Today we start a new sermon series called Body Language.

  • The word “body” in body language refers to the church body, those who are followers of Christ.
  • The word “language” in body language refers to what we say and do toward others, how we treat others, how we treat the body of Christ.

Throughout the Bible God gives us wisdom regarding our body language toward others through what are called the “one another” passages where we are told things like “love one another” (John 13:34), “honor one another” (Rom. 12:10), “accept one another” (Rom. 15:7), “serve one another” (Gal. 5:13), and “forgive one another” (Eph. 4:32).

Today we are going to take a look at the body language of encouraging one another. You need to be encouraged by others and others need you to encourage them. You have people in your life that you are perfectly designed to motivate them, inspire them, and build them up. There is something about you that they easily receive encouragement from. You are the key in them being inspired.

With that say take a look at 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (NLT). From that I want us to consider some Biblical principles of encouragement.

Encouragement is motivating others to obey God

Number one, encouragement is motivating others to obey God. We are told to “encourage each other” (v.11, NLT). Circle that word “encourage.” Let’s try to understand this at a deeper level today.

The word “encourage” means to come alongside to help, strengthen, or support. When do you need someone to come alongside you to help you, to build you up, and to support you? The answer is when things are not going well. When you are discouraged.  When you feel like giving up or when you have heard some bad news. When you are losing hope in your marriage, in your job, and in your future.

There are people in your life who need you to encourage them. They need your support and help. When it comes to encouraging others there are three aspects of encouragement you need to consider.

  • First, you will need to encourage others to think right. This has to do with the mind and their understanding. One of the reasons why people get discouraged about something is because they have the wrong information. They are believing something that is not true about themselves or their situation. Here is where you encourage them to get the truth about the situation and you share the truth of God’s Word about the situation. Once they receive the truth and believe the truth their thinking changes and so will their attitude and perspective.
  • Second, you will need to encourage others to feel right. Sometimes our emotions can get in the way. For example, a person can get so angry sometimes that they don’t care about the facts or what God’s Word has to say. A person can become so worried about something that it’s hard for them to hear the truth about the matter. Emotions are not bad, they are not sinful. But we do need to be encouraged to control our emotions. Listen to these words of encouragement about some of our emotions from the Bible.

Anger: Proverbs 29:11, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back” (NLT). Ephesians 4:26, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you” (NLT).

Worry: Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” (NLT).

Fear: Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul” (NLT). Joshua 1:9 says, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (NLT).

There are going to be times you need to encourage people emotionally. You need to encourage them with hope, joy, and courage.

  • Third, you will need to encourage others to do right. The Bible says in James, “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says” (James 1:22, NLT). We are to encourage each other in obeying what God says to do. We see an example of this when Paul encourages the Corinthian believers in the act of giving. Paul told them 2 Corinthians 8:6, “So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving” (NLT). Whether we are encouraging each other in the act of giving, the act of forgiving, the act of kindness, the act of mercy, the act of praying, or some other action we all need encouragement to do what we know we need to do from time to time.

Three Aspects of Encouragement













Everyone needs encouragement

Number two, everyone needs encouragement. Notice carefully what God’s Word says, “Encourage each other.” I need to encourage you and you need to encourage me. You need to encourage them and they need to encourage you. When it comes to encouragement there are no boundaries on who you should encourage. That sweet old lady that you work with, she needs encouragement. That old grumpy and mean boss of yours, he needs encouragement.

But there is this one person in particular that needs encouragement. We find this person near the end of 1 Thessalonians where Paul is giving some last minute thoughts and instructions, almost in a quick bulletin point fashion. He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “We urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (NLT). A timid person is someone who is easily frightened or discouraged. When a person is timid or afraid of doing what is right and what God wants them to do they don’t need to be rebuked, they need to be encouraged and inspired. To encourage someone is to give them courage to do what they need to do.

As spinach was to Popeye, so encouragement is to the timid.

Encouraging others is to be habitual

Number three, encouraging others is to be habitual. God’s word says, “Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (v.11, NLT). Keep encouraging, keep motivating, and keep inspiring others to obey God. If you are encouraging others, keep doing it. If you are not encouraging others, start doing it.

But why is encouraging others so important? What is the significance of encouraging people to do what God has called them to do? Listen carefully to Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception” (HCSB). Sin is deceitful. It is tricky. It is dishonest. Sin rarely appears as it really is. It always masks itself. And sin has a tricky way of making people hardened or stubborn against the ways of God, even without them knowing it. Spiritual encouragement can soften the heart of someone who is resisting God in some way. When a person is afraid of obeying God’s Word, then the encourager comes along and motivates them to do what they need to do.

For example, let’s say you have sinned against someone and you need to ask for their forgiveness, but you don’t ask for their forgiveness because of pride or embarrassment. At this point the sin of pride is beginning to harden your heart toward doing what is right. You are becoming spiritually stubborn. The encourager comes along and urges you to ask for forgiveness. You hear their godly advice, you think about it and the word of encouragement softens your heart and you obey by asking them to forgive you.

Spiritual encouragers keep us from becoming hard toward God and His ways.

Encouraging others is important to God

Number four encouraging others is important to God. It’s so important to Him that He provided some believers with the spiritual gift of encouragement. Romans 12:6 gives us a list of some of the spiritual gifts. Let’s read it and then think about it. Romans 12:6 says, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (7) If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. (8) If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (NLT). Let’s define some terms.

  • A spiritual gift is a spiritual ability given by the Holy Spirit to every believer in order to serve others. Every believer has a spiritual gift. This means there is something that you do really well that benefits others and helps them in their walk with God. When you are gifted at something you don’t have to try to do it, it feels natural and comfortable to you.

Some of you are gifted when it comes to serving others. You are a helper. You see a need and you take care of it. We are all suppose to serve one another, but some of you are gifted at it. Some of you are really good at teaching Biblical truth, it’s the way you explain it, illustrate it, and unfold God’s truth. Some of you are gifted in kindness. Everyone of us is to be kind, but you are really good at it. You are kind, sweet, and gentle. Thoughtful. Kindness flows from you.

But today we are talking encouragement. The Bible refers to the gift of encouragement. Even though we all are to be encouraging, there are some people God has gifted with the ability to be really encouraging. The gift of encouragement is the God-given spiritual ability to motivate others to obey God.


As we wrap this up I want you to think about two things:

  • Who encourages you to obey God? They are challenging you, inspiring you, and motivating you to do what is right. They may not say or do what you want them to say or do, but they are the ones challenging you to grow and mature and go to the next level. Whoever they are and whoever they have been take some time this week and contact them (call them, Facebook them, text them, write them) and thank them for how they have inspired you to follow God in some way.
  • The second thing I want you to think about before you leave is who needs you to encourage them this week? How can you be more inspiring, more motivational, and more encouraging to those in your life when it comes to encouraging them to follow God?

Let’s pray.