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Encourage and Build Up Others

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2022 1:16 pm

Encourage and Build Up Others

The Verdict / John Munro

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January 18, 2022 1:16 pm

Dr. John H. Munro January 16, 2022

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Well, I think you'll agree with me that COVID has resulted in exhaustion, frustration, loneliness, anger, strife, and even division in our country. We're disillusioned with politicians whose priority seems to be to stay in power rather than to give righteous leadership. We're saddened with educators who no longer believe in absolute truth.

We're confused by the CDC messaging. We are tired of media which so often caters to sensationalism rather than giving us the facts of the news. We're weary of compromise in so many pulpits in America. Yet, at this time of COVID, it is very, very important that we who are followers of Jesus Christ encourage and build up one another. And this brings us to our third theme for 2022, and it's a very important theme, and it is this, encourage and build up others. Encourage and build up others. The Church of Jesus Christ is to be a place of harmony, a place of peace, a place where we're spiritually recharged, a place of unity. And can I also say, the Church of Jesus Christ is to be a place of kindness, a place of encouragement, a place of hope. Psalm 133 says it is where brothers dwell together in unity that God commands the blessing. You and I want to be blessed. We want Calvary Church to be blessed by God.

And so how important it is that we keep this theme before us throughout 2022, encourage and build up others. Our Lord Jesus said that people will know that we are his followers by the love that we have for one another. God's purpose, when he in his grace saves us, when our sins are forgiven, when we place our trust in our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, God's purpose in saving us is not to leave us as isolated individuals, perpetrating our loneliness in a society where so many don't even know their neighbors, where many binge watch TV shows, where many check social media hundreds of times every day, hundreds of times every day and yet say they don't have time to worship God. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, I will build my church. And in the miracle of the gospel, our Lord Jesus builds a new community comprising people of all ages, from all educational backgrounds, in fact from all over the world. And this new community is called the church. I want to remind you that we should have a very, very high regard for the church. It is, after all, the only institution which our Lord Jesus Christ built. And I love the church. I love the church.

I don't mean the building, I mean the people. And if we keep with a high regard for the church, my dear brothers and sisters, we will keep this theme before us, which is a very practical theme, encourage one another, build up one another. I find it very interesting that the writers of the New Testament use different metaphors, different pictures, to help us to understand this important aspect of unity and community in the church of Jesus Christ. For example, the church is described as the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body and we are the members of the body.

What a privilege. Think of this. The church is the very body of Christ. Think of the intimacy, think of the unity that we have with our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the head and we are the members of the body. The church is also described as the flock of God.

I love this. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd of the flock and we are sheep of the same flock. He is the Chief Shepherd and we are the sheep. The church is also described in the New Testament as the building of God, as the temple of God. Our Lord Jesus is the chief cornerstone and we are stones being built into the same building.

You get that? We are the building of God, the temple of God. Our Lord Jesus is the chief cornerstone and we being built into the same building. The church is also described as the household of God. We could say as the family of God. God is our Father and we are His children, children of the same family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, in the family of God, this new community which is being built by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, all of these metaphors emphasize Christ's leadership and our interdependence and community. And if this church, Calvary Church, is to function as God desires it to function, all of us must be committed to and connected to the community, the church. We are not to function in isolation. Now I realize on a day like this, because of the weather, most of you have to stay home.

I understand that. I understand the restrictions of COVID because of illness and underlying conditions and so on, but we as the people of God are instructed to come together, yes, in person to encourage and build up others. If you're in isolation, you find it difficult to encourage and build up others. We need one another.

COVID is isolating, isn't it? That's why at Calvary during this time of COVID, we've tried to continue worshipping in person as well as live stream. We have had Zoom, we have phone calls, we have texts, we have social media to do all we can to continue this unity and community of the church. But nothing comes close, does it, to worshipping and serving in person.

We're realizing the very negative effect of children being shut in at home rather than being at school. As human beings, we need each other, and that is certainly true in the church. Now if you have your Bibles there, turn to 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 11. This is our key verse for this, our third theme, to encourage and build up others. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 11, a very short verse but very pointed, therefore encourage one another. He's talked about the spiritual fight earlier in the chapter. He's talked about the forces of darkness and told us, we are children of the day, therefore encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing.

