Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
The verse before us today is a powerful word from God about the importance of being a builder. As you can see, being a builder is another word for being an encourager. There are only two things we can do in the lives of others: we can either build them up or break them down. Which of these actions best describes you?
Let’s first be clear on what biblical encouragement is not. Biblical encouragement is not some cheery, emotional pick-me-up, delivered with timeworn statements like, “Things could be worse!” or “Hang in there!” or “This too shall pass!” There is a long list of such empty phrases, and they bring little or no measure of encouragement to the listener. What true, biblical encouragement is has been clearly defined on the pages of Scripture. Here is perhaps the most encouraging statement uttered by our Savior, words that have been a powerful source of eternal encouragement to all those I have shared them with during my years as a pastor:
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus was preparing to go back to His Father in heaven when He uttered this empowering, comforting statement. “I am with you always!” Pause for just a moment and let that truth sink in. Jesus is with you when things are going well and also when things are going wrong. Jesus is with you when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy and also when the sky is gray and storms winds are blowing.
Christian, no matter what you are going through, you are not going through it alone. Jesus has promised to be with you every step of the way. If you remember the poem “Footprints,” whenever you see only one set of footprints on the path you have been traveling, you can be sure that that was the time when Jesus was carrying you. No matter where this message finds you, it finds you with Jesus by your side. There is no place you can go and there is nothing you can do to cause Jesus to walk away from you.
So . . . how encouraged are you to know that you are always in the presence of your Savior? Think about it this way: When you love someone, you want to be in their presence, and you will do whatever it takes to be with them. Well, the same is true of Jesus. He loves you so much that He did whatever it took to be with you forever – He died on a cross so that you could be with Him for all eternity, simply by trusting in Him alone for salvation.
As we close out our time together today, may these words from Jesus remind you that to be a builder in the lives of others, you need only bring them into the presence of Jesus:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!