Guidelines For Maturing Believers – The Power of Encouragement
It is important that every believer actively participates in church gatherings by giving Biblical testimonies, making public confessions or sharing public exhortations reinforcing truth as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:24,25. Also to “…exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” Hebrews 3:13.
[fac_icon icon=”chevron-circle-right” color=”#000000″ color_hover=”#dd2525″ font_size=”12″]Remember, exhortation is “encouragement, entreaty to serve and please God” [Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary].
Joining together only for worship is a mistake, the scripture says we need to desperately and passionately plead with each other to stay on course and not give up in our obedience to Christ.
You can be deceived and tricked by the enemy like Adam and Eve, so listen to each others’ warnings. Football coaches take their jobs seriously and push their players to excel and stay focused on the game. Players that are leaders sound a lot like the coach. So, for the sake of eternity, we need to be even more motivated to focus and stay on the narrow road for the name of Jesus.
Here are seven principles to guide your ministry toward your fellow Christian.
1. An Exhortation Must be Based in Scripture by Giving Clear and Precise Steps of Action
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification:” [1 Thessalonians 4:1-3].
- Clearly explain the truth of Christ’s teachings, then the steps [commandments] of how to “walk and please God.” Do not just share the emotions of an experience, specify scriptural principles instead.
- Describe how all things, yes even what seems negative or hard, work together for good to conform us to Christ’s character.
- Urge and encourage everyone to keep on taking the steps until full maturity is achieved
2. An Exhortation Must Assist Christians in Applying Scripture to Their Daily Lives
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit” 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8.
- This means you must base your exhortation on clearly understood interpretation of scripture. Do not stretch a scripture passages to fit your story.
- Explain how to apply biblical principles to practical daily experiences.
- Describe situations that allow them to learn specific character qualities.
- Be careful, do not describe experiences or use examples that other believers would question, react to or be offended.
3. An Exhortation Must Encourage Other Believers to Full Spiritual Maturity
“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” [1 Thessalonians 4:9-12].
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24- 25)
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:3, 12-13).
- Remember full maturity is when a person’s focus has turned from selfishness to agape [genuine] love [See STEP 7 in the Spiritual Growth Website].
- Explain that maturity takes time and persistence, encourage them to not allow failure to define them.
- Describe how to follow God’s wisdom and ways by using stories from people in the Bible.
- Do not allow yourself to be discouraged if your exhortations do not seem to be helping people, they are!
- Like a child growing up, a Christian’s spiritual growth takes a lot of time and encouragement.
4. An Exhortation Must Explain Truth With Clear Logical Reasoning
“…holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain” Titus 1:9-11.
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer everyman” (Colossians 4:6).
- Explain God’s purposes clearly, soundly, and precisely.
- Clarify the truth until it becomes reasonable to them.
- Do not discuss unsettled matters.
- Talking negatively about people or groups is wrong.
5. An Exhortation Must Bring Harmony Not Discord So That Spiritual Maturity Can Develop
“Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, (being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:2).
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4: 12-13).
- Avoid words and expressions that are offensive or inappropriate.
- Word your exhortation to avoid putting others in a bad light.
- Do not use names without permission.
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12).
- Your audience needs to feel encouraged, not crushed, when you exhort them in a manner
- Make sure you are not pointing fingers at anyone, use some of your own life only to explain past failure and Biblical steps to victory.
- Do not make excuses for past failures.
7. An Exhortation must be Specific and to the Point – Not Rambling
“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter (any) thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let they words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16). “Make known his deeds among the people…Talk ye of all his wondrous works.” (Psalm 105:1-2)
- Be sure the Holy Spirit, not your human will or selfish desires, prompts your sharing.
- Spend enough time choosing words that communicate the clearest message.
- Determine who present will actually benefit from what you want to say.
- If you use personal stories, give the short version, and emphasize what the Lord taught you.
Remember my friend…
Always speak loud enough so that all can plainly hear
Your message has influence on the lives of others so choose your words wisely
Your goal is to confirm the truth of God’s Word and encourage others
Be concise and as brief as possible out of deference for others