Sticks & Stones Wk 3 // The Power of Encouragement
- What’s the most encouraging thing that happened to you this week?
- On the other hand, what is the most discouraging thing that happened to you this week?
- What do you consider to be the goal or purpose of encouragement?
The goal of encouragement is to inspire another person with courage, spirit, or confidence. While encouragement is considered a spiritual gift, it is also something that every believer should make a part of his or her relationships. As we will see from the following texts, encouragement is one of the primary ways we urge the people in our lives to pursue Christ and grow in their relationship with Him.
Spend a few minutes recapping Pastor Sean's sermon together. Click here to view the sermon notes.
- What was one takeaway from this week's sermon for you?
- Were there any stories, ideas, or points that stuck out?
- Was there anything that challenged you?
Have a volunteer read 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- What is one of the goals of encouragement, based on 1 Thessalonians 5:11?
- What does the opposite of that look like?
One of the privileges we have as Christ’s followers is to invest ourselves in the lives of others, adding to them, rather than tearing them down. Instead of engaging in criticism and fault-finding, we are to act toward others in a way that will encourage them to be more godly. Paul noted that the Thessalonians were already doing this; they simply were not to give it up.
- What does encouragement look like day in and day out in your close relationships?
- How do you generally prefer to receive encouragement—through words or through actions?
- How do you tend to give encouragement?
Encouragement doesn’t come naturally for us, although it does come easier for some than for others. Because we all have a tendency to be selfish people, consumed with our own needs and problems rather than the needs of others, we have to remind ourselves of the value of encouragement, and we have to work at it.
Have a volunteer read Hebrews 3:12-13.
- According to Hebrews 3:12-13, what additional benefit does encouragement have in a person’s spiritual life?
- What are some practical ways we can speak into other people’s lives in a way similar to what these verses describe?
The author of Hebrews urged believers to encourage one another. If the readers of Hebrews tried to live in isolation, subtle temptations would overwhelm them. Christians grow better as a part of a fellowship. If they live separately, they may retreat into halfheartedness and compromise, failing to realize their own lostness. Sin deceives by exaggerating the benefits of disobedience and hiding its consequences. Sin may have deceived the readers of Hebrews by blinding them to the follies of their past life and giving them a nostalgic wish for returning to their previous lifestyle. They needed the encouragement of other Christians to keep them diligent in their faith and to keep them from believing the lies Satan threw their way.
- Why is it important that we be sources of spiritual encouragement and guidance for one another?
- What can happen in our relationships when we aren’t committed to the spiritual well-being of others?
Have a final volunteer read Hebrews 10:24.
- What added benefits of encouragement do we read about in Hebrews 10:24?
- Why is encouragement something that God values in relationships?
As Christians, we have a corporate responsibility. We must help others who stumble and falter. We must concentrate on the needs of others and not on our individual salvation only. The goal of this is to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, as opposed to spurring one another on toward sin or complacency. Hebrews calls us to lead others to a practical expression of love and an attractive display of unselfish deeds.
- How does encouragement through genuine love affect a community of believers like our group?
- What example did Jesus provide and what did He teach about our encouragement for and support of one another?
- Based on the discussion today, what do you think are the main obstacles to a deeper level of encouragement in your relationships?
- What is the next step you need to take toward being a person who models godly encouragement?
As you close in prayer, spend some time praying for the obstacles and challenges to encouragement that came up in your discussion today. Pray that yours would be a group that encourages one another for the purpose of building up, keeping from sin, and motivating to pursue good.