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By Mark N. Posey, TEXT: Hebrews 3:12-13

INTRODUCTION: The dictionary defines encouragement as, "The act of inspiring others with renewed courage, a renewed spirit, or renewed hope." Cf. 1 Thess. 5:11; Rom. 14:19; Heb. 10:24-25; 2 Tim. 4:2. How can we add value to others through encouragement and meet an important human need in their life?

1. Encourage one another daily-The writer of Hebrews admonishes us with these words, "But encourage one another daily" (Heb. 3:13). In other words, encourage others on a regular basis. Take advantage of every opportunity you have because the need is always great. You don't have to go very far into the day to find someone in your network of people who needs a word of encouragement.

2. Encourage others without delay - The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, "...while it is called Today" (Hebrews 3:13). Why are we to encourage one another without delay? Go back to Hebrews 3:12, for the answer-"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God". Delay can be deadly for the person who needs to be encouraged. Why? If Christians do not exhort one another daily they will be in danger of being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, therefore it should be the great concern of everyone to encourage himself and others to beware of sin. "Without delay" is to act upon encouraging someone immediately.

APPLICATION: Five ways we can encourage others.

1. Become aware of what encourages you and do the same things for others. Knowing what a big difference encouragement makes in your own life will help you help others when the going gets tough.

2. Encouragement goes straight to the heart. In fact, the word itself comes from a combination of the prefix "en" which means "to put into" and the Latin word "cor" which means heart. Cf. 2 Cor. 4:16.

3. Encourage other Christians with a reminder of Christ's coming. It redirects our thinking to an eternal perspective and ultimate deliverance from sin and death. Encourage other believers with a reminder of Christ's coming. "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess. 4:17b-18).

4. When you see someone making positive changes in their lives, affirm them. "You seem to have a really great attitude about..." "It may be that I'm just starting to take notice, but I see that you're..." "Do you think that you are becoming more...?"

5. Write someone a note to tell them that you're praying for them. Tell them what you're praying. You can pray specific Scriptures for individuals such as Rom. 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

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