Wednesday, October 17, 2012

“Encourage One Another” (Hebrews 3:13)

S-1340 20SAP/3B 10/14/12 Hymns: (O) #827; (S) #850; (C) #832 LSB

Text: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19; Mark 10:17-22

Theme: “Encourage One Another” (Hebrews 3:13)

Question: “Have you encouraged anyone this week?” Mission Sunday for Mt. Calvary Huron

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Mission Fest is from the Epistle lesson: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).

My beloved and His beloved, I remember the day vividly as it if t was yesterday. The year was 1997 and I was attempting my first Bike For Life (BFL) ride—a ride that is over 100 miles long from Armour to Sioux Falls, to save babies.

Before the BFL event, I sent out a message to all of the congregations of our Beloved District asking for people to pray, give financially and riders to join me. That year only one rider answered the call (David Olsen) from Our Redeemer, SF. David drove out the morning of the ride. Please remember I had never attempted anything like this before. We started out and he began to tell me what I needed to do, how to pace myself, what to eat on the road and encouraged me all along. When we got to the 70s miles, I was hurting; pain was taking its toll I wanted to quit. But David wouldn’t let me. He kept encouraging me. The pain got more intense and my bottom began to hurt even more. With each crack in the road, I would get off my seat. By the time we got to the 90s miles, tears began to roll down my cheeks and I said to David, “I just can’t go on. I am hurting; my bottom can’t take it anymore.” David was my Barnabas that day. He said, “Pastor, let’s just rest for sometimes and see what happens.” I laid flat on my back, ate two more bananas and after 45 minutes, I was ready to go. I rode the final 16 miles refreshed and rejuvenated. Completed the task and was elated! 15 years later, we are still riding with more than 40 riders to save babies and by the grace of God raised over $18.000 dollars last year and this year we are approaching $10.000. SDG.

In today’s text the author to the Hebrews writes: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today.” Another word, encourage one another today and not tomorrow. Use the time to change someone’s life for the better and introduce them to Jesus the Savior of the world. We need more people like David to be encouragers on the journey of life. God has put us on this earth for a reason—to make His name known to the world. To give hope to the hopeless, light to those in darkness, and life to those dead in sin and trespasses!

On this Mission Sunday I challenge each and every one of you to look at the opportunities the Savior has given you to share with others. I exhort you in the name of Christ to look for ways to be part of expanding His kingdom, edifying your family of faith and exalting Him. I implore you to be the man, woman, boy and girl for God desires for you.

You who are blood-bought and heaven-bound, I want you to join me to be an encourager for Christ. When a person is working for God we should encourage them to continue on. As the Baptized children of the heavenly Father, we want to help Christians keep going – keep on – and do their best to be a light and salt to those around them. We want Christians to become bolder and braver disciples. We want Christians to stand taller. We want Christians in Humility and by the power of the Holy Spirit to give their best effort. We want them to be the voice of Jesus in this dark world—to be an encourager. PAUSE.

Please remember, we can’t do it alone, but we have someone who will walk with us along the way—an encourager.

The word for “exhortation” in the Greek is Parakaleite that is to say someone who walks right along the road with you. It is the same root word for the Holy Spirit promised to walk with us (John 15:26). paráklētos, that can signify “one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts; hence refreshes, and/or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court”. Although we won’t know the human writer to the Hebrews until all is revealed, yet by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit He has encouraged us to be faithful to Him in teaching others the truth of the salvation that our Savior has earned for us on Calvary’s cross.

Encouragement includes the giving of courage, hope, confidence, support and help. The apostle Paul ties the act of encouragement to the process of building up one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).

This is what the Savior of the world wants of us—to be an encourager, an exhorter for His cause and ministry. Because life with Christ matters, it brings hope and help, it brings life and love, and it brings joy and happiness.

Once again in the name of Christ Your Savior and Lord I challenge you to be an encourager to someone else. Everybody can be a servant of the Most High God. You don't have to have a college degree to be an encourager. What you need is have the vision of Christ to expand His kingdom, a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love and a hand stretched out in mercy. I encourage you to be an encourager with this story:

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball hat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, he loved video games, baseball and history that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.

They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came, and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Do you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother’s sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up my books that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life.”

You, who are precious in His sight, we have an Encourager now and every day. He walks with us and talks with us along life’s narrow way. He is the One who guides and guards our hearts and minds to know Him as our Lord and God. He is the One who gives us His Word, assures us of our future with Him and helps us to see that there is more to life than just living on this earth—but that He prepared for us a home in heaven. For this reason, we want to be “The Barnabas” to the world” Barnabas is the Son of an encourager. In the book of proverbs we read: “As iron sharpens iron so does a man sharpen the countenance of his friend” (Pro. 27:17). Sharpen your friends to know Jesus as Lord and God.

Saints in Christ remember what President Ronald Reagan said: “No matter where we live, we have a promise that can make all the difference. A promise for Jesus to sooth our sorrows heal our hearts and drive away our fears. He promised there will never be a dark night that doesn’t end. Our weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He promised to love us always without exceptions. And by dying for us Jesus shows how much our love should be ready to go—all the way to help others who do not know the One who was sent by God. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

I pray that the Holy Spirit the One promised to walk with us would use us to be an instrument to encourage others. What a great blessing as we are able to encourage and exhort one another daily, because the time is at hand as we share the Gospel in/with the Body of Christ!

Today, I give thanks for David who encouraged me to finish my ride, and I pray that you will be encouraged to live and share the love of Jesus, the One who loved you and still does even now and exhorts you to walk with Him hand in hand as you share His love with others. Amen.

Now the peace…


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