as a congregation responds to leaders, whether it's formal or informal. Let's read that passage again with new eyes. This time let's read it asking the question, how should we respond to leaders?

Verse 12. Now we ask you brothers, you might circle the word to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in highest regard. You might circle that in love because of their work and then live in peace with each other.

You might circle the word live in peace. See the problem then, remember the people who decided that the Lord was coming back like maybe that night and so they quit their day job and said the church is such a loving group of people that they became moochers and loafers. Well the leaders had to correct that and they did the wise thing. They said, hey, get a job.

Jesus is coming back, but the way to prepare for that is you have a good testimony and you work better than anybody else at your job so you have something to share with all the rest of people rather than mooching off everyone else. Well when the leaders had to do that, probably part of that didn't go over real well. And so notice the first thing is we're to respect them. Literally the word isn't respect, it's you're to know them or acknowledge them. It can mean respect or appreciation, but in this context it probably has the idea, hey, you need to acknowledge that they're the leaders, God appointed them. Second, we're to esteem them, only used here in the New Testament. It means to highly, highly esteem. It's a triple compound type verb that has the idea of saying you need to recognize the people that God has put in charge of his church as the right people at the right time at the right place for his glory and you need to esteem them as such.

We need to highly esteem that person that gives you your child when you go pick him up. That person who set up three or four hours earlier, the musicians, the, why? So we can worship so that you like I could shut my eyes when we sang that last song and I thought, God, when I think of the weekend that I've had, you're great.

But I could never express that the way they expressed it for me and just to get to sing along with them. See, I think we need to esteem those, encourage those people that lead us. And then finally it's to be at peace with them. Literally the phrase means no schisms, no divisions.

This one's a two way street. The congregation is submit to God's leadership and obey God's word and the leaders notice are to lead sensitively. Leaders never to run roughshod over people, telling people you ought to do this and you ought to do this and this is the deal. Live in peace.

The idea is there's unity. And my observation about both scripture and churches where there's a sense of God's presence and power, there's a unity and it's something worth guarding. Can you imagine what happens in the life of a church when leaders say, I'm not given what's left over to God. I'm given my best to God. I'm going to come prayed up. I'm going to come working hard. I'm going to plan ahead. I'm going to lead well, and I'm going to admonish and care enough to confront people when need be. And when a church says, I'm going to respect that kind of leadership at every level and I'm going to esteem that kind of leadership and I'm going to do whatever it takes on my part to live at peace and the leadership at every level says, I'm going to do on my part to be at peace. You know what happens? You got power rolling around.

You got the presence of God. It's this unity that so kills the work of God in so many places. Well, he doesn't end there. He's given a word to us, two leaders and a word to leaders about us. Now notice he shifts in verses 14 and 15 and this is a word for everybody.

This is for you and me. And notice the phrase and we urge you brothers. Now notice he's going to give us four quick verbs to address to how to encourage four different groups of people says, and we urge your brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak and be patient with everyone. And then he's going to give us a way to be patient with everyone.

Verse 15, make sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong or evil for evil, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. You might circle the little word try because in our translation it comes out kind of milquetoast, you know, try, you know, people say, I'll try to be there. That means they're either going to be late or they're not coming, right? Well, I'll try to make it, you know, I always tell them, look, are you coming or not?

You know, if you can't, that's okay, but don't try to come because if you try to come, you'll come like I try to come. That means I want you to know I'd sort of like to be there, but I probably won't. This word is translated elsewhere in the New Testament to persecute. It means to vigorously pursue.

He's saying, you know, there's four things to do. You need to warn a certain group. You encourage a certain group.

You support a different group. You be patient with everyone. And then he says in this key area of it's hard to be patient when people do you wrong, don't do wrong back. But instead, literally it's follow the good. It's vigorously pursue. You try as in go after being friendly and kind and loving in a way that just makes people scratch their head.

You mean after the way we treated you negatively like that, you're being kind and friendly and you're pursuing us? And you know what they do? Pretty soon they start thinking, now that's weird. And then they say, is there anyone in history that's ever been like this? Let me think. Jesus, that's the one.

Yeah. When people did him wrong, he loved them. See we're almost never more like Christ than when we give good in return for evil. If you wanted to summarize this, let's look at the key phrases, warn the idol. That's our same word for admonish. And the idol here means unruly, disorderly, unbecoming behavior. See, it's not the leader's job.

