November 19, 2021
Romans 15:4-6 (NIV)
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one purpose and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Don’t you love it when the Bible brings two of our favorite words together twice in two verses! What a sight to behold! And there they are! Perseverance and encouragement.
They aren’t like brothers or sisters or even cousins. They are the same person. The name is Jesus, and your name too. This whole series has been about encouragement—and not the thin humanistic notion of giving someone a positive word or a pat on the back. When the Bible says “encouragement” the meaning is thick. This is why the original languages matter so much. (And no, you don’t have to take seminary level Greek and Hebrew to benefit from all the scholarship that has been done over the centuries. And no, consulting biblehub.com is not cheating. It’s standing on the shoulders of giants.)
The Bible word for encouragement is pronounced par-ak’-lay-sis. It means, “an intimate call or urging personally given by someone close beside delivering God’s verdict.” I love that—delivering God’s verdict.
Now, if you will humor me, let’s remember my (some say) very wordy definition of biblical encouragement.
To “encourage” in the biblical sense of the term, is to stand in the stead and agency of Jesus, participating in the work of the Holy Spirit, to minister grace to human beings at the level of their inner person, communicating, conveying, and imparting life, love, courage, comfort, consolation, joy, peace, hope, faith, and other dispensations and manifestations of the Kingdom of Heaven as the moment invites or requires.
When we encourage each other in this sense, we—in the most real and tangible way— become the bearers or agents of God to one another. The agency of God, as revealed in Scripture, is Jesus abiding in us and working by his Spirit through us. In other words, when we do this in Jesus name, he is the one in fact doing it, under the auspices of our name.
When we encourage one another in this fashion it contributes to the catalyzing of perseverance as we have studied it the past few days—i.e. because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Now, the Bible word for perseverance is pronounced hoop-om-on-ay’. It means the presence of God abiding with and transfusing the deep disposition of patient waiting, steadfastness, endurance, and even joy.
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement . . .
Our special guest tomorrow will be Habakkuk. You don’t want to miss it. You will be encouraged.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Father, thank you for these words from your Word: encouragement and perseverance. Reveal the mysteries of their inner workings to us that we might more fully participate with you in this ministry to others. Lord Jesus, would you lead us in a step by step way in how we can encourage others. Would you give us your heart and mind for those around us and the boldness to take risks in reaching out to them. Come Holy Spirit, and bring us the encouragement we need right now and the perseverance of your presence in us. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Tell a story of how Jesus through his Spirit has encouraged someone through you in recent days?
P.S. AS GOES THE PASTOR SO GOES THE CHURCH. AS GOES THE CHURCH SO GOES THE WORLD.
Friends, this is a Macedonian call. We are saying yes. And I want you to be part of the We. Seedbed is a lay movement. After all, the Church doesn’t have lay people. The Church IS lay people. Our pastors and leaders play a crucial role. This is a moment to invest big love into them. Let’s do this.*
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*We are hearing from Jesus a long game calling to encourage, build-up, and deeply invest in the Shepherds of the Kingdom—our local church pastors. The global pandemic has challenged us all, but it has uniquely challenged our shepherds. In 2022 we will begin a multi-year campaign to renew the heart and restore the awakening calling of these leaders.
For the Awakening,