Eph. 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. NKJV
One of the mysteries hidden to Old Testament saints was the church.
Talking about Christ and His Church, Apostle Paul said:
Eph. 5:26-27 …that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. NKJV
- God today is working through the church; preparing to present her to Himself a glorious church, not a weak sickly one but a strong, beautiful community of people; a holy church.
He’s building strong local churches that put the Word of God first place and flow in the Holy Ghost.
YOU HAVE A PART
You have a part in this, not only because you are part of the body but also because you have a function to fulfill: Without you the body would not do as well.
It is important to be in community with one another in the body of Christ.
I can look back in my life and see how God put me in an amazing family of faith that enabled me to grow up spiritually by teaching me the Word, sharpening me, and holding me accountable, who challenged me even when I didn’t want to hear it.
- This is what God has intended for all of us to live a life that is TOGETHER.
- God intended us to have church families and make community.
BOOK OF BEGINNINGS
Way back in the book of Beginnings, when He created Adam, He said it was NOT good for Adam to be alone and so He created Eve. He directed them to multiply.
He was saying I want you to build your family strong and form a community of people; my people.
- He put in the heart of every one of us the need for community.
- You are what you are because of good people that God has put in your life.
- Now you need to be that good person in the life of other believers.
God never intended for us to live isolated…to be an island unto ourselves:
- We’ve often told our kids that wherever they go in life, they should belong to, get planted in and get involved in a local church.
- We’ve told them, you can’t go hungry when you belong to a local church.
- In the last 5 months, those who belong to this local church did not go hungry. God provided food for all of us.
- God intended us to be in community with one another to motivate, to strengthen, and support one another.
Eccl 4:9-12 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. NKJV
You see we need each other. If one falls, the other can reach out and bring them up.
You need to understand that people in your life that are likeminded are important.
And they’re worth developing a strong relationship with.
TWO WAY STREET
Good relationships are a two way street, its as much about what you give as it is what you receive.
The Bible says to encourage one another daily.
Heb. 10:24-25 NLT
Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.
We are to have an exchange of encouragement often.
Do you know when you need encouragement, the best thing you can do is to speak encouragement to another person?
When you speak encouragement to another person, you literally breath God’s life into them and it comes back to you as joy and strength in your soul. It should be an exchange of encouragement.
Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to be an island to ourselves because sometimes, people in our lives are annoying, they’re aggravating and troublesome.
It’s okay to have such around you because you’re there for them and I’m sure someone else is there for you.
We’re happiest and healthiest when we’re helpful to other people.
STUDY ON HAPPINESS
Someone did a study on happiness. What actions we can do so we’re our happiest. It wasn’t about going on a holiday or when we get a present.
It said the emotion of happiness is at its highest when you’re helpful.
Your purpose is tied to helping someone else. Helping others gives you the greatest and heightened sense of happiness.
So they labeled this heightened emotion of happiness “the happy HIGH.” It’s a euphoric feeling that doesn’t have a hangover. That’s the best way to be high.
1 Cor. 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.) KJV
1 Cor. 16:17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men. NKJV
This household addicted themselves to ministering to the saints.
That’s how they got their high, by serving and encouraging others.
Paul was excited that Stephanas was coming. He said they kept refreshing his spirit.
Paul was in prison a lot. Yet as he wrote these letters that build us up today, some people kept encouraging him and giving towards his needs.
Those people will be rewarded for the great ministry of the apostle Paul.
Even ministers need encouragement.
People encouraged us during the church closures.
I believe when we choose to be an encourager, this is part of the makings of a glorious church and what makes this church what it is. A place where:
- You can come and be encouraged and loved.
- Most importantly, you can come and love and encourage someone.
- God has many people around you that you can invest in.
Prov. 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. NKJV
God is saying, I want the people in your life to sharpen you as you sharpen them. Sharpening can be painful but it yields good results.
- This only comes from a trusted community; a place you know there is sincere love.
- Your greatest growth comes when you’re challenged by the people who love you the most.