An exhortation to continue. And then in 1 Peter, 1 Peter chapter 4 verse 10. Peter writes, as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Each Christ follower has received a spiritual gift. As we function in the church, as we encourage one another, as we build up one another, God in His grace has given each of us a spiritual gift. That's what Peter said here, 1 Peter 4 verse 10, as each has received a gift.

After the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, he ascended to his Father in heaven. And as part of the celebration of his ascension, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that the Lord Jesus Christ gives gifts to every single one of us. God gives you a gift.

God has given me a gift. And He gives us a gift to help one another, to encourage one another, to build up one another as we together, under the lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ, serve Christ and others. What is a spiritual gift? Well, a spiritual gift is a supernatural ability for Christian service. And is given, think of this, is given to each one of us, every Christ follower.

The ascended Christ in His grace and in His sovereign purposes has given each of his followers a gift. Now, when you receive a gift, you don't ignore the gift. You're not to bury your gift. You're not to put it on the shelf.

You're not to leave it, not to leave it, as it were, unwrapped. No, you are to use your gift. Again, 1 Peter 4 10, as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.

Think how important that is. I ask you, are you encouraging one another? Are you building up someone? You say, well, I'm not sure what my gift is. Well, I've got advice for you. If you don't know what your gift is, begin by serving the Lord where there's a need.

At the end of this message, I'm going to tell you of some of the needs that we have at Calvary for people to serve. The story is told of four people named everybody, somebody, anybody, and nobody. There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure that somebody would do it. Anyone could have done it, but nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was everybody's job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realised that everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done.

I hope you can follow that. It's often the case, isn't it? Something has to be done. We say, wouldn't it be wonderful if somebody did that? And we stand back and we wait for others to serve us rather than encouraging and building up others.

I'm saying to you very forcefully this morning, use your gift. Serve others. The church of Jesus Christ is very diverse and as we use our gift, there's not a loss of our individual identity, no, but rather we complement one another. We have different gifts, we have different personalities, different talents, different backgrounds, different perspectives.

And in the wonderful unity of the body of Christ, this very diverse group of people, they come together united to Christ and doing all to the glory of God. I find it interesting that Peter describes here this gift, 1 Peter 4.10, as each has received a gift. The Greek word for that is charisma.

You've heard of charismatic. The Greek word for gift is charis. Peter uses a version of that and say each one has received a charisma. That is, they are grace gifts as well as spiritual gifts. And grace should always accompany the exercise of these gifts. These gifts are an evidence of the love that the ascended Christ has for the church.

The head, our Lord Jesus Christ, loves the church and He, as an evidence of His love, as an evidence of His grace, gives us a gift. I remember on the days coming up to my wedding, being married in Scandinavia in a different culture, it was told to me that was very customary and in a sense expected that the bridegroom would present to his bride on her wedding day a piece of jewelry. As a young man, I wasn't very good at buying jewelry. But on the wedding day, I presented to Gudney a gold necklace. Did I give that to my wife because she wasn't beautiful? No, she was beautiful. But it was an evidence of my love for my bride.

I wanted her to look good. And just think of this, we are the bride of Christ and the Lord Jesus Christ not only saves us, but He manifests His grace in so many ways. And one of the ways is by giving us a spiritual gift. And it is for the adornment of the body to make the body of Christ beautiful. So that as we look at the body of Christ and we see this brother and this sister using their gifts in beautiful harmony, we say, how beautiful is the body of Christ. And we express our love for one another by humbly using our gifts to encourage one another and to build up one another.

It's a sad thing, isn't it? When someone uses their gift without grace. We all know people who are very talented, who are very capable, who are very gifted. Ah, but the exercise of that gift without grace divides rather than unifies.

It destroys rather than it builds. It puts the spotlight on the person rather than on Christ. This is why the New Testament is full of one another. We are to love one another. We are to accept one another. We are to submit to one another. We are to pray for one another. We are to be devoted to one another. Yes, and we are to encourage one another. Now that means we must know one another.

