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Beyond Niceties
Theme of the Week: Freely Give Encouragement
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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Key Bible Verse: For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. (Romans 1:11-12)

Dig Deeper: Romans 1:8-12

As you spur on a fellow believer, you strengthen the church.

Paul's ministry was one of consistent encouragement. Paul commended the believers for what they were doing well. He exhorted them to press on in faithfulness to Christ. And he offered counsel amid the challenges they were facing and those that he knew would come.

Encouragement is not simply a kind word. It's not just a verbal nicety. It's not pride-building flattery. Encouragement is God-honoring, believ-er-strengthening, church-building communication. It is biblically based truth spoken into the life of another.

There is no better example in Scripture of this multilayered benefit of encouragement than in the Book of Hebrews: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anoth-er—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24-25, NIV).

The writer is communicating the significance of encouragement for the edification of the individual Christ follower and the empowering of others. As you spur on a fellow believer, you strengthen the church. As you strengthen the church, God's people are better equipped to serve others (inside and outside the church) through greater displays of love and practical works of service. Encouragement has impact beyond the life of the individual Christian. It's an impact that brings the focus upon the ultimate and rightful recipient—God himself.

—Rob Bentz in The Unfinished Church

Adapted from The Unfinished Church ©2014 by Rob Bentz. Used by permission of Crossway. All rights reserved.

Prayer for the Week
Heavenly Father, thank you for caring Christian friends who've been there to encourage my walk of faith; help me to do the same for others.

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ANTHONY Swaggerty

December 16, 2014  7:20am


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