It's not the leader's job to make sure people stay in line. It's the church's job to see that the body, one for another, it's caring enough to confront. It's not getting in the car with a close friend or with a mate after you've had an experience with another couple at their home or out somewhere or with a fellow single person and shaking your head to your friend and saying, boy, man, are they really on the wrong path? They keep spending money like that. They're going to be in a ditch, but they keep treating their kids like that.

Boy, you know, Bobby, you know, we've seen that happen before. Yeah, that's right. Those kids are going to turn out like jerks.

In fact, they got a good start on it right now. You know, if that guy keeps treating his wife with that kind of insensitivity, they're going to have problems. And you know what? Do you realize how many of those conversations happen in cars and in restaurants about the person that's not there?

You know what the Bible says? Warn them. Warn them.

You warn them. I'll never forget the first time we went over to dinner years and years ago in Texas. And this guy was, he had one of those jobs that you should be perfectionistic. I mean, your life is in his hands. But he carried that over into every area. And we ate dinner and it was the most rigid, legalistic atmosphere.

And I remember turning to my wife and said, wow, man, those kids are in trouble. I mean, I couldn't stand to be around that guy, you know, like for four hours, let alone 24 hours a day. And he had a good heart. He really loved God. He really thought he was doing well. But I mean, it was just unbearable. Well, when his daughter ran away from home and when his son got involved in some things. You know what, though? I never went to him face to face. I had one of those conversations in the car with my wife saying, boy, man, I'll tell you what, they keep that up.

They're in trouble. And I decided after that, I don't keep it to myself anymore. You may not like me, but if I see something in your life, I'm going to tell you. I'm going to tell you, Lord willing, in the right attitude, in the right way, at the right time, because I love you.

But, you know, and by the way, you see something in mind, don't do me any favors and tell your friend. When my car hits the spiritual wall and there's fallout and pain and damage. I mean, I would have liked someone to say, Hey, by the way, curve up ahead. You know, second were to encourage the timid.

And this has the idea of comfort. The word timid means literally to the faint hearted or a person with a small soul. They're the people that just don't have the courage to make the next step. You know, they'd like to get in the Bible study, but if someone doesn't call them and ask them to come, they won't go. They'd like to get involved in, in ministry. And they really have a lot, but if someone doesn't give them the little nudge, they won't go.

They're the person that is just ready to become a Christian, but they just need a little nudge. You know who that person is to give them the nudge? It's you.

It's you. We're to warn the idol or the disorderly, but we need to, we need to comfort. We need to spur on. We need to encourage the timid. And some people, some of the timid people that I never dreamed, they have all this gifts stored up, but it takes someone like you to nudge them. Who comes to your mind? Who in your family, who in your ministry, who at your work, who do you know that you realize has great potential, but they need a nudge.

How could you do it? Third is we need to help the weak. The word for help is a very interesting new Testament word. It means to hold onto someone or to cleave to a person so that they don't fall down. Basically the weak are people that are, that are unstable. Have you ever seen someone that has twisted their ankle or the terrain is unlevel and they just, they need help to get from the curb to the car or they need help to get from the bottom of the stairs to the top of the stairs.

Ever seen them? And what do you have to do? It's real simple, isn't it? You walk up and you either put your arm out or if you'll put your arm right underneath theirs, all they need is just a little stability, but you have to touch them, don't you? And you just hold onto their arm and with you, they make it from the curb to the car. Without you, they fall flat on their face.

There are people in this room today spiritually that all they need is someone to look them in the eye when you walk out that door, someone in the next Bible study, someone at the class that you go to, someone that God is bringing to your mind while I'm speaking. And you know what they need? They need you to hold them, to just give them a little support. They're unstable.

They've got a good heart. They're trying, but they've tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed. Guess what they're doing now? They're not trying anymore. They need you.

They need me to support them. Final thing is we're to be patient with all men. Everybody. You ever heard the phrase, that guy's really short-tempered? This word is the opposite of that. You'd say, if you knew this word, you'd say, man, that guy is really long-tempered.

I've not said that about many people. You'd say, that guy really blows the stack fast. We'd say, this guy's got a long fuse. This word means we're patient.

We make allowances for others. This word means you don't give up on people quickly. It means that after you tell them once, you tell them again. After they blow it for the second time, you tell them a third. After they blow it a third, you say, what is it about this you're not getting and how can I help you be successful?

Not get with the program or you're out, bud. It's patient with all men. And when is it the most difficult to be patient?

It's when people do you in, isn't it? Well, how does he say? Make sure that no one, make sure you, not the leadership, you, me, church of God, make sure no one pays back evil for evil. You want to jot down Romans chapter 12 verse 17 and following.

It'll develop that very clearly exactly what to do. It says, never take your own revenge, beloved. Leave room for the wrath of God.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. If your enemy's hungry, what should you do? Feed him.

If he's thirsty, give him a drink. In so doing, you will keep burning coals upon his head, near ancient Eastern picture of what happens when a person has a change of heart or mind. Never be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Good is powerful. Good is powerful in relationships. And when you give good, when people have given you evil, you can only do it by grace, but it has a indelible impact on the lives of others. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, how to become an awesome encourager, which is from our series, Lift the Awesome Power of Encouragement. Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Do you know someone who needs a spiritual shot in the arm?

Their circumstances have him feeling down and out, and you just want to come alongside and help? As Chip teaches from 1 Thessalonians, we'll learn how to do that through the influence of encouragement. Discover the practical ways to inspire and support others in their time of need, and how those selfless acts can strengthen your walk with God too.

Learn more about this series or our resources through or the Chip Ingram app. Well, Chip's joined me in studio now, and Chip, believers today are inundated by negativity and evil on all sides. In fact, in the passage you just got done teaching, Paul warned the readers of his letter to avoid vengeance, anger, and impatience. And I think the issues we still struggle with today are rooted in what we fill our minds with. What does the Bible say about protecting our thoughts, and what are we doing to help our listeners?

Great question, Dave. The Bible's really clear that we're the product of our thought life. The wisest man in all the world said, as a man or woman thinks, so we become. And so that means that there's a lot of lies that need to be stopped, and they need to be replaced with the truth.

In Romans 12, he says, stop allowing the world system, literally, to squeeze you into its mold, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Two things come to my mind that we've seen God use in a significant way. One is affirmation cards. They grew out of a journey that my wife and I were in early in our marriage and counseling, where we went through the process of identifying multiple lies that we believed about our identity, about our future, about fears, about all the kind of things that people have, and then putting a stop sign at the bottom of these affirmation cards, flipping it over, writing the truth, and then putting a short passage. We sat together on our couch for two years early on reviewing those every day. It transformed our lives.

And then the Living on the Edge team made them very beautiful and a lot nicer, and they've been used by thousands and thousands of people. The other is a small book that Teresa wrote called Precious in His Sight. It is a word from a woman about the pain that lies have in your mind, your heart, and your relationships, and the power of God's truth over time to help you begin to actually believe and experience that you're precious in God's sight. Dave, maybe you could tell people how they could get ahold of these resources. Be glad to, Chip. To get either Teresa's book, Precious in His Sight, or a set of our affirmation cards, go to or call 888-333-6003. Both of these helpful tools are sure to encourage you in your walk with Jesus. And if you haven't thought of it already, this book or these cards would make great Mother's Day gifts. So place your order today. Express Shipping is available to get these resources in time. For more details, call 888-333-6003 or visit

App listeners, tap special offers. Chip, let's get to that application we promised. Thanks Dave. As we think about encouragement, about really being patient, about being there for people, two groups come to mind that I think we really need to think about.

I mean today. The first is, I'll just call it the least of these, and certainly the homeless person, but I think that becomes a cliché. I'd like you to really think about some people that don't get any attention.

You know, the person who makes your coffee, the person that's cleaning up outside, the person that is a low-wage earner who might be at a McDonald's or a fast food or the people that are cleaning the bathroom. I just find those people need to know that God cares about them and whether it's tapping them on the shoulder and thanking them for what they've done and making eye contact. Jesus at a cup of cold water really does matter to a thirsty person when done in His name. I often try and do this and just with the comment, I just want you to know Jesus is thinking of you today and He asked me to pass this on. It might be a word, it might be a little money, it might be a meal, just to say to people that can be invisible, that they matter.

And then the second is leaders. Not every leader, I'm sure, but at least the pastors that I know. It's been the most lonely, difficult time. Would you write your pastor a note? Would you text him a word of encouragement?

Would you invite him out to dinner? I want you to know they are dying on the vine and a word of life from you can make all the difference. Would you do that today?

Not tomorrow, not next week. Would you decide who you're going to encourage and then do it today? Thanks, Chip. As we wrap up, I want to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime, and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you've been blessed by the Ministry of Living on the Edge, would you consider sending a gift today? You can do that when you visit or the Chip Ingram app. And now you can text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support. We'll listen next time as Chip closes out our series, Lift the Awesome Power of Encouragement. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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