Are you just wrapped up in your own little family, your own little group, your own little clique of people? No, reach out to others. A demonstration of the love of God. Use your gift to encourage and build up others. Your gift is not to be used for your own ego. Look how gifted I am. Your gift is not to be used to entertain others.

Look at what I can do. Paul writes, 1 Corinthians 12, 7, to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 14 verse 26, let all things be done for edification. That's the goal.

The goal is to build up the body. The goal is for the common good. The goal is for the unity and the community of the church of Jesus Christ. Your gift and mine are to be used to serve Christ and others. Again, I ask you, when did you last encourage someone? When did you last serve someone?

We all love being served, but when at Calvary did you last serve someone? Our gifts are to be used then as an evidence of the grace of God to preserve the unity of the Spirit, to help one another grow in the Lord, to equip one another, to encourage one another, to build up each other in their most holy faith. I'm very, very thankful for men and women over the years who encouraged me, who built up me, who wanted me to be strong in the Lord. And you're thankful, aren't you?

For those who've encouraged you, who've served you, who've come along by your side, who've ministered to you, building each other up in our most holy faith. Are you doing that? You know, in our fallen nature, we can become critics. We can become complainers.

Would you like that? There are people who never encourage. There's people who there's people who never say anything positive, but they're quick to complain.

They're quick to find fault. Something isn't quite right in the church, and that's what they focus on, and it can be very destructive, can't it? Paul writes, do all things without grumbling or disputing. You see, in the body of Christ, our goal is to glorify God. Our goal is to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our goal is to be led by the Holy Spirit, and when the critic is there, the critic, rather than unifying, divides. Don't be like that, brother. Don't be like that, sister. Don't have that critical attitude.

Don't have that little circle of gossips around you where you hear all the negatives. Stories told of George Whitefield and John Wesley, two great preachers, but they disagreed on some theological matters. Whitefield was more of the Calvinist, John Wesley the Arminian, but they were very careful not to create problems in public and to do anything which would hinder the preaching of the gospel. So one day, no doubt, a critic asked Whitefield if he would see Wesley in heaven. In other words, here is an individual questioning the very salvation of John Wesley and saying to Whitefield, when we get to heaven, will we see John Wesley? And here is Whitefield's reply. He said, I fear not, for he, that John Wesley, will be so near the eternal throne, and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.

Well said, George Whitefield. Instead of criticizing, he humbly responds, no, here is a man, John Wesley, who loved his Lord. Use your gift to encourage and build up others. And when we encourage and build up others, we are fulfilling the law of Christ. Turn with me to Galatians, Galatians chapter 6. Here is one of the one anothers, Galatians 6 verse 2, to bear one another's burdens.

There is another of the one anothers. Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Mutual burden bearing is a command. See, living isolated lives is contrary to the Word of God. You can't bear someone's burdens if you are isolated.

No, we demonstrate the love of Christ. We evidence the grace of God when we bear one another's burdens. Be aware of what is going on in other people's lives. You say, well, I have a burden. Listen, we all have burdens. You can't opt out of bearing someone else's burdens because you have your own burden.

No, here is a command. Bear one another's burdens. This is the way we encourage. This is the way we build up each other. Here is a brother who is fragile. What do we do? Criticise, knock him down, gossip about him?

No, we build him up. Here is someone who at Calvary is worn out, taking care of a relative who is terminally ill. Here is a widow living alone. Here is a single mother who is very anxious about her teenage daughter who is becoming a bit rebellious. Here is a student who is attending UNC who is discouraged, who is depressed. Here is a brother who has just lost his job. Here is a man who is deserted by his wife.

Here is a young man who is going through severe temptation. It is where there is love. What do we do? We get alongside that individual. We encourage. We help to bear the burden. What a joy it is to share a burden.

Many of you have experienced that, haven't you? You have gone through a difficult time. And here at Calvary, in the grace of God, someone has come to your side. Goody and I are so thankful for our brothers and sisters at Calvary right here who have helped us to bear the burden, who have encouraged us, who have supported us, who have prayed for us through our time of sorrow.

It is a great encouragement, isn't it? For the brother or sister who is struggling. Perhaps you could help them financially to be kind to them, to point them to Christ. Perhaps a note, perhaps a text, perhaps a handshake, perhaps a hug, perhaps a reminder that we are with you.

How can I help you? And encouraging and building up others results in the supernatural maturity of the body. As your pastor at Calvary, one of my prayers for Calvary is that we are mature. Listen to Paul in Ephesians 4, he's talked about the gifts. Notice what he says here, Ephesians 4, 13.

He talks about the gifts, he talks about the work of the Lord in the body, and then he says in verse 13, Ephesians 4, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Here's a church like Calvary Church, many gifts, many talents. My, we are blessed. Tremendous, gifted people. What a tremendous congregation this is that God has put together. Now brother, now sister, as you use your gift, as you encourage, as you build up that brother, that sister, as we do that collectively, what is happening, the body is maturing. Paul says to the very fullness, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

That's the body life, isn't that wonderful? See, a functioning and loving family helps one another. Who are you praying for? Who are you mentoring? Who are you teaching? Who are you encouraging? As I conclude, here are some ways you can encourage and build up others at Calvary.

I'm going to give you some practical ways in which you can do this. Now I thank God for so many of you who are doing this, who are encouraging, who are serving, who are on the front line, as it were. But others of you are not doing this. Some of you are not serving at all.

You can use the excuse of COVID, I understand, with illness and so on. I understand that, but there are some who are sitting back, perhaps even complaining, instead of encouraging and serving one another. Here are some specific needs. Right now, we need at Calvary Church, teachers in children's ministries. What a wonderful, wonderful ministry to be involved in children's ministries. We have hundreds of children coming. They need help. They need teachers. They need assistance. Volunteers in the nursery.

Wonder of God's grace in giving us many babies, or a joy to take care of them in the nursery. Why wouldn't you volunteer to help there? In our youth ministries, we need leaders for the small groups to pour your life, as we thought of last week, to invest in the next generation. There you are, getting to know that 13-year-old young man, getting to know that 17-year-old young woman, to encourage them in the Lord, what they need. We need women counselors at the Pregnancy Resource Center. This is Sanctity of Life Sunday. We are committed to helping women, that they will not get an abortion.

We need women to counsel at the Pregnancy Resource Center. Very shortly, we'll have our missions conference. We need people to host our missionaries for meals. To have a meal, take a missionary into your home for a meal. Or if you can't do that, to take them out somewhere, but much better in your own home, and to understand who they are, and to serve them. We've got missions projects during the missions conference, Samaritan's Feet, and Servants with a Heart.

Something you can do as a family. We need coaches and assistant coaches for CHAMP. We minister to hundreds and hundreds of young men and young women and boys and girls. We need coaches. We need camera operators.

We need help in our technical department. Thank you for those of you who do this, but we need more camera operators. We need ushers and greeters. We're very thankful for those of you who serve in that area.

It's very easy to criticize the usher. Why not serve? We need volunteers for good news clubs. We have a new club starting at South Pine Academy. We're building a relationship there.

We need volunteers for that. What I'm saying is there's wonderful opportunities. Don't sit back.

Ask yourself, where would God have you serve? How can you encourage and build up others? The Christian life is not a spectator sport. You may be criticizing some athlete today as you watch a game.

It's very easy to criticize, isn't it? No, all of us are to be on the field, as it were, vitally involved in ministry, giving as well as receiving, enjoying the privileges of being part of a local church, yes, but also joyfully accepting its responsibilities of encouraging and building up others. I finish with this well-known verse in Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

There is darkness around. Christ is coming. Let's focus on the eternal. Let's not live in isolation. Let's not be critics. Let's together use the grace gift that God has given us to serve, to glorify God. Here is our third theme then for 2022. Don't neglect it.

Don't forget it. Encourage and build up others. Our Father and our God, thank you for your grace, not only in saving us from our sins, but thank you for these grace gifts that you've given us. And you've poured out grace upon grace upon us here at Calvary. May each one of us respond humbly and say, Lord, what will you have me to do? Work in our hearts, we pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-22 16:02:53 / 2023-06-22 16:13:29 / 11

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