The Redwood trees in California grow up to 350 feet high. They grow very close together. BUT their roots are only about 5 1/2 feet deep…shallow. You would think something that tall would grow very deep to hold it up. Not these trees. The extraordinary thing with these trees is that their roots don’t grow deep but they spread far and wide. Their roots intermingle with the roots of the other trees. They say they find nutrition from one another. They hold each other up. They find their strength from being woven together with other trees. Whether the wind blows, whether the rain comes down or whether there’s drought, there’s always strength and stability in the force of the Redwood trees.
If we could be as united together as those Redwoods are, I believe we could withstand any storm. We could come through the covid19 season stronger.
GIVE YOUR LIFE AWAY:
The Bible talks about laying down your life or giving your life away.
1 John 3:16-18 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth NKJV
Who are you encouraging today? Who are you praying for in this congregation?
If I asked who are you gossiping about and making fun of maybe I probably could have some numbers. But who are you encouraging?
Acts 4:36-37 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement ), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. NKJV
Barnabas was in the early church. He lived out his name. The apostles nicknamed him a “son of encouragement.”
One of the best way you can turn your life around is to be an extravagant giver; particularly of yourself. IT’S THE GREATEST CURE FOR DEPRESSION.
Everyone has something to give. Even when you don’t have cash on you, you have something to give.
In Acts 3, people would carry the lame man at the Gate Beautiful. He probably begged for himself and for those who carried him.
When he begged from Peter and John, Peter could have said, sorry: it’s not your lucky day sir. I didn’t bring any money with me. Bye.
No he said, SUCH AS I HAVE, I give you.
Peter realized: I always have something to give as long as I have Christ in me.
It changed this man’s life forever.
You may not have what someone is asking you for. But you can have an encouraging word, healing hands, a prayer for them.
Brethren, these are the days to live differently not indifferently especially outside the four walls of the church.
Most times, your strongest witness is the kind act you do to someone else more than the gospel you try to push down their throat.
The church of Jesus Christ gives you the opportunity to addict yourself to the service of the saints.
In the Bible you know about the boy who packed his lunch and left home to go see Jesus. (Matt. 14, Mark 6, Luke 9)
He probably thought:
- This meeting might be long and I don’t want to miss anything. I will see miracles today. When I get hungry at least I’ll have something to eat.
- So he’s in the crowd watching Jesus. And a disciple of Jesus comes and asks if he could take his lunch to Jesus. This was not his original plan. And you know, little boys can run.
- But he didn’t run, he decided to give it out and see what Jesus would do with it.
That little lunch in the hands of Jesus fed 5K people that day. Don’t tell me you have nothing to give.
You may say: I don’t have money left, I brought God’s tithe last week, I gave an offering the previous week. But today, all I have is my transport to church. But I will go help sanitize the church today. I will go early and pray for others before they come so they come in unhindered and ready to hear the Word. That’s my offering.
Jesus receives your offering whether it shows up on an offering envelope or not.
- Brethren, Do you want to live a happy life, determine in your mind to be an encourager in the body of Christ, a giver.
- God will make sure you have lunch you can share with someone; just because you decided to be an extravagant giver.
When you give your offering, it serves others and it transforms you.
You may not have enough to meet the need by yourself.
But together as a church community, we can do more.
- As you share what you have, when you’re prayed up and you come ready to just let your light shine, it’s just like that little boy who put his lunch in the hands of Jesus that we’re going to see miracles, signs and wonders.
- Simple acts of giving can cause the blind to see and the lame to walk.
- It can cause relationships to be mended and families to be restored.
Then the church Jesus is building is fed and nourished and it becomes glorious, without spot or wrinkle.
- Father, in Jesus name, thank You for the grace you have given me to be a blessing, an encourager to my brothers and sisters through my giving.
- Thank You for connecting me with the family of this local church.
- Together, we have stability and strength to stand strong even in challenging times.
- As I encourage others, I am encouraged and strengthened with Your mighty working ability.
- As I give today, I place my tithe and offering into Your hands Jesus, use it to be a blessing to many.
- I receive the Blessing of increase and multiplication so I can continue to give.
- I receive every one of my needs fully met according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus.