Encouragement the Church Needs
When you read through the New Testament letters, you find a lot of issues Paul deals with whether sexual immorality, terrible greed, discrimination, and so much more. More often than not, it seems like Paul is always writing a letter to put a stop to some serious spiritual issue going on. Yes, Paul took rebuke and admonishment very seriously, but he also took encouragement very seriously.
When we turn to the letter of Philippians we actually find a church standing pretty strong despite a few tense relational issues. It opens with an ecstatic Paul who is highly encouraged by the church’s partnership with him and their love for Christ. They are enduring in the faith, growing in love, and supporting Paul in his ministry. But Paul not only takes the time to praise these fruits but also to encourage them with strong words of exhortation.
There’s this cultural tendency to speak up when things go wrong but stay silent when things go well. We complain more than we praise. We wait until things get bad before we start to speak up. Paul doesn’t wait for issues to arise. He knows encouragement is just as important as a rebuke. You see Paul’s encouragement isn’t just a trite pat on the back for a job well done; it’s a hope-filled expectation that the job will be done through Christ Jesus. In other words, encouragement isn’t just about looking at past accomplishments the church makes; it’s about the forward, straining goal of becoming more and more like Christ.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
So, what type of encouragement does a church need to keep straining towards that heavenly goal of becoming more like our savior? What words of encouragement should we heed if we are going to become a more unified, more loving church? Let’s find out together.
Sermon Series Schedule:
Encouraged to Be Humble (Philippians 2:1-18) on July 9th
Encouraged to Be Led (Philippians 2:19-30) on July 16th
Encouraged to Abandon (Philippians 3:1-4:1) on July 23rd
Encouraged to Reconcile (Philippians 4:2-9) on July 30th
Encouraged to Give (Philippians 4:10-23) on August